Many Japanese banks are now data libraries and museums. At each spot, you can appreciate the state-of-the-art architectural techniques from the late 19th century to the early 20th century. They are all worth seeing and you are sure to be overwhelmed by their delicate structure. Here, we will introduce bank architecture that remains nationwide.
The History of Banks in Japan
The prototype of Japanese banks was developed around the 17th century. The financial company called Ryōgaeya was running a business similar to modern banks, such as lending and saving.
Later, in 1872, the government issued the National Bank Act and the first national bank, the first bank in Japan, was established the following year. Since then, over 153 banks have been opened. In 1882, the Bank of Japan was established by adopting the European central banking system. It should be noted that the Bank of Japan is the only bank in Japan that issues banknotes
Banks for Currency Exchange
Japanese banks can exchange currency. There are some banks which recommend better rates and discounts than usual. However, since it is basically adapted for exchanging from yen to foreign currency, it should be used if you still have a lot of yen when returning home.
Here are some examples of Japanese banks that can exchange foreign currency
|Bank Name||Area / Information Regarding Currency Exchange|
|Mizuho Bank (みずほ銀行 )||Branches nationwide |
※Only select branches have a special rate for foreign currency exchange
|Yucho Bank (ゆうちょ銀行)||Branches nationwide|
|SMBC Trust Bank (SMBC信託銀行)||Branches nationwide|
Hokuyo Bank (北洋銀行)
|Sapporo, Hokkaido / Tokyo / Iwate bank, Iwate / Aomori / Akita / Miyagi /Tokyo|
|Hokkoku Bank (北國銀行)|
Iwate / Aomori / Akita / Miyagi / Tokyo※ Use the foreign currency exchange machine to save 50 zeni in commission fees (yen → foreign currency only)
|Kiyo Bank (紀陽銀行)|
Osaka / Nara / Wakayama / Tokyo※When exchanging money at Kansai Airport, the prices are discounted compared to the prices at other branches of Kiyo Bank.
|Juroku Bank (十六銀行)|
Gifu / Aichi / Mie / Tokyo / Osaka※Discounts on available on commission fees in some currencies at foreign currency exchange shops compared to the main branch
|Fukuoka Bank (福岡銀行)||Branches in all areas of Kyushu / Yamaguchi / Hiroshima / Osaka / Aichi / Tokyo|
|Saga Bank (佐賀銀行)||Fukuoka / Saga / Nagasaki / Tokyo|
These were Once used as Japanese Banks! Valuable Sightseeing Spots
There are still many facilities which were once used as Japanese banks, that are popular as sightseeing spots.
The reason why each bank is attracting attention as a sightseeing spot is the exterior structure of the bank.
For example, The Former Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank Nagasaki Branch Museum in Nagasaki city, Nagasaki Prefecture and the Bank of Iwate Red Brick Building that incorporates Western architectural styles. Particularly, the exterior of the Bank of Iwate Red Brick Building symbolizes how banks looked from the late 1800s to the early 1900s.
In addition, the Sansho Bank in Saga city, Saga Prefecture is a Japanese-style warehouse building. This is a spot where you can enjoy traditional Japanese townhouse architecture, like the curved roofs called camber, copper plate windows, and tatami-mat interiors.