Updated: Oct 27, 2022
Transferring money between Japan and the US can be really easy or overly complicated depending on how you do it and what direction your money is going. Let's try to make it as simple as possible.
*Wise has made a few changes since this article was written and while most of the information here is still relevant, a few details will be slightly different. It should be noted that they no longer seem to use the Mitsubishsi UFJ Bank in Japan, but now use PayPay Bank. Also, the last time I did a transfer, it looks like the reference number info was no longer there so it may not be needed anymore. I will be updating this article in the near future, as soon as I can get some photos and have a bit of time. In the mean time, everything else should still be accurate.
From the US:
Goto any Japan Post ATM, or Convenience store ATM (Both have English options).
Use your bank card to withdraw money from your American account. Bank Fees and exchange rates apply.
*Make sure to inform your bank that you will be traveling so that they don't lock your account for suspicious activity.
To the US:
While there are several ways to transfer money back to your home country, we will focus on using the service we are most familiar with and have found to be easy and affordable. We may look at other methods more closely at a later date.
Setup an account with Wise (Formerly Transferwise) (use this link to sign up and get your first transfer of up to 75,000 yen fee-free: Wise )
Use the Wise App or website to connect your bank information in America or your home country.
Initiate transfer from the App or website.
Goto your Japanese bank to perform a furikomi (bank transfer)
Be sure to use the information provided and put your reference number in by selecting the option to change your name. Place the reference number AFTER your name.
*Can also use other services like Western Union.
Doing a Furikomi (bank transfer) at Japan Post ATM:
*first transfer may require teller assistance from the post office to ensure proper forms are filled out.
** ATM money transfers must be done in Japanese at this time, English menu allows for remittances but requires information you don't have.
***use the camera live translate feature of Google Translate app to assist you through the menu.
Step By Step Transfer
from Japan Post Bank ATM to Trasferwise
1. Select furikomi.
2. Select transfer to other lines (other banks) bank account.
3. Accept disclaimer and insert passbook or card.
4. Type your pin number.
5. Select bank you are transferring to (if using Wise, formerly Transferwise, select Mitsubishi UFJ).
6. Select bank branch by typing the first corresponding hiragana to the branch name (if using Wise, select Ebisu Branch from second page of options).
7. Select account type (Normal Savings).
8. Input account number to transfer to (provided by Wise).
9. Input yen amount to transfer.
10. Accept bank fee and notice of day money will be transferred. (date may vary depending on time of transfer, weekend or holidays).
11. Verify your name on the account (If using Wise, change this to include your name followed by your reference number).
11. Verify name and reference number.
12. Input your Japanese contact phone number.
13. Accept disclaimer.
14. Verify information.
15. Save information to repeat transfer another time or don't, either is ok.