In Japan, most banks offer very low (less than 0.02%) interest rates for saving accounts. Is there any better way to save money in Japan than theses saving accounts

  • Should be relatively liquid
  • Preferably be labelled in Yen to preserve from exchange rate fluctuations
  • Tailored to receive +- ¥200 000 a month
  • 2
    I'd imagine the same as in the US; invest it in something.
    – Andy
    Mar 9, 2015 at 17:10
  • 1
    Wow, that's ridiculously low, especially when you consider inflation over 2%!
    – tomasz
    Mar 9, 2015 at 18:19
  • 2
    $100,000+ in Japanese accounts for 6 years, earned me about $50 in interest. Unfortunately the interest report for those three accounts cost me $150!
    – ChatGPT
    Sep 7, 2016 at 9:45

4 Answers 4


The reason for these low interests is that the Japanese central bank is giving away money at negative interests to banks. Yes, negative. So, short of opening your own bank, you'll have to either choose less liquid investments or more risky ones.

  • Get Japanese government bonds. Not a great interest, band not that liquid, but for a 5 years bond you'll do better than the bank can.

  • Get Japanese corporate bonds. Still not great, and a bit more risky, it's better than nothing.

  • Get a Japanese mutual fund. I can't recommend any though.

  • Buy Japanese stock. Many Japanese stock have interesting kickbacks. For example if you buy enough stock of Book-Off you'll get some free books every month. it's risky though because I believe the next NIKKEI index crash is imminent.


Been here in Japan 12 years mate, and you're right, the investment options here suck. Be very wary of them, they will take all your money in outrageous fees--3% in and 3% out of some "investment" options. It's a scam.

Send the money back home and manage it there. I recommend setting up a Vanguard account back in the UK, then you can invest in Vanguard index funds. Vanguard charges no commission for buying and selling their funds when you have a Vanguard account. I have nearly all my money there (Vanguard US), and I use the free Personal Capital online software to understand how to best manage the allocations in my portfolio. Of course you'll lose a bit of money on wire transfer fees, but you'll more than make up for it if in the long-term, and they may also be offset by currency rate anyway (right now the yen is strong, so a good time to use it to buy GBP). Also you may never need to send the money back to Japan unless you plan on retiring here.


As an alternative to investing you'll find at least some banks eg. Rakuten that will give you preferential interest rates(still 0.1% though) just for opening a free brokering account.

As this is still your individual savings account your money is as safe as it was before opening your account.

I certainly wouldn't buy to hold any stock or fund that is linked to the Nikkei right now. Income stocks outside of the 225 may be safer, but you'd still need to buy enough of them that their individual results don't affect your bottom line.


It's been a while and I came up with some better answers.

This blog: https://www.retirejapan.com have some very relevant informatiosn

Mostly, the main advise would be to invest into a NISA, which allow some tax free investment into the market. Other tax advantageous accounts such as iDECO can be considered.

No need to open a foreign brokerage account, local banks can do it too.

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