Hanko (Seal)

If you make a big purchase such as a car or real estate, or when you transfer the ownership right of a telephone to others, you are required to use your “official seal” (Jitsu-in), which need to be registered at the City Office. And sometimes you may be asked to present a seal registration certificate (Inkan Toroku Shomeisho). In order to get it, you need to register your official seal at the City Office, the Residential Affairs Division (Shimin-ka). The registration is free of charge, but the fee for a registration certificate is 300 yen.

You can’t register the following seals:

    1. A seal with a name other than the name which appears on your Residence Certificate;
    2. A seal made of materials such as rubber which can easily be deformed;
    3. A seal which is chipped or worn out:
    4. A seal which does not have an outer line which surrounds the name;
    5. A seal which can’t be contained in a 20 mm x 20 mm square;
    6. A seal which is considered to be inappropriate for a registered seal.

There are some online personal seal shops for foreign residents in Japan. We hope you will find your favorite design.

If you have lost your seal or seal registration card or when you no longer need the card, you must fill out and submit an application to invalidate a registered seal at the Residential Affairs Division (Shimin-ka).