Sending Money Home


There are several ways of sending money back to your home country, each with their own positive and negative aspects.  Exchange rates differ by bank and by day, and a charge for exchanging money is usually included in that rate.  Be sure to ask about all charges involved in sending money from Japan, and be aware that if you send money to an account overseas, there may be additional charges on that end too.

For all services rendered at a bank or post office, you MUST show your Residency Card (Zairyū Card, 在留カード) as well as your I.D. (e.g., passport or Japanese driver’s license, not an International Driver’s Permit).  You may be asked for permission to have your I.D. photocopied.

The information here is by no means all-inclusive, and since publication, fees, rates, etc., have been known to change, it’s best to do a little independent research first.

Here are the most common ways that JETs send home their money:

1.   Mail Transfer (futsu sokin)

2.   Postal Money Transfer (kokusai yubin kawase)

3.   Remittance Cheque (sokin kogitte)

4.   Telegraphic Transfer (denshin sokin)

5.   GoLloyds Overseas Remittance Service


Mail Transfer (futsu sokin, 普通送金)

This is a relatively fast method available at banks, but a little on the expensive side.  Funds are changed to foreign currency in Japan and the amount is written on a transfer statement which is mailed overseas for deposit into a specified bank account.  Upon arrival at the bank (it can take from 10 days to 6 weeks, depending on the country), the funds are immediately deposited.  This service about ¥4,000 per transfer.  Your bank here in Japan may charge additional transaction fees.


Postal Money Transfer (kokusai yubin kawase, 国際郵便為替)

This is a fast and cheap method available at the post office.  This can be the cheapest way to go if you have time.  If you are sending money to Ireland or New Zealand, double check that you are allowed to use this method.


Yen is exchanged for foreign currency in the form of a cashier’s cheque at the post office.  The cheque can be made out to anyone but yourself (e.g., a relative or friend).  If you would like to transfer between postal accounts (yubinkyoku no koza, 郵便局の口座), i.e., from post office to post office, you must have a postal account back home.


Postal Money Transfer (kokusai yubin kawase, 国際郵便為替)

The standard service charges start at ¥1000 and go up in ¥500 increments depending on the amount of yen equivalent you are sending.  When you are sending money to the United States, these service charges are ¥500 less than the standard and you can mail the cheque yourself if you want.  Otherwise, the post office will send the cheque to the destination country by airmail for you (it will generally take 10-14 days, but can take up to six weeks or more to reach some countries).  For Australia, be aware that a ¥2,000 tax will be subtracted at the Australian end from the amount that you send.


You will need to complete an “International Remittance Application and Declaration Form” (kokusai yubin kawase, 国際郵便為替) using block letters.  Be sure to write carefully and only within the heavy-outlined portion of the form because any mistake will mean having to restart with a new form.


Remittance Cheque (sokin koitte)

This is a slow method available at banks.  Yen may be used or changed into foreign currency, written up as a cheque, and mailed to whomever you like.  The recipient must cash your cheque at the bank specified on the cheque (normally a bank having special connections with the Japanese bank).  Once cashed, the money can be deposited into your or the recipient’s home account.  You may also deposit the cheque directly into your own account but clearance may take weeks.  This service costs approximately ¥2,500 for foreign currencies and ¥4,000 for yen cheques.


 Telegraphic Transfer (denshin sokin)

This is the fastest and most expensive method available at banks and post offices.  The commission at banks (generally ¥5,000-7,500, sometimes over ¥10,000) depends on the connections between the Japanese bank and your home bank.  Usually there is no limit to the amount you can send at once, but you may be asked to provide an explanation for amounts of ¥1,000,000 or more.  Funds are deposited directly into the account you specify.  This usually takes about 2 to 6 days.


The handling charge at post offices depends on the way you use the service.  If you send to the payee’s address and you in-payment to the payee’s postal account by telegraphic transfer, ¥4,400 is added to the remittance amount of each postal money transfer.


GoLloyds Overseas Remittance Service

A fast and convenient way to send money overseas, GoLloyds can be used to electronically remit funds to pre-registered beneficiaries.  Funds received by 3:00pm are remitted abroad the same day by telegraphic transfer for a service fee of ¥2000.  Please visit for more information and an application form.


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