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 2 alternative indices 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 3 currency hedged indices tracked by 12 ETFs.

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

0.09% 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: 1.56%
1 year: -0.15%
3 years: 35.51%
5 years: 77.90%

Indices in comparison

The best indices for ETFs on Japan

For an investment in the Japanese stock market, 6 indices tracked by 22 ETFs are available. On the JPX-Nikkei 400 index there are 2 ETFs. On the MSCI Japan index there are 11 ETFs. On the MSCI Japan Investable Market (IMI) index there is 1 ETF. On the MSCI Japan Large Cap index there is 1 ETF. On the Nikkei 225® index there are 4 ETFs. On the TOPIX® index there are 3 ETFs. The total expense ratio (TER) of ETFs on these indices is between 0.09% p.a. and 0.59% p.a..

Index Investment focus Number of ETFs Number of constituents Short description

JPX-Nikkei 400

Japan 2 ETFs 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 11 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

MSCI Japan Large Cap

Japan 1 ETF 126
(31.10.16)
The MSCI Japan Large Cap (price) index tracks Japanese large cap stocks.
Index factsheet

Nikkei 225®

Japan 4 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 EUR
TER
in %
Use of profits Fund domicile Replication method
iShares MSCI Japan UCITS ETF (Dist)IE00B02KXH56 1,993 0.59% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
iShares Core MSCI Japan IMI UCITS ETFIE00B4L5YX21 1,500 0.20% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
db x-trackers MSCI Japan Index UCITS ETF (DR) 1CLU0274209740 1,112 0.50% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Full replication
Amundi ETF Japan Topix UCITS ETF Daily Hedged EURFR0011314277 988 0.48% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
UBS ETF (LU) MSCI Japan UCITS ETF (JPY) A-disLU0136240974 676 0.35% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Full replication
Lyxor UCITS ETF Japan (Topix) D-EURFR0010245514 662 0.45% p.a. Distributing France Optimized sampling
Amundi ETF MSCI Japan UCITS ETF DR EURFR0010688242 340 0.45% p.a. Accumulating France Full replication
iShares MSCI Japan UCITS ETF (Acc)IE00B53QDK08 310 0.48% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
db x-trackers Nikkei 225 UCITS ETF (DR) 1DLU0839027447 305 0.09% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Full replication
Source JPX-Nikkei 400 UCITS ETF ADE000A119T29 229 0.40% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Unfunded swap
iShares Nikkei 225 UCITS ETF (DE)DE000A0H08D2 191 0.51% p.a. Distributing Germany Full replication
HSBC MSCI Japan UCITS ETF USDDE000A1C0BD3 182 0.19% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
iShares Nikkei 225 UCITS ETFIE00B52MJD48 136 0.48% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
db x-trackers JPX-Nikkei 400 UCITS ETF (DR) 1DIE00BPVLQD13 104 0.25% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
ComStage Nikkei 225 UCITS ETFLU0378453376 51 0.25% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Deka MSCI Japan UCITS ETFDE000ETFL300 45 0.50% p.a. Distributing Germany Full replication
UBS ETF (IE) MSCI Japan SF UCITS ETF (JPY) A-accIE00B54HQ477 37 0.32% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Swap-based
Source MSCI Japan UCITS ETF AIE00B60SX287 29 0.45% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Unfunded swap
ComStage Topix UCITS ETFLU0392496773 13 0.25% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Deka MSCI Japan LC UCITS ETFDE000ETFL102 13 0.50% p.a. Distributing Germany Full replication
ComStage MSCI Japan TRN UCITS ETFLU0392495452 11 0.25% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
SPDR MSCI Japan UCITS ETFIE00BZ0G8B96 7 0.30% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
 
Index   1 month
in %
3 months
in %
6 months
in %
1 year
in %
3 years
in %
TOPIX® 6.80% 14.23% 8.86% -5.67% 20.00%
MSCI Japan 2.60% 8.13% 12.93% 2.50% 36.97%
MSCI Japan Large Cap 3.04% 7.52% 13.85% 3.09% 36.07%
MSCI Japan Investable Market (IMI) 1.52% 7.74% 12.05% 3.19% 40.73%
Nikkei 225® 1.81% 6.06% 12.83% 3.26% 42.11%
JPX-Nikkei 400 2.54% 8.32% 12.59% 3.42% -
Index   2016
in %
2015
in %
2014
in %
2013
in %
2012
in %
TOPIX® -3.84% 11.06% 8.68% 49.60% -
MSCI Japan 5.75% 21.60% 8.24% 20.85% 5.55%
MSCI Japan Investable Market (IMI) 5.79% 23.08% 8.69% 20.98% 5.52%
MSCI Japan Large Cap 6.37% 20.29% 6.40% 21.55% 6.91%
JPX-Nikkei 400 6.53% 22.17% - - -
Nikkei 225® 8.18% 22.23% 7.94% - -

Source: justETF.com; As of 30.11.16; Calculations in EUR 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 3 currency hedged Japan indices tracked by 12 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 (EUR Hedged) Japan 5 ETFs 400
The JPX-Nikkei 400 EUR Hedged index tracks 400 Japanese stocks. The stocks are mainly selected by return on equity and cumulative operating profit. Currency hedged to Euro.
Index factsheet
MSCI Japan (EUR Hedged) Japan 5 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
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 EUR
TER
in %
Use of profits Fund domicile Replication method
db x-trackers JPX-Nikkei 400 UCITS ETF (DR) 3C (EUR hedged)IE00BRB36B93 7,198 0.30% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
iShares MSCI Japan EUR Hedged UCITS ETFIE00B42Z5J44 2,430 0.64% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
db x-trackers MSCI Japan Index UCITS ETF (DR) 4C (EUR hedged)LU0659580079 318 0.60% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Full replication
UBS ETF (LU) MSCI Japan hedged EUR UCITS ETF (EUR) A-accLU0950672476 196 0.45% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Full replication
Amundi ETF JPX-Nikkei 400 UCITS ETF Daily Hedged EURFR0012688299 159 0.18% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
Lyxor UCITS ETF Japan (Topix) Daily Hedged D-EURFR0011475078 130 0.45% p.a. Distributing France Optimized sampling
Amundi ETF JPX-Nikkei 400 UCITS ETF Daily Hedged EURFR0012205631 57 0.18% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
Source JPX-Nikkei 400 UCITS ETF EUR HedgedIE00BVGC6645 52 0.40% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Unfunded swap
iShares JPX-Nikkei 400 EUR Hedged UCITS ETFIE00BQT3W831 19 0.25% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
ComStage MSCI Japan 100% Daily Hedged Euro UCITS ETFLU1033694107 5 0.44% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
SPDR MSCI Japan EUR Hedged UCITS ETFIE00BZ0G8C04 3 0.35% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
RBS Market Access Topix EUR Hedged UCITS ETFLU0562666403 2 0.50% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
 
Index   1 month
in %
3 months
in %
6 months
in %
1 year
in %
3 years
in %
MSCI Japan (EUR Hedged) 7.38% 13.46% 10.32% -6.65% 16.00%
JPX-Nikkei 400 (EUR Hedged) 7.10% 13.85% 8.28% -5.96% -
TOPIX® (EUR Hedged) 7.05% 14.20% 8.71% -5.86% 19.44%
Index   2016
in %
2015
in %
2014
in %
2013
in %
2012
in %
JPX-Nikkei 400 (EUR Hedged) -4.19% - - - -
MSCI Japan (EUR Hedged) -4.10% 9.06% 7.95% 50.79% 16.59%
TOPIX® (EUR Hedged) -4.05% 11.28% 7.17% - -

Source: justETF.com; As of 30.11.16; Calculations in EUR 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 2 alternative indices on Japan tracked by 2 ETFs. The total expense ratio (TER) of ETFs on these alternative indices is between 0.50% p.a. and 0.58% p.a..

 
Index Investment focus Number of ETFs Number of constituents Short description
MSCI Japan Mid Cap Japan
Mid Cap
1 ETF 193
(31.10.16)
The MSCI Japan Mid Cap (price) index tracks Japanese mid cap stocks (end of day).
Index factsheet
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 EUR
TER
in %
Use of profits Fund domicile Replication method
iShares MSCI Japan Small Cap UCITS ETF (Dist)IE00B2QWDY88 395 0.58% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
Deka MSCI Japan MC UCITS ETFDE000ETFL318 2 0.50% p.a. Distributing Germany Full replication
 
Index   1 month
in %
3 months
in %
6 months
in %
1 year
in %
3 years
in %
MSCI Japan Mid Cap 1.16% 7.67% 9.78% 1.02% 41.86%
MSCI Japan Small Cap 0.03% 9.16% 10.81% 7.41% 55.91%
Index   2016
in %
2015
in %
2014
in %
2013
in %
2012
in %
MSCI Japan Mid Cap 4.63% 22.13% 11.12% 20.94% 3.59%
MSCI Japan Small Cap 9.70% 28.06% 12.38% 20.14% 1.41%

Source: justETF.com; As of 30.11.16; Calculations in EUR 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 3 indices tracked by 12 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 EUR
TER
in %
Use of profits Fund domicile Replication method
ComStage MSCI Pacific TRN UCITS ETFLU0392495023 98 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 3.05% 7.37% 12.97% 5.44% 34.04%
Index   2016
in %
2015
in %
2014
in %
2013
in %
2012
in %
MSCI Pacific 7.94% 14.03% 10.18% 12.85% 11.81%

Source: justETF.com; As of 30.11.16; Calculations in EUR based on the largest ETF of the respective index.