Japan may seem free and a dream destination to visit, but deep down, it is riddled with restrictions. Not only is Japan closely working with the US government in exchanging intelligence, but it is also heavily restricting its cyberspace by blocking streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and more.
So, if you’re thinking of paying a visit to Japan or perhaps traveling abroad, you must opt for one of the best Japan VPNs that can help you unblock websites both from within and outside of Japan. Keeping this in mind, I spent days compiling the list below of some of the most affordable VPN in Japan you can get in 2021.
Before we get into the in-depth list, let’s briefly overview VPNs that are best to use in Japan…
6 Best Japanese VPNs Reviewed & Tested in 2021
It’s not easy finding the best VPNs that are secure and work reliably in Japan. So after a ton of testing, below are the only VPNs I recommend using for accessing blocked websites inside and outside Japan.
Below are the factors on which I’ve rated these best VPNs for Japan in 2021:
- Reliability and fast speeds
- Powerful encryption
- Unblocks Netflix & other streaming services
- Servers in Japan and elsewhere
- Apps for all operating systems
- No logs policy
- Extensive money-back guarantee.
1. ExpressVPN – Overall Best VPN for Japan
ExpressVPN is one of the best VPN for Japan because of its excellent unblocking capabilities and powerful encryption. ExpressVPN’s lighting fast servers make it perfect for streaming in HD quality. Equipped with 256-bit encryption, this VPN service offers servers in 2 cities of Japan; Tokyo and Yokohama.
With the servers in Japan, which had such great unblocking capabilities, it is one of the best streaming options with a VPN. I personally streamed popular Japanese local channels such as; NHK BS1, NHK BS Premium, BS Nittere, BS12 TwellV, and many others using ExpressVPN with no issues.
Local content and popular international streaming content such as Netflix US, BBC iPlayer, CBS, YouTube TV US, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Showtime, etc., were also available at high quality with a smooth experience. ExpressVPN is compatible with all the major platforms so that you can stream and protect your online activity on all of them. These platform include macOS, Windows, Android, iOS, Firestick, Linux, Android TV, Roku, Play Station, and Xbox.
It also includes some other fascinating features such as 5 devices simultaneously connections, Internet Kill Switch Feature, MediaStreamer – a Smart DNS feature, and a 30-day money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied with the performance.
- 3,000+ servers in 94+ countries
- 5 simultaneous connections
- Smart DNS feature
- Compatible with all major platforms
- 5-Minute setup process
- A little more pricey than other providers
2. Surfshark – Fastest VPN for Japan
When it comes to choosing the fastest Japanese VPN service, Surfshark definitely tops the list. It is one of the fastest VPN I’ve tested that can unblocking pretty any geo-blocked website on the planet.
With its servers in Tokyo, you can easily access local Japanese content without any restrictions. The popular content you can access using this server includes Toei Channel, Channel Neco, Jidaigeki Senmon Channel, Fuji TV One, and Mondo TV. Backed by 3,200+ servers in 65 countries, It is the perfect VPN for anyone in Japan looking to access international content securely. Popular international content such as Netflix, Hulu, Channel4, ITV, NBC, HBO US, Disney+ will be accessible to our friends in Japan.
As for speeds, the service offers highly impressive speeds, making it one of the fastest VPNs I’ve tested so far. One thing I particularly love about Surfshark is that it offers unlimited simultaneous VPN connections. Like ExpressVPN, it also supports major operating systems, including macOS, Windows, Android, iOS, Linux, and Routers, to protect all of your devices with a single Surfshark account.
As for price, Surfshark is the most affordable VPN you’ll come across in the industry. It is a good quality service for Japan available at just $2.49/mo . This price is affordable for both locals and tourists visiting the country. Have a look at this Surfshark review for more information.
- 3,200+ servers in 64 countries
- unlimited simultaneous logins
- Fastest VPN for Japan
- Blocks ads, trackers, and malware
- Server network coverage is smaller than most other VPNs
- Some slow download speeds
3. NordVPN – Top Japan Based VPN
NordVPN is one of the most renowned VPN services, with a massive server network of over 5,400+ servers located in 59 countries. With so many servers, accessing Netflix, YouTube TV, BBC iPlayer, ESPN+, Disney+, Hulu, Hotstar, and other international streaming giants, would be very easy for our Japanese friends.
NordVPN also has multiple servers in Tokyo, a plus point for people residing outside of Japan and wish to access some local TV stations such as Mnet Japan, BS Animax, BS Tsuri Vision, BS Sky PerfecTV!, and BS Asahi 4K. Like any other best VPN for Japan, it also supports all popular operating systems such as Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Firestick, and Android TVs.
Despite having a large server network, NordVPN comes with some amazing security features like a kill switch, leak protection, no logs, and CyberSec, which can help you protect against malware and advertisements.
NordVPN even supports obfuscation technology that can help you bypass strict firewalls present in countries like China and help you stay under the radar of Japanese surveillance. As for pricing, NordVPN costs $3.71/mo and can be used on 6 devices simultaneously. This service also offers a Free NordVPN trial for 7 days on iOS and Android. That’s not all; there are even more features that are covered in the detailed NordVPN review.
- 5,400+ servers in 59 countries
- Provides 6 multi-logins
- User-interactive server selection on applications
- P2P only supported on some servers
- Sluggish app and server connections
4. PureVPN – Best Japan VPN to access Netflix
Next up on this list, we have PureVPN. It is a perfect choice for anyone looking to access blocked websites from within and outside Japan. As for features, PureVPN comes with 6,500+ servers in 140+countries that are fully capable of granting you access to Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Hotstar, Zee5, Sony Liv, ESPN+, Voot, NBC Live, Foxtel, and Fox-Sports if you are visiting Japan for Vacations.
With its 6 servers located in Tokyo, Japan, there are no local Japanese TV stations that you can not access in your home. We could access local stations such as Nittere G+, Takarazuka Sky Stage, Sukachan 2 4K, QVC, and Green Channel.
With so many servers, it is my preferred choice for unblocking US Netflix and keeping myself protected at all times. Infact PureVPN is on top of the best VPN list for Firestick and the best VPN for Kodi for streaming.
Aside from being feature-rich, PureVPN is compatible with all major platforms like macOS, Windows, Android, iOS, Android TV, Firestick, Roku, and Routers. It offers 10 simultaneous connections, making it one of the best inexpensive VPN to use in Japan. Best of all, PureVPN is pretty affordable and only costs $3.33/mo . Read our PureVPN review in detail to know more about this service.
- 6,500+ servers in 140+ countries
- Obfuscated Security Bypass
- 10 simultaneous connections
- Dedicated Apps for Android TV and Firestick
- Irregular and moderate speeds
- Restricted Payment options
5. CyberGhost – Secure VPN to use in Japan
Moving further down the list and we have CyberGhost. This is one of the most secure VPN you can use to bypass any form of geo-block and surveillance in Japan.
With 6,500+ global servers, CyberGhost is a good choice for unblocking streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Spotify, EuroSports, Vudu, ABC Go, and others. It also offers 55 servers in Japan to access streaming content that is purely restricted to the audience in Japan. These local restricted content include Star Channel 4K, Nippon Eiga + Jidaigeki 4K, Sports Live+, EntaMētele, and Gaora Sports.
Since the service is based in Romania, it also offers a complete no-log policy to protect your online activities. Moreover, aside from unblocking and servers, CyberGhost comes equipped with 256-bit encryption and Ad Blocking allowing users to access any web content anywhere without any restrictions. Like all the other VPN providers in this list, Cyberghost also offers Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Android TV, Linux, Roku, and Firestick device.
- 6,300+ servers in 90 countries
- One of the Largest VPN server network
- 45-day money-back guarantee
- Ad/malicious content blocking
- Limited payment options
- Slow speeds
6. PIA VPN – Best for Torrenting in Japan
In the last position, we have PIA. For anyone looking to download torrents securely in Japan, PIA is the perfect VPN to get. This VPN not only offers 256-bit encryption, an automatic Kill Switch, and Split Tunneling, but it also offers 29,000+ servers worldwide.
This huge network of servers is fully capable of unlocking any content or website that you wish to access from anywhere around the world. People in Japan will be able to make the most out of its network when they will access Netflix, Hulu, DAZN, ESPN+, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, Sony Liv, Hotstar, Vudu, Spotify, Yupp TV, BT-Sports, and many others.
Speaking of servers, PIA offers around 189 servers in Japan, which will be sufficient to satisfy your local stream station itch. You can access local stations such as Eisei Gekijo, Channel Neco, BS12 TwellV, 4K QVC, and Cinefil WOWOW. With 10 simultaneous connections, you can protect your macOS, Windows, Android, iOS, Firestick, Android TV, Linux, Play Station, Xbox, and Roku simultaneously.
PIA does not keep any activity logs of its users whatsoever. This is particularly great if you are into torrenting and don’t want to compromise on privacy. As for pricing, again, PIA is also quite affordable. For the price of $2.69/mo , PIA offers 10 multi logins and 30-days money-back guarantee. Please visit our PIA review to know more about this service.
- 29,000+ servers in 77 countries
- Largest VPN server network
- 10 simultaneous logins.
- Headquartered in the U.S
- Insufficient Client Support
How to install and use a VPN in Japan? Step By Step
Just follow the simple steps below to install and use a VPN in Japan:
- Subscribed a VPN service. We recommend ExpressVPN.
- Download and install the ExpressVPN application on your device.
- Log in to the application using ExpressVPN account details.
- Select a VPN server from the server list.
- That’s it. Your public IP address will be change now to reflect the IP address from your selected server.
Noted: The selection of the server within the ExpressVPN application will depend solely on your purpose. If you wish to access Netflix US, you will select a US-based server in ExpressVPN, and if you wish to access the BBC iPlayer, you will select a UK-based server.
Best Free VPN for Japan
If we’re honest, there isn’t any best free VPN for Japan. Most free services have doubtful logging policies, a deficient number of server locations, outdated encryption technology, consistent speed, and stability issues.
Many of them will sell your online data to third-party authorities to earn revenue. We hope that you will remember these points next time you ask yourself questions like:
- “What is the best free VPN in Japan?“
- “Which free VPN is the best for Android or iOS?“
- “What is the best free VPN for Netflix or BBC iPlayer?“
While we do not recommend a free VPN for Japan, there are still some free VPNs listed below that are better than the most out there, and you can trust them to some extent:
1. ProtonVPN– ProtonVPN headquarter is based in Switzerland. It offers 5 simultaneous connections with AES-256 Bit encryption for your data. It has 600+ servers in 40 countries and offers a 30-day money-back guarantee as well.
2. TunnelBear– TunnelBear offers military-grade encryption, but its free version only provides a bandwidth of 500Mb. Just like ProtonVPN, it also supports 5 simultaneous connections. It accepts cryptocurrency as payment and gives the option to subscribe to a Dedicated IP address as well.
3. Trust Zone– Trust Zone has a network of 164 servers in 80+ countries. It also encrypts the user data using military-grade encryption and accepts cryptocurrency as payment.
Is Free VPN a good choice in Japan?
No, free VPNs are not a good choice in Japan. We will be discussing few reasons below to explain why a free VPN in Japan will do you more harm than good.
- Bandwidth – Most of the free VPN providers offer a limited bandwidth for their accounts. At the end of this limit, you will either have to wait for the next month so that your bandwidth can be refilled or, in some cases, re-subscribe to the provider again with a new email address. This bandwidth issue will be a serious blow to you if you plan to stream different international content in Japan, as most of the streaming content giants require unlimited bandwidth to work.
- Speed – The free VPN providers do not have any mainstream channel to generate revenue for their business. Since there is no constant flow of revenue, there is no quality control in server maintenance and management. As a result of this, you will experience a huge speed loss on their network. One of the other reasons for such speed loss is due to the server being overloaded or overcrowded by the users.
- Server Locations – If you are lucky, you will get a maximum of 5 server locations to use. With such a limited amount of servers, you can not determine if the provider is perfect for your online purpose. Usually, these free server locations do not consist of servers from major countries like the US, UK, Germany, Canada, France, etc.
- Security & Privacy – With no network management, maintenance, and ability to keep up with the state-of-the-art encryption technology, these free VPN providers act as a tunnel sharing your private data and online activities to different third party organizations. Hence, it is really not a good idea to hand over your confidential information willingly through these gateways.
When something is being offered for free, it is a human instinct to prefer it over something which requires payment. However, when it comes to your online security, privacy, and guaranteed global access, then the small difference as compared to a paid subscription makes paying for the service sensible.
Benefits of Using a VPN
Japan has very little censorship when it comes to the internet world. However, it doesn’t feel shy to take a strong stand against copyright piracy. In fact, anyone in Japan who violates copyright piracy would receive a prison sentence.
Even though there are minimal cases referred for copyright piracy, but copyright law exists there. Anyone who doesn’t like being under constant internet surveillance can also subscribe to a reliable VPN service for Japan.
The following are the benefits of using a VPN.
- Watch free content, i.e., movies and television shows.
- Get access to blocked websites.
- Get any media streaming.
- Access any form of content privately
1. Play Japanese Games
Japanese gamers are severe when it comes to playing games on their smartphones. Many would play to kill time while traveling, but there are still a handful of gamers who would spend time and money playing their favorite games.
Indeed, they never realize that their favorite games are blocked outside of Japan, and they can only be unblocked using a VPN. For example, if you’re traveling abroad and want to access Japanese games, it just won’t play.
Don’t worry; I have a fix for you!
Jikkyou Pawafuru Puro Yakkyu is a Pro-Baseball game that is a part of series for Pro Sports games. It has extremely detailed graphics, which is why it is gaining huge popularity in Japan, and of course, it is fun to play. However, it is only available in Japan. You will not find this game in any App Store on your smartphones.
2. Get Cute LINE Map/Stickers
LINE is a messaging service available on your Smartphone devices that happens to close the distance between people living in different parts of the world.
You can make free voice and video calls as often as you want. In fact, there is one feature that outshines all of its features combined, and these are its LINE Stickers.
It has a sticker shop of your favorite characters and celebrities that helps you share exactly how you feel. You can purchase over 10,000 stickers and emoticons from its shop.
Here’s a twist, each country has its own shop where you find stickers developed specifically for that country’s taste and culture. If you ever want to purchase another country’s LINE stickers, get a VPN and be over with it.
3. Accessing Blocked Websites
Japanese authorities‘ struggle against piracy is an open secret. For years, the government has been attempting to crack down on illegal Anime and Manga distribution.
The government has now succeeded in shutting down some of the most visited sites in the country. Such websites include Mangamura, Miomio, and Anitube.
There are a reasonable number of blocked internet resources inside Japan. These websites allow illegal downloads of Anime and Manga content and are listed below:
- Sling TV
- USA Network
Some of the blocked apps are listed below:
- BBC iPlayer
- NFL Game Pass
Torrenting in Japan
Be careful if you’re trying to access free copyright material in Japan using torrents. Japan carries a penalty of 10 million yens in fines and up to 2 years in prison. Around the world, Torrenting is perfectly legal.
There is no way a government can claim a torrenting website illegal until it abuses the copyrighted material. In Japan, certain torrent websites where manga and anime content are distributed for free are considered illegal and banned.
How to Download Torrents in Japan?
To download torrents in Japan, just follow the simple steps mentioned below.
Privacy Laws In Japan
Currently, there isn’t any form of privacy law that imposes internet censorship present in Japan. There aren’t any restrictions for accessing any social media website or accessing any sort of international or national digital content. This is largely due to Japan’s constitution, which protects all forms of speech and prohibits censorship.
Just like South Korea’s 1948 National Security Act which prohibits any content which is a threat to national security, in 2013, a law, “Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets,” was passed in Japan by lawmakers. To simply put, the act of leaking or publishing national secrets regardless of the intent will be considered a crime. While we have covered the best VPNs for Japan, for our friends in South Korea you can use these VPNs which work best in South Korea for protecting online activity and privacy.
This law was passed after a recommendation was forwarded by the Ministry of Communication that stated to “subject Cyberspace with the same sort of regulation that binds physical newspapers and broadcast television channels.”
Prime Minister Abe’s crackdown on media freedoms worked as applying salt to the injury. In 2016, Foreign Policy reported on the Japanese government’s forceful takedown of popular voices. Few more and different incidents forced the UN to carry out its investigation in the country. During this investigation, the UN delegates met with different journalists, educators, and government officials. At the end of the investigation, they confirmed that the “independence of the press in Japan is facing serious threats“.
It is necessary to mention here that there hasn’t been any official arrest of media personnel till now under this new legislation. There is, however, a maximum penalty of ten-year imprisonment for those found guilty of revealing state secrets.
Online Censorship in Japan
Usually, authorities do not directly impose censorship on online content in Japan. However, in April 2018, many manga piracy sites were suddenly blocked by different ISPs on the orders of the government of Japan. This act prompted a public debate and highlighted tensions between the protection of intellectual property on one hand and users’ rights to private communications and the constitutional ban on censorship on the other.
Privacy Risks And Internet Security in Japan
Like most countries in Japan, your online privacy and security are deeply at risk by hackers, government agencies, and third party commercial organizations.
Public Wi-Fi networks are a hotspot for anyone trying to track your online activity and steal your unencrypted data. Just because you are using the internet at your home doesn’t mean you are safe either. Your Internet Service Provider is well aware of the websites you are visiting even though it can not see your activity on them.
Additionally, Japan’s laws against copyright infringement are very strict, to say the least. Illegal downloading of movies or games is not just a civil matter; it’s also a criminal offense punishable by up to two years in prison.
Safeguard your Privacy With a VPN in Japan
With the current state of high risk to your privacy and online censorship, where the government can impose a ban on any website as a part of their cyberspace regulation. You will need a VPN network that is not only able to grant you access to every website on the internet but also do that while hiding your real identity and securing your data traffic.
Only ExpressVPN is fully capable of achieving this feat with its 3000+ military-grade encrypted servers that offer fast access to any online restrictions set up by the government.
Now we’ll check out some frequently asked questions regarding VPNs and Japan.
Is VPN legal in Japan?
Yes, a VPN is perfectly legal in Japan, and you can use it without any trouble unless you’re using it for illegal purposes. With any of the best VPNs for Japan, you can access US Netflix, Hulu, and all of the blocked websites in Japan or even outside the country.
Is torrenting legal in Japan?
Torrenting itself is completely legal in Japan, but the government strictly prohibits downloading free copyright material. I would certainly advise against downloading Movies and TV Shows in Japan without a VPN.
Harsh punishment such as jail sentences and hefty amounts of fines are handed out to anyone abusing copyright laws in Japan. It has already sentenced 27 people to jail who uploaded manga, video games, and anime on torrenting websites.
How can I change my location in Japan?
To change your location from Japan, just switch to any country server from a VPN app. Whichever server you will be connecting to, your IP location will change accordingly. Usually, this decision is mainly based on the location of the desired content. For example, if you wish to access something from Malaysia then you will need to connect to a Malaysian server and preferably from one of the best VPNs for Malaysia.
How do I get a Japanese IP address?
To get a Japanese IP address, you will need to subscribe to a VPN server in Japan. All you need to do is connect to their Japanese server and acquire a Japanese IP address.
With this Japanese IP address, you can not access content exclusive to Japanese territories, such as Netflix Japan, Abema TV, NHK, SkyPerfecTV!, and WOWOW.
The Wrap Up
Japan may be a country of the rising sun, but there are many online vulnerabilities its people have to face daily. Keeping your online privacy anonymous has become a challenge for people living in Japan.
ExpressVPN fills in the role of best VPN for Japan perfectly with its global network of more than 3000+ high-speed servers, military-grade encryption (AES 256), and compatibility with all of your devices.
If you hurry up, you can avail of ExpressVPN limited time offer of a “12 Months + 3 Month Free” subscription that comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
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