Japan may seem free and a dream destination to visit, but deep down, it is riddled with restrictions. Not only is Japan considering joining the Five Eyes alliance, but it is also heavily restricting its cyberspace by blocking streaming services.
While Japan is known to be a free country, sources have revealed that Japan has its own internet surveillance system and a spy center somewhere hidden in the country. So, if you’re thinking of paying a visit to Japan, you must opt for the best VPN for Japan that can help you unblock websites as well as keep your online activities completely hidden from the authorities’ monitoring.
Keeping this in mind, we tested 150+ VPNs to figure out the most reliable VPNs for Japan. Out of these 6 VPNs were chosen by us to use in Japan.
6 Best VPNs For Japan (July 2021 In-Depth Analysis)
We tested 150+ VPNs on the basis of their speeds, servers within and outside Japan, unblocking capabilities, encryption, unblocking capabilities, and refund policies. Out of these, we rounded off 6 VPNs that lived up to our criteria:
1. The Best VPN for Japan – ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN is the best VPN for Japan because of its excellent unblocking capabilities and powerful 256-bit encryption. ExpressVPN’s lighting fast servers make it perfect for streaming in HD quality. This VPN service offers servers in 2 cities of Tokyo and Yokohama in addition to its massive 3000+ servers network in 94 countries.
With the servers in Japan and its fast speeds, it is one of the best streaming VPNs out there. 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. If we talk about speeds, then this VPN Japan is capable of delivering a download speed of 77 Mbps on a 100 Mbps connection.
With ExpressVPN’s global servers, accessing foreign content in Japan is a breeze too. You can easily unblock popular international streaming services such as Netflix US, BBC iPlayer, CBS, YouTube TV US, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Showtime, and more by connecting to one of ExpressVPN’s optimized servers.
ExpressVPN is compatible with all the major platforms so that you can stream and protect your online activity on all of them. These platforms include macOS, Windows, Android, iOS, Firestick, Linux, Android TV, Roku, Play Station, and Xbox.
ExpressVPN also comes equipped with some pretty fancy features. It comes with an Internet Kill Switch feature, OpenVPN protocol, built-in speed test feature, MediaStreamer – a SmartDNS feature, DNS leak protection and so much more. Speaking of leak protection. I put their leak test feature to test and found no leaks whatsoever. Just check out the image below:
Coming over to its price, this VPN for Japan is not all that expensive. Considering the features it offers, it only costs $6.67/mo which is pretty justifiable. It also comes with a 30-days refund policy and supports 5 simultaneous connections. Overall, it is the best VPN for Japan.
For more information, please read our ExpressVPN review.
2. Budget-friendly VPN for Japan – Surfshark
Surfshark is a budget-friendly VPN for Japan. When it comes to choosing the most affordable VPN that comes with top-notch features, Surfshark definitely tops the list. Costing only $2.49/mo , no wonder why it is loved by so many users in Japan.
Despite being budget-friendly, it offers powerful unblocking performance. I’ve tested Surfshark extensively and can personally confirm that it can unblock pretty much 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 its local servers includes Toei Channel, Channel Neco, Jidaigeki Senmon Channel, Fuji TV One, Mondo TV, and more.
Backed by 3200+ servers in 65 countries, It is the perfect VPN for anyone in Japan looking to access international content securely. I tested it extensively and found it perfect for unblocking popular international content such as Netflix, Hulu, Channel4, ITV, NBC, HBO US, Disney+, and much more in Japan.
Just like ExpressVPN, Surfshark offers a no-logs policy that is independently audited by Cure53. Its security features are noteworthy too. After all, it comes with AES 256- bit encryption, Intenet Kill switch, CleanWeb, Multi-hop and much more. To put its leak protection feature to the test, I ran a simple test and it passed without any issues. Check out the screenshot below:
Surfshark offers highly impressive speeds. Based on my testing, it can deliver 72 Mbps on a 100 Mbps connection which is super impressive.
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, it is the most affordable VPN you’ll come across in the industry. Overall, if you want a budget VPN to use in Japan, Surfshark is the one to get. Best of all, it comes with a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
Have a look at this Surfshark review for more information.
3. Secure VPN for Japan – NordVPN
NordVPN is the most secure VPN for Japan. It comes with some amazing security features like a kill switch, leak protection, no logs, and CyberSec to help you stay safe in Japan.
Aside from powerful protection, it offers excellent unblocking performance too. It is one of the most renowned VPN services, with a massive server network of 5200+ servers located in 59 countries. With so many servers, accessing Netflix, YouTube TV, BBC iPlayer, ESPN+, Disney+, Hulu, Hotstar, and other international streaming services, would be very easy to unblock in Japan.
It also offers local servers in Japan too. With 89 servers available in Japan – Tokyo, you can access local TV stations such as Mnet Japan, BS Animax, BS Tsuri Vision, BS Sky PerfecTV!, and BS Asahi 4K. With NordVPN’s fast speeds, I managed to watch a ton of local content without any buffering at all. Speaking of speeds, NordVPN managed to consistently deliver a fast download speed of 75 Mbps on a 100 Mbps connection.
Like any other best VPN for Japan, it also supports all popular operating systems such as Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Firestick, Android TVs, and more.
Similar to ExpressVPN and Surfshark, I ran multiple leak tests using NordVPN just to make sure that it is safe to use in Japan. Even after multiple tests, I found no leaks whatsoever. Check out the screenshot of the leak test below:
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 $3.30/mo and can be used on 6 devices simultaneously. It also comes with a generous 30-day money-back guarantee. If you’re hesitant about purchasing this VPN, you can always go for the free NordVPN trial for iOS and Android.
To learn more about this VPN, check out our detailed NordVPN review.
4. The Fastest VPN for Japan – IPVanish
IPVanish is the fastest VPN for Japan. It is seriously fast. Out of all the VPNs I tested in Japan, IPVanish is the fastest. As per my speed test, IPVanish managed to output an amazing download speed of 80.71 Mbps on a 100 Mbps connection. That’s more than enough for streaming, downloading, or browsing websites without any interruptions.
IPVanish’s server network is impressive too. With 1600+ in 75+ locations, It is a perfect choice for anyone looking to access blocked websites from within and outside Japan. As per my testing, I managed to effortlessly unblock Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Hotstar, Zee5, Sony Liv, ESPN+, Voot, NBC Live, Foxtel, Fox-Sports, and more.
With its 20 servers located in Tokyo, Japan, there is no local Japanese TV station that you can not unblock. Using its local servers, I could access stations such as Nittere G+, Takarazuka Sky Stage, Sukachan 2 4K, QVC, and Green Channel.
If we talk about IPVanish’s security features, you’ll be glad to know that it offers a no-log policy, Ransomware protection, 256-bit encryption, leak protection, and more. By the way, I ran a quick DNS and IP leak test with IPVanish and it passed it like a champ. Here’s the test result:
Aside from being feature-rich, this VPN Japan is compatible with all major platforms like macOS, Windows, Android, iOS, Android TV, Firestick, Roku, and routers. It offers unlimited simultaneous connections making it one of the best bargain VPNs to use in Japan. Best of all, IPVanish is pretty affordable and only costs $2.67/mo and comes with a legit 30-day refund policy.
Read our IPVanish review in detail to know more about this service.
5. User-Friendly VPN for Japan – CyberGhost
Moving further down the list, CyberGhost is the most user-friendly VPN in Japan. It is perfect for beginner and advanced VPN users. Its apps come with different modes which are perfect for general browsing, torrenting and even streaming. With its apps, you can bypass any form of geo-block and surveillance in Japan.
CyberGhost offers 7000+ servers in 90 countries that are capable of unblocking streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Spotify, EuroSports, Vudu, ABC Go, and others in Japan. Aside from offering a massive server network, it is fast too. You can easily expect to get a fast download speed of around 69 Mbps on a 100 Mbps connection.
It also offers 53 servers in Japan – Tokyo to help you access streaming content that is purely restricted to the audience in Japan. During testing, I was able to access Star Channel 4K, Nippon Eiga + Jidaigeki 4K, Sports Live+, EntaMētele, and Gaora Sports with ease.
CyberGhost is super secure too. Since the service is based in Romania, it also offers a complete no-log policy to protect your online activities. Moreover, CyberGhost comes equipped with 256-bit encryption, OpenVPN protocol, leak protection and much more. In my DNS and IP leak test, CyberGhost passed without any effort. Check out the screenshot below:
Like all the other VPN providers in this list, Cyberghost also offers apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Android TV, Linux, Roku, and Firestick device. It is even compatible with routers and other devices that don’t natively support VPNs.
The price of the CyberGhost is also affordable. Its cheapest plan costs $1.99/mo and you can secure 7 devices with a single subscription.
For more information about this VPN, check out our CyberGhost review.
6. Best VPN for Torrenting in Japan – PIA
In the last position, we have PIA. Private Internet Access is the best torrenting VPN in Japan if you are into P2P file sharing. This VPN not only offers 256-bit encryption, an automatic kill switch, and Split Tunneling, but it also offers 35500+ servers in 78 countries.
This huge network of servers is fully capable of unlocking any content or website that you wish to access from anywhere around the world. If you’re in Japan, you’ll be able to access Netflix, Hulu, DAZN, ESPN+, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, Sony Liv, Hotstar, Vudu, Spotify, Yupp TV, BT-Sports, and many others.
Thanks to so many servers, PIA is fast too. Most servers are capable of delivering an average download speed of 65 Mbps on a 100 Mbps connection.
Speaking of servers, PIA offers around 94 servers in Japan, which will be sufficient to stream all local Japanese channels. During testing, I was able to access local stations such as Eisei Gekijo, Channel Neco, BS12 TwellV, 4K QVC without any issues.
PIA is secure too. It offers powerful leak protection that can secure your online data from leaking in Japan. Speaking of which, it performed exceptionally well in my DNS leak test. Check out the screenshot below:
As far as compatibility is concerned, this VPN Japan supports macOS, Windows, Android, iOS, Firestick, Android TV, Linux, Play Station, Xbox, Roku, and more.
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 $2.08/mo , PIA offers 10 multi logins and 30-days money-back guarantee.
Please check out our PIA review to know more about this service.
Test Methodology: How we tested the best VPN for Japan
To find out the best VPNs for Japan, we set up a benchmark consisting of multiple factors. After a ton of testing on our set benchmark, only 6 VPNs passed it. These are the 6 factors on which we’ve rated these best VPNs for Japan in 2021:
1. Speeds: Connection speeds are one of the main concerns of every VPN user. While there is a myth revolving around that a VPN slows down your internet speeds, you need to know that premium VPNs do the complete opposite. They eliminate ISP throttling and provide a speedy connection to users. All the VPNs in our list are known to offer fast speeds.
2. Powerful encryption: You’d want your online activities encrypted and completely protected while you’re accessing geo-restricted sites with a VPN. All the VPNs above offer industry-standard AES 256-bit encryption to users to keep them secure over the internet.
3. Bypassing geo-restrictions: VPNs serve the purpose of bypassing geo-restrictions so users are able to access multiple geo-restricted streaming services. All the best VPNs for Japan listed above easily unblock geo-restricted streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer, etc.
4. Servers: We wanted the VPNs we list down to offer thousands of servers worldwide so users in Japan can enjoy services from all over the world. All the VPNs in our list live up to the purpose and offer 1000+ servers across the globe.
5. No-logs policy: Many VPNs collect user logs which makes them quite risky and unreliable to use. Therefore, all the VPNs we selected offer a strict no-logging policy, ensuring that they won’t collect any user’s IP or data.
6. Money-back guarantee: Refund policies are another significant feature to judge VPNs on. The VPNs we listed above offer risk-free no-questions-asked money-back guarantees of minimum 30 days.
3 Reasons: why do you need a VPN in Japan?
Even though the Japanese internet is completely free, users need a VPN for multiple purposes. Here are the reasons why you need a VPN in Japan:
1. Unblocking geo-restricted sites:
The primary reason why the Japanese need a VPN is to access multiple geo-restricted websites and streaming services. In June 2020, Japan passed a law to ban all websites offering pirated movies, videos, and music in the country. This law further banned the illegal downloading of manga.
Furthermore, there are multiple streaming services that are only accessible to residents of that country. For example, CraveTV is only available in Canada, BBC iPlayer is only available in the UK, and more.
To access all these blocked websites and streaming services in Japan, a VPN is a great option to be used in the country.
2. Safe torrenting:
The second reason why a VPN is a valuable option in Japan is for safe torrenting. While torrenting is legal in the country, you might face heavy fines or jail sentences if you end up downloading or uploading any copyrighted material.
A foreign resident living in Japan was arrested for uploading a pirated anime episode on BitTorrent. Therefore, instead of risking your torrenting activities and leaving them in the hands of the Japanese police, it’s better to stay encrypted using a VPN. However, we do not endorse piracy at all.
3. Preventing yourself from the eyes of the Five Eyes alliance:
Another reason is to keep yourself and all your internet activities completely private and away from the prying eyes of the Five Eyes alliance.
While Japan is not a member of this alliance yet, sources say that Japan has been considering itself to join this alliance which will eventually intensely monitor the internet activities of the Japanese residents.
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. Just like Japan, you can use these VPNs in South Korea for protecting your 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.
FAQs – Best VPN for Japan
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 Japanese VPNs, 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. We would certainly advise against downloading movies and TV Shows in Japan without a VPN.
Harsh punishments 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. 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.
Which free VPNs work in Japan?
There are some reliable free VPNs for Japan like ProtonVPN and Windscribe that can be used in Japan. However, since these VPNs offer limited servers and bandwidth, we advise you to use a premium VPN like ExpressVPN for this. To use it completely free, you can get this VPN’s 30-day money-back guarantee and enjoy ExpressVPN for free for a month.
Should I use a free VPN for Japan?
Free VPNs are not an advisable option for Japan. These VPNs offer only a few servers and limited bandwidth that won’t let you enjoy streaming or torrenting in the country. Similarly, free VPNs are also known to leak your data and logs to third-party advertisers. Therefore, instead of a free VPN, a paid one like ExpressVPN is a more recommended option.
Best VPN for Japan – Wrapping 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.
This VPN works great for unblocking multiple websites, streaming services, and enjoying manga on 5 devices at the same time. Let’s not forget that torrenting files while being anonymous online is also one fantastic option in Japan using ExpressVPN.
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.