How to invest in Japan using ETFs

How do I invest in Japanese stocks?

The easiest way to invest in the whole Japanese stock market is to invest in a broad market index. This can be done at low cost by using ETFs.

On the Japanese stock market you find 6 indices, which are tracked by ETFs. Besides these indices 1 alternative index on small and mid caps or equity strategies can be considered.

A speciality for ETFs on Japan is the large number of currency hedged ETFs that are available. In total there are 10 currency hedged indices tracked by 24 ETFs.

Alternatively, you can consider indices on the Pacific region. In the Pacific indices, Japan is strongly weighted with around 67%.

0.18% p.a. - 0.59% p.a.
annual total expense ratio (TER) of Japan ETFs
on the Japanese stock market, which is tracked by ETFs
on the Japanese stock market
The best indices for Japan ETFs

Performance of Japanese stocks (MSCI Japan)

1 month: 2.54%
1 year: 19.71%
3 years: 26.28%
5 years: 61.31%

Indices in comparison

The best indices for ETFs on Japan

For an investment in the Japanese stock market, 6 indices tracked by 17 ETFs are available. On the FTSE Japan index there is 1 ETF. On the JPX-Nikkei 400 index there is 1 ETF. On the MSCI Japan index there are 9 ETFs. On the MSCI Japan Investable Market (IMI) index there is 1 ETF. On the Nikkei 225® index there are 2 ETFs. On the TOPIX® index there are 3 ETFs. The total expense ratio (TER) of ETFs on these indices is between 0.18% p.a. and 0.59% p.a..

Index Investment focus Number of ETFs Number of constituents Short description

FTSE Japan

Japan 1 ETF 475
(27/02/15)
The FTSE Japan index tracks Japanese large and mid cap stocks.
Index factsheet

JPX-Nikkei 400

Japan 1 ETF 400
The JPX-Nikkei 400 index tracks 400 Japanese stocks. The stocks are mainly selected by return on equity and cumulative operating profit.
Index factsheet

MSCI Japan

Japan 9 ETFs 319
(31/10/16)
The MSCI Japan (total return) index tracks around 320 leading stocks on the Japanese market.
Index factsheet

MSCI Japan Investable Market (IMI)

Japan 1 ETF 1,210
(31/10/16)
The MSCI Japan Investable Market (IMI) index tracks large, mid, and small capitalisation companies in Japan.
Index factsheet

Nikkei 225®

Japan 2 ETFs 225
The Nikkei 225® index tracks the 225 most actively traded stocks on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
Index factsheet

TOPIX®

Japan 3 ETFs 1,947
(01/03/16)
The TOPIX® (total return) index tracks over 1,900 Japanese stocks on the TSE First Section segment of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, which comprises the largest market capitalisations.
Index factsheet
ETF
ISIN
  Fund size
in m CHF
TER
in %
Use of profits Fund domicile Replication method
iShares Core MSCI Japan IMI UCITS ETFIE00B4L5YX21 2,572 0.20% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
iShares MSCI Japan UCITS ETF (Dist)IE00B02KXH56 1,918 0.59% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
db x-trackers MSCI Japan Index UCITS ETF (DR) 1CLU0274209740 1,413 0.30% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Full replication
Vanguard FTSE Japan UCITS ETFIE00B95PGT31 1,066 0.19% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
UBS ETF (LU) MSCI Japan UCITS ETF (JPY) A-disLU0136240974 882 0.35% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Full replication
iShares MSCI Japan UCITS ETF (Acc)IE00B53QDK08 403 0.48% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
iShares Nikkei 225 UCITS ETF (Acc)IE00B52MJD48 303 0.48% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
HSBC MSCI Japan UCITS ETF USDIE00B5VX7566 206 0.19% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
Lyxor Japan (Topix) UCITS ETF D-JPYFR0010377028 179 0.45% p.a. Distributing France Optimized sampling
Amundi ETF JPX-Nikkei 400 UCITS ETF JPYFR0012205623 115 0.18% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
ComStage Nikkei 225 UCITS ETFLU0378453376 51 0.25% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
UBS ETF (IE) MSCI Japan SF UCITS ETF (JPY) A-accIE00B54HQ477 41 0.32% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Swap-based
Amundi ETF MSCI Japan UCITS ETF DR JPYFR0010871202 31 0.45% p.a. Accumulating France Full replication
Amundi ETF Japan Topix UCITS ETF JPYFR0012903227 16 0.20% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
ComStage MSCI Japan TRN UCITS ETFLU0392495452 10 0.25% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
UBS ETF (LU) MSCI Japan UCITS ETF (JPY) A-UKdisLU1107559616 9 0.35% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Full replication
ComStage Topix UCITS ETFLU0392496773 8 0.25% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
 
Index   1 month
in %
3 months
in %
6 months
in %
1 year
in %
3 years
in %
JPX-Nikkei 400 0.49% 0.07% 4.40% 12.03% -
MSCI Japan 0.85% 0.08% 4.71% 12.15% 29.91%
TOPIX® 0.80% 0.50% 4.68% 12.51% 32.96%
FTSE Japan 0.92% 0.40% 5.38% 13.12% 33.32%
MSCI Japan Investable Market (IMI) 1.04% 0.46% 5.73% 13.16% 35.04%
Nikkei 225® 0.78% 0.99% 5.44% 13.26% 37.46%
Index   2017
in %
2016
in %
2015
in %
2014
in %
2013
in %
MSCI Japan 3.47% 4.09% 9.51% 6.09% 22.83%
Nikkei 225® 3.97% 7.02% 9.92% 5.49% 26.34%
FTSE Japan 4.04% 4.59% 11.09% 6.85% -
JPX-Nikkei 400 4.05% 4.41% 10.59% - -
MSCI Japan Investable Market (IMI) 4.27% 5.55% 10.89% 6.48% 23.02%
TOPIX® 4.40% 5.08% 10.40% 6.88% 21.98%

Source: justETF.com; As of 31/05/17; Calculations in CHF based on the largest ETF of the respective index.

 

The cheapest Japan ETFs
by total expense ratio (TER)

Show all

Japan ETFs with hedged currency risk

Currency hedged investing in Japanese stocks is popular. In total, you can consider 10 currency hedged Japan indices tracked by 24 ETFs. The total expense ratio (TER) of ETFs on Japan indices with currency hedge is between 0.18% p.a. and 0.64% p.a..

 
Index Investment focus Number of ETFs Number of constituents Short description
JPX-Nikkei 400 (CHF Hedged) Japan 2 ETFs 400
The JPX-Nikkei 400 Daily CHF Hedged index tracks 400 Japanese stocks. The stocks are mainly selected by return on equity and cumulative operating profit. Daily currency hedged to CHF.
Index factsheet
JPX-Nikkei 400 (EUR Hedged) Japan 4 ETFs 400
The JPX-Nikkei 400 Daily EUR Hedged index tracks 400 Japanese stocks. The stocks are mainly selected by return on equity and cumulative operating profit. Daily currency hedged to Euro.
Index factsheet
JPX-Nikkei 400 (GBP Hedged) Japan 1 ETF 400
The JPX-Nikkei 400 Daily GBP Hedged index tracks 400 Japanese stocks. The stocks are mainly selected by return on equity and cumulative operating profit. Daily currency hedged to GBP.
Index factsheet
JPX-Nikkei 400 (USD Hedged) Japan 2 ETFs 400
The JPX-Nikkei 400 USD Hedged index tracks 400 Japanese stocks. The stocks are mainly selected by return on equity and cumulative operating profit. Currency hedged to US dollar.
Index factsheet
MSCI Japan (CHF Hedged) Japan 3 ETFs 319
(31/10/16)
The MSCI Japan (total return) index tracks around 320 leading stocks on the Japanese market. 100% currency hedged to Swiss Francs (CHF).
Index factsheet
MSCI Japan (EUR Hedged) Japan 3 ETFs 319
(31/10/16)
The MSCI Japan index tracks around 320 leading stocks on the Japanese market. 100% currency hedged to Euro.
Index factsheet
MSCI Japan (GBP Hedged) Japan 2 ETFs 319
(31/10/16)
The MSCI Japan (total return) index tracks around 320 leading stocks on the Japanese market. 100% currency hedged to British Pound (GBP).
Index factsheet
MSCI Japan (SGD Hedged) Japan 1 ETF 319
(31/10/16)
The MSCI Japan (total return) index tracks around 320 leading stocks on the Japanese market. 100% currency hedged to SGD.
Index factsheet
MSCI Japan (USD Hedged) Japan 4 ETFs 319
(31/10/16)
The MSCI Japan index tracks around 320 leading stocks on the Japanese market. Currency hedged on monthly basis to US dollar.
Index factsheet
TOPIX® (EUR Hedged) Japan 2 ETFs 1,947
(01/03/16)
The TOPIX® EUR Daily Hedged (total return) index tracks over 1,900 Japanese stocks on the TSE First Section segment of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, which comprises the largest market capitalisations. Currency hedged to Euro.
ETF
ISIN
  Fund size
in m CHF
TER
in %
Use of profits Fund domicile Replication method
iShares MSCI Japan EUR Hedged UCITS ETFIE00B42Z5J44 2,444 0.64% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
Amundi ETF Japan Topix UCITS ETF Daily Hedged EURFR0011314277 1,188 0.48% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
Amundi ETF JPX-Nikkei 400 UCITS ETF Daily Hedged EURFR0012205631 528 0.18% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
iShares MSCI Japan USD Hedged UCITS ETFIE00BCLWRG39 448 0.64% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
iShares MSCI Japan CHF Hedged UCITS ETFIE00B8J37J31 431 0.64% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
UBS ETF (LU) MSCI Japan hedged to USD UCITS ETF (USD) A-accLU0977260867 375 0.45% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Full replication
UBS ETF (LU) MSCI Japan hedged EUR UCITS ETF (EUR) A-accLU0950672476 295 0.45% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Full replication
UBS ETF (LU) MSCI Japan hedged CHF UCITS ETF (CHF) A-accLU0950672120 246 0.45% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Full replication
Amundi ETF Japan Topix UCITS ETF Daily Hedged EURFR0012903235 210 0.20% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
Amundi ETF JPX-Nikkei 400 UCITS ETF Daily Hedged EURFR0012688299 144 0.18% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
Amundi ETF JPX-Nikkei 400 UCITS ETF Daily Hedged USDFR0012688281 142 0.18% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
db x-trackers MSCI Japan Index UCITS ETF (DR) 2D (USD hedged)LU0927735406 112 0.40% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Full replication
UBS ETF (LU) MSCI Japan hedged GBP UCITS ETF (GBP) A-accLU0969638583 104 0.45% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Full replication
UBS ETF (LU) MSCI Japan hedged GBP UCITS ETF (GBP) A-disLU0969638401 72 0.45% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Full replication
Nomura JPX-Nikkei 400 NTR D EUR Hedged UCITS ETFIE00BVVSZ262 58 0.30% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
UBS ETF (LU) MSCI Japan hedged EUR UCITS ETF (EUR) A-disLU0937837945 44 0.45% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Full replication
iShares JPX-Nikkei 400 EUR Hedged UCITS ETFIE00BQT3W831 34 0.25% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
Nomura JPX-Nikkei 400 NTR D USD Hedged UCITS ETFIE00BVVSZ379 15 0.30% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
UBS ETF (LU) MSCI Japan hedged to USD UCITS ETF (USD) A-disLU0979891768 15 0.45% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Full replication
Lyxor JPX-Nikkei 400 UCITS ETF (DR) Daily Hedged C-CHFFR0012750552 12 0.25% p.a. Accumulating France Optimized sampling
db x-trackers MSCI Japan Index UCITS ETF (DR) 7C (CHF hedged)LU1215827756 8 0.40% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Full replication
Amundi ETF JPX-Nikkei 400 UCITS ETF Daily Hedged GBPFR0012688273 7 0.18% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
Amundi ETF JPX-Nikkei 400 UCITS ETF Daily Hedged CHFFR0013089075 1 0.18% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
UBS ETF (LU) MSCI Japan UCITS ETF (hedged to SGD) A-accLU1169822936 1 0.45% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Full replication
 
Index   1 month
in %
3 months
in %
6 months
in %
1 year
in %
3 years
in %
MSCI Japan (GBP Hedged) -0.61% 2.41% 4.82% -3.50% 5.07%
JPX-Nikkei 400 (GBP Hedged) -0.76% 2.21% 5.00% -3.40% -
MSCI Japan (EUR Hedged) 2.68% 4.66% 7.01% 11.02% 13.41%
JPX-Nikkei 400 (USD Hedged) 0.06% -0.86% 2.61% 11.39% -
JPX-Nikkei 400 (CHF Hedged) 1.96% 2.08% 6.23% 11.68% -
JPX-Nikkei 400 (EUR Hedged) 0.23% 0.15% 4.78% 11.73% -
TOPIX® (EUR Hedged) 2.82% 5.00% 7.94% 11.90% 17.76%
MSCI Japan (USD Hedged) 0.20% -0.74% 2.26% 11.95% 39.58%
MSCI Japan (CHF Hedged) 2.02% 2.13% 5.71% 12.03% 24.48%
MSCI Japan (SGD Hedged) 1.01% 0.34% - - -
Index   2017
in %
2016
in %
2015
in %
2014
in %
2013
in %
MSCI Japan (USD Hedged) -1.38% 0.35% 9.49% 19.80% -
JPX-Nikkei 400 (USD Hedged) -1.21% 0.13% - - -
MSCI Japan (GBP Hedged) 2.49% -18.27% 3.90% 13.72% -
MSCI Japan (CHF Hedged) 2.52% -3.63% 7.80% 7.65% 50.54%
JPX-Nikkei 400 (GBP Hedged) 2.62% -17.37% - - -
JPX-Nikkei 400 (CHF Hedged) 2.81% -3.42% - - -
MSCI Japan (SGD Hedged) 2.92% - - - -
JPX-Nikkei 400 (EUR Hedged) 3.78% 4.41% 10.82% - -
MSCI Japan (EUR Hedged) 4.28% -4.03% -1.75% 5.73% 53.32%
TOPIX® (EUR Hedged) 5.04% -3.12% 0.08% 6.45% 52.12%

Source: justETF.com; As of 31/05/17; Calculations in CHF based on the largest ETF of the respective index.

 
Alternative investment opportunities

Japanese indices on small and mid caps or equity strategies

Alternatively, you may invest in indices on small and mid caps or equity strategies. In total, you can invest in 1 alternative index on Japan tracked by 1 ETF. The total expense ratio (TER) of ETFs on these alternative indices is around 0.58% p.a..

 
Index Investment focus Number of ETFs Number of constituents Short description
MSCI Japan Small Cap Japan
Small Cap
1 ETF 891
(31/10/16)
The MSCI Japan Small Cap (total return) index tracks Japanese small cap stocks.
Index factsheet
ETF
ISIN
  Fund size
in m CHF
TER
in %
Use of profits Fund domicile Replication method
iShares MSCI Japan Small Cap UCITS ETF (Dist)IE00B2QWDY88 416 0.58% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
 
Index   1 month
in %
3 months
in %
6 months
in %
1 year
in %
3 years
in %
MSCI Japan Small Cap 1.57% 1.65% 9.33% 15.04% 48.97%
Index   2017
in %
2016
in %
2015
in %
2014
in %
2013
in %
MSCI Japan Small Cap 7.12% 9.52% 15.36% 10.10% 22.16%

Source: justETF.com; As of 31/05/17; Calculations in CHF based on the largest ETF of the respective index.

 

Pacific indices with a large share of Japan

Besides, Japan ETFs you can consider ETFs on the Pacific stock market. On the Pacific region 10 indices tracked by 24 ETFs are available. The MSCI Pacific index contains a significant weight of Japan with around 67%. The total expense ratio (TER) of ETFs on the Pacific region is around 0.45% p.a..

 
Index Investment focus Number of ETFs Number of constituents Short description
MSCI Pacific Asia Pacific
Japan: 66.76%
(31/10/2016)
1 ETF 470
(31/10/16)
The MSCI Pacific index tracks the equity markets of the developed markets in the Pacific region.
Index factsheet
ETF
ISIN
  Fund size
in m CHF
TER
in %
Use of profits Fund domicile Replication method
ComStage MSCI Pacific TRN UCITS ETFLU0392495023 223 0.45% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
 
Index   1 month
in %
3 months
in %
6 months
in %
1 year
in %
3 years
in %
MSCI Pacific -0.48% -0.46% 4.93% 13.23% 22.82%
Index   2017
in %
2016
in %
2015
in %
2014
in %
2013
in %
MSCI Pacific 4.20% 6.87% 2.52% 8.17% 14.53%

Source: justETF.com; As of 31/05/17; Calculations in CHF based on the largest ETF of the respective index.