Public Services and Facilities


Outside the walls of your own home, there will be a number of things which are done differently in Japan than in your home country and might be confusing.


How to open a bank account

  • Domestic Banks

    As for documents, you will need to present your Alien Registration Card and possibly a seal certificate (inkan-shomeisho). Different banks have different regulations on required documentation and there may be cases in which you cannot immediately open a bank account. Please make sure to check with your bank beforehand.

  • Foreign Banks

    Your Alien Registration Card or a Certificate on Registered Matters is also required.
    For details, please consult your bank.

Cash and Credit Cards

In Japan you are able to use your credit card at department stores and large supermarkets. However, convenience stores, smaller supermarkets, pharmacies and restaurants may only accept cash, so it is advisable to always carry a sufficient amount with you.


These can be found at banks, convenience stores and train stations. At New Years or long public holidays there is a chance that ATMs cannot be used, so please be aware of this possibility.

Paying utility bills

Utility bills can be paid conveniently by automatic withdrawal from your bank account or at convenience stores. Some bills can be paid by credit card as well.

Consumption Tax

There is a standard 5% consumption tax on all products (incl. foods) in Japan.


Paying tips is not customary in Japan, although some restaurants ask for a service charge.

Public Transport
  • How to use Tokyo's public transport system.

    PASMO and Suica are names of prepaid fare IC cards. You can use them to pay for train fares or at stations as well as at one of the increasing number of shops accepting IC cards as a form of payment. They can be purchased at a ticket counter located inside the station and require a refundable 500 Yen deposit.

  • Buses

    Most buses inside Tokyo require you to pay before getting on. However, once you leave the Tokyo metropolitan area, fares will depend on the distance travelled.
  • Trains

    Tokyo has a highly developed train network and most lines accept payment by PASMO or Suica cards.
  • Taxis

    All taxis operate on a meter system, with the basic initial fare inside Tokyo being 710 Yen. From 10pm to 5am there is an added charge, effectively adding 20% to your fare. (Basic initial fares can differ among area and company.) Some taxis accept credit cards. One thing to watch out for is that the left rear doors of Japanese taxis open and close automatically. Take caution not get your hands or feet stuck in the doors.

Even though there are some English signs available at Japanese train stations, if you have any questions or feel unsure about where to go, please check with a member of the station staff.

About Japanese clothes and shoes sizes

Japanese sizes are comparably small, so there will probably be times when you cannot find the right fit.


Most restrooms at department stores, offices or stations provide toilet paper. Please make sure to only flush toilet paper. In recent years warm water bidets have been increasing in public areas as well.

Public baths

In Japan you enter public baths and hot springs naked. Bathing suits are not allowed and using a towel while sitting in the bath is regarded as bad manners.

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