How to buy gold in Japan? And silver? No matter if you can speak Japanese or not, look no further, these are the 4 easiest ways to buy gold in Japan.
1) Buy Gold Coins and Bars at Local Dealers
The simplest way to buy gold in Japan is just to directly purchase and accumulate gold bullion (coins and bars) from a local, reputable dealer. In this way you will have your coins in your hands, you will be in full control. Also, you don’t need to be Japanese resident, if you buy less than 2 million yen in gold.
Bear in mind a few things though:
- You will have to pay a sales tax (10%) and a markup (higher with coins, because they have higher making costs, lower with bars). The sales tax might be given back to you when selling back your bullion to the same dealer (check their policy!) but you will need the receipt issued to you by the same dealer when you bought the bullion.
- You will need to show your ID and, if buying more than 2 million yen in gold, fill a tax form with your tax ID.
- Do not buy coins with numismatic value or limited mintage. When selling them you will likely have to accept a lower price. Instead, buy modern gold coins such as American Eagles, Canadian Maple Leaves, Australian Gold Nuggets, Austrian Philharmonics, Krugerrands or gold bars from reputable refiners, with their own proper hallmarks and serial numbers.
- Have you considered where to store your gold bullion? At home? In a bank safe box? Some dealers can also store them for you, of course at a cost.
For your reference, you can find below a screenshot of the precious metals prices, buy and sell, from Tanaka Ginza website, taken yesterday, which will give you an idea of the buy/sell spread. The spot gold price per ounce, on the same day, was about 182,000 yen. You can see that the spread was quite high.
A few large reputable gold dealers, with several retail stores around Japan, are the following:
You will also find several retail shops in Tokyo around Kanda station and Akihabara.
2) Open a Pure Gold Saving Account
In Japan, many banks and precious metals brokers offer a Pure Gold Saving Account (純金積立口座 – junkin tsumitate koza).
If you have a Japanese bank account, it is quite possible a junkin tsumitate account is already included in your package. If not, it should be easy to open one.
With the Gold Account you can buy grams of gold. You can set a GAP (Gold Accumulation Plan), in which you can invest a fixed amount of yen, even very small (down to 1000 yen), every month.
Whenever you want, you can then sell back the gold for yen or redeem with physical bullion (gold coins or bars). Nowadays, there are also accumulation plans with silver and platinum.
A “junkin tsumitate” account is a very easy way to invest in gold and precious metals. No wonder, it has been very popular for decades in Japan.
Anyway take in account that you will have to pay fees (about 30 yen every 1000 yen invested) and, with some banks, also annual storage fees (which is pretty normal when investing in gold). Also, there will be a spread between selling and buying price (30-100 yen per grams of gold, depending on your bank).
The smaller the spread, the cheaper will be your gold, so you will need to carefully check the spread as well as the purchase fee.
One more thing to consider is that not all junkin tsumitate accounts are insured (normal bank deposit must be insured up to 10 million yen, as required by the Japanese law). So you should look for gold savings account which are insured, even if they are more expensive.
Tanaka Kikinzoku, the largest gold dealer in Japan, offers the most popular junkin tsumitate account, which appears also to be fully insured.
3) Buy Physical Gold ETFs on the Tokyo Stock Exchange
The Tokyo Stock Exchange lists a few physical gold Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), both domestic and international:
- SPDR Gold Shares – Tokyo Stock Exchange Ticker 1326
- Wisdom Tree ETFS Physical Gold – Tokyo Stock Exchange Ticker 1672
- Mitsubishi UFJ Japan Physical Gold ETF – Tokyo Stock Exchange Ticker 1540
Of course you will need a trading account to buy/trade them. Possibly with your bank, if they provide one, or with a Japanese online broker, which will be probably cheaper.
Beside brokerage fees, from your gold ETF price will be deducted a management fee, around 0.4% every year.
4) Buy gold, silver and platinum and store them with BullionVault
BullionVault is the largest online bullion market worldwide. They have about 80,000 customers around the world. They are based in UK but they offer marketplaces and vaults in 5 different locations: Zurich, London, New York, Toronto and Singapore.
BullionVault actually connects buyers and sellers, you are not buying or selling with BullionVault itself. With a BullionVault account you can buy, sell and store gold, silver and platinum at close to wholesale prices.
After having your account opened and verified, you will have to provide details of a bank account of your choice. That will be the only account authorized to wire money to/from BullionVault. You cannot add or change this account afterwards. While this policy is obviously related to AML requirements, I always found it a more robust security feature. It means that a hacker, even if successful in breaching into your account, will not be able to wire your savings into his bank account.
BullionVault, which opened its business in 2003, has a lot of experience with Japanese customers.
These are the specific advantages for you, as Japanese resident:
- You can interact with BullionVault in English or in Japanese, as you like.
- They have a Japanese Market office, led by Atsuko Whitehouse, which will help you in setting up and managing your account.
- You can wire different currencies, including yen (you can directly buy gold and sell gold with yen in Zurich marketplace).
I will not go into further details about BullionVault. I just say that I have been their customer for 10 years and, in all this time, I did not have any problem whatsoever. So I invite you to check on their website if it can fit your needs.
How to Buy Silver in Japan
You can buy silver with pretty much all the 4 ways described above. Anyway, I would avoid buying and store silver bullion on your own, because it can be bulky (not easy to store on your own) and less easy to sell than gold. For investing in silver, I would rather buy physical silver with an ETF or BullionVault.
Few More Things to Consider
Be aware that Japanese use grams for the price of gold. Also, do not forget about taxes. I am not a tax expert so I cannot give you advice on that, sorry!
I hope you found useful this page about how and where to buy gold in Japan. Please feel free to add your feedback below, also to point out any errors or inaccuracies.