The 5 Best VPNs for Japan in 2024 (Stay Safe All the Time)

Abeerah Hashim  - Security Expert
Last updated: March 11, 2024
Share

Japan’s internet is one of the freest in the region. But using a VPN will help you browse anonymously and access the geo-blocked content of any country.

THE TAKEAWAYS

Japan lists at the top among the technologically advanced countries. It provides its citizens with internet freedom by employing minimal government surveillance and censorship laws. Social media sites, apps, blogs, and other such content is also in easy access for the users. However, there are strict laws against downloading copyrighted content. That is something alarming if you frequently torrent. Hence, you must use a reliable VPN for secure and anonymous torrenting. This way, no one can monitor your online activities, and you can easily browse the internet with masked IP and robust security. The best Japan VPNs offer reliable and fast servers in Japan that can evade geo-restrictions, thus letting you access the local content otherwise unavailable abroad. You can take a look at the top and tested VPNs for Japan in this guide.

Japan is one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world. In fact, it has a high internet penetration rate. Fortunately, government censorship and surveillance are minimal compared to neighbors like China, Russia, and North Korea.

However, there are stringent laws that prohibit downloading copyrighted content. Also, the Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets does not clearly define national secrets. This is why you should consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). It will conceal your IP address and encrypt your connections so no one can track your online activities.

Apart from preserving your anonymity and security, a VPN is helpful in many different ways. For instance, it will help you bypass geo-restrictions of popular streaming sites and services. Also, you can connect to servers in other countries to save money on shopping and flight tickets.

This guide will show you how to choose the best Japan VPNs, get a Japanese IP address abroad, and much more.

The best Japan VPNs – The quick list

We will look more at each service, but here is a summary of the best VPNs for Japan if you are short on time:

  1. NordVPN – The best VPN to bypass Japan content geo-restrictions. It has more than 5,149 servers worldwide, including 80+ in Japan. Also, it offers AES 256-bit encryption, split tunneling, a kill switch, and a CyberSec adblocker. 
  2. ExpressVPN – Fastest VPN for Japan. It operates over 3,000 servers globally, with 3 in Japan. Some of the features you will get include MediaStreamer, a no-logs policy, AES 256-bit encryption, split tunneling, and a kill switch.
  3. Surfshark – Affordable VPN for Japan. It comes with one server in Japan, AES 256-bit encryption, CleanWeb ad blocker, camouflage mode, unlimited simultaneous connections, and more features.
  4. PrivateVPN – Safe VPN for Japan. The VPN offers essential VPN features such as 128/256-bit encryption, a no-log policy, DNS leak protection, and unblocks streaming sites.
  5. IPVanish – User-friendly VPN for Japan. It has helpful features such as unlimited simultaneous connections, AES 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, DNS leak protection, and fast-speed servers.

Things to consider when choosing the best Japan VPNs

A reliable VPN should be able to keep you safe and anonymous and help you bypass geo-restrictions effortlessly. Here are some factors to consider before settling on a particular VPN service.

Server network

Select a VPN with an extensive network with servers placed in strategic locations like the US, France, and Japan. In addition, it should also offer a wide variety of shared and recycled IP addresses to keep you completely private.

Besides Japan, having servers in other countries will enable you to access more content on sites such as BBC iPlayer and Netflix. Also, connecting to a local server allows you to stream domestic blocked content at high speed. Usually, a nearby server produces better speed than an international one.


Privacy policy

One of the primary reasons for using a VPN is to maintain your online privacy. Therefore, look for a privacy-focused VPN that boasts a transparent privacy policy. This means that the provider shouldn’t retain any of your identifiable information. Also, it should be placed in privacy-friendly countries like Panama, Switzerland, or the British Virgin Islands.


Robust security

A reliable VPN should safeguard your data and traffic from snoopers like your ISP, government, and hackers. So, look out for security features like AES encryption, kill switch, DNS leak protection, perfect forward secrecy, and advanced tunneling protocols. This will keep you safe when browsing, streaming, torrenting, and using public WiFi.


Fast speed

Usually, all VPNs will reduce your base speed by encrypting and rerouting your traffic through servers. However, premium options like NordVPN and Surfshark use the latest technology and high-quality servers to mitigate the effects. As a result, you will get sufficient speed to stream in Ultra HD, especially if you use a closer server.


Ease of use

The mechanism of a VPN is complicated, so a good VPN should have an intuitive interface. This will make it easy to navigate through and establish a connection. Furthermore, the provider should offer guides, tutorials, and reliable customer support.


Device compatibility

A good VPN should keep you safe regardless of your device. So, choose a service that works on all popular streaming operating systems like Windows, iOS, macOS, and Android. In addition, it should support several simultaneous connections.


The best VPNs for Japan today – The detailed list

Now, we arrive at the most critical question. Which is the best VPN for Japan? Identifying a reliable VPN service is difficult as thousands of options are available. That’s why we researched extensively and ran rigorous tests to present you with these top Japan VPNs. Below, you go with the five best VPN options to use in Japan.

1. NordVPN

NordVPN for Streaming

Our top pick VPN for unblocking restricted Japanese content anywhere globally. Its huge server network also lets you enjoy foreign content with thorough privacy within Japanese boundaries.

servers 5,000+ servers in 60+ countries
P2P optimized servers P2P optimized servers
encryption Double encryption
simultaneous connections 6 simultaneous devices
protection Web protection
MultiHop mode Has double VPN feature
money-back guarantee 30 days money-back guarantee
Pros
  • Runs multiple servers in Japan
  • Solid security and privacy features
  • Bypasses restrictions of major streaming sites
Cons
  • The desktop app needs improvement

NordVPN is our number one VPN option for Japan. It offers strong encryption, blazing-fast speeds, and impressive unblocking capabilities.

The provider has one of the most expansive networks in the industry, with more than 5,149 servers in 60 countries. Thankfully, it operates over 84 servers in Japan. This will help you unblock not only domestic websites but also content in other countries.

Does NordVPN bypass Netflix Japan’s restrictions? It offers a SmartPlay feature to help you evade stubborn geographic and VPN blocks while maintaining your security and privacy. As a result, you can unblock popular streaming services such as Netflix US, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, etc.

It protects your traffic and data with several security features. They include AES 256-bit encryption, secure protocols, perfect forward secrecy, automatic kill switch, DNS leak protection, and split tunneling. In addition, there is a double encryption feature will redirect your traffic through multiple servers for improved security.

NordVPN has some specialized servers for P2P sharing. Fortunately, it offers unlimited bandwidth and data, so you can download torrent files without restrictions. Also, the provider has a no-logs policy and is headquartered in Panama, a privacy-friendly country. This means that your torrenting activities will remain completely anonymous.

NordVPN offers native apps for almost all platforms, including iOS, Android, macOS, and Windows. Fortunately, all the apps are user-friendly, and even a Quick Connect feature will automatically connect you to the fastest server. You can connect up to 6 simultaneous devices on a single license.


2. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN new features block logo 120 by 120 now

Excellent VPN for Japan with blazing-fast speed. It comes with 3 server locations in Japan, all providing fast and reliable IP addresses, to ensure an uninterrupted browsing experience.

servers 3,000+ servers in 160+ locations
encryption AES 256-bit encryption
protection Leak protection
P2P optimized servers P2P optimized servers
Zero-logs policy No-logs policy
Trusted servers nord Trusted Server feature
network lock feature Boast Network-lock
simultaneous connections Allows 5 simultaneous devices
money-back guarantee 30 days money back guarantee
Pros
  • Simple installation process
  • Servers in Japan
  • Unblocks streaming websites
Cons
  • Higher in rate than other VPNs

ExpressVPN is the best VPN to unblock streaming platforms in Japan. This is because it has three servers in Tokyo and one in Yokohama.

The servers are high-speed and powerful enough to bypass all restrictions on the way. For example, we could unblock streaming platforms such as Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, Hulu, Disney+, and more. In fact, you will get high-quality streams without lags, buffering, or pixelated images.

ExpressVPN secures your traffic and information with AES 256-bit encryption. It combines this with other essential security features like Network Lock (kill switch), perfect forward secrecy, DNS leak protection, and split tunneling.

Moreover, it works well with the Tor network and even offers Tor over VPN servers. This provides an extra privacy level to anonymize your online activities completely. In addition, ExpressVPN does not keep user logs and is based in the British Virgin Islands, a privacy-friendly country.


3. Surfshark

SurfsharkVPN

An affordable VPN for Japan. Plus, its support for limitless simultaneous connections makes it a perfect VPN to watch your favorite Japanese movie or show with your family anywhere abroad.

servers 3,200+ servers in 65 countries
encryption AES 256-bit encryption
P2P optimized servers Full P2P support
Camouflage mode Camouflage feature
Kill switch Kill switch
MultiHop mode MultiHop mode
simultaneous connections Unlimited simultaneous connections
money-back guarantee 30 days money-back guarantee
Pros
  • Powerful online protection
  • Does not limit the number of connections
  • Support anonymous payments
Cons
  • Some servers are fairly slow

Surfshark is a reliable VPN to browse with a Japanese IP address. This is because it has several servers in Japan as part of its worldwide coverage of over 3,200 servers in 65 countries.

It uses AES 256-bit encryption, preventing your ISP, government, and other third parties from monitoring your online activities. There is also DNS/IP leak protection, a kill switch, MultiHop mode (double VPN), and perfect forward secrecy.

The provider guarantees complete anonymity as it does not collect your browsing history, IP address, or identifiable data. In addition, it is based in the British Virgin Islands. This is an ideal location for a VPN service as it isn’t part of any intelligence community like the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance. Also, the company has a warrant canary that shows if it has received gag orders or subpoenas for your data.

Surfshark successfully unblocks major streaming sites such as Disney+, Netflix, Hotstar, ESPN, etc. In addition, it provides unlimited bandwidth, and most servers produce sufficient speed to stream in high-definition without any issues.

The VPN has dedicated apps for almost all operating systems, including Android, Windows, iOS, and macOS. These apps are simple, and navigating through them is pretty straightforward. Fortunately, Surfshark supports unlimited simultaneous connections, which allows you to connect as many devices as you want.


4. PrivateVPN

PrivateVPN small

One of the safest VPNs to use in Japan. It boasts military-grade encryption, top-notch privacy, and multiple server locations to access your favorite websites in Japan without hassle.

servers 200+ server locations across 63 countries
encryption AES-256-bit encryption
P2P optimized servers P2P sharing
Kill switch Automatic kill switch
Zero-logs policy Does not keep logs
simultaneous connections 6 devices simultaneously
money-back guarantee 30 days money-back guarantee
Pros
  • Unblocks a wide range of streaming services
  • Robust security and privacy features
  • Server in Japan
Cons
  • Fairly small server network

PrivateVPN is a great VPN option for Japan. It has a network of around 200+ server locations across 63 countries, which is relatively small compared to rivals like ExpressVPN and NordVPN. However, at least it operates a server in Japan to help you get a Japanese IP address.

Does PrivateVPN unblock Netflix? Yes, the VPN bypasses Netflix’s restrictions in Japan to enable you to continue streaming your favorite TV show or movie. Besides, it unblocks other streaming services such as Peacock TV, DAZN, Fox Sports Go, and more.

A VPN is mainly used to improve online security. Thankfully, PrivateVPN allows you to customize your encryption with either AES 128 or 256-bit options. These are powerful military-grade encryption protocols that are impossible to crack. So they will ensure your data is highly secure. 

The problem with most VPNs is that they claim not to retain any data, which is false. However, PrivateVPN is strongly committed to maintaining your anonymity with the no-logs policy. I tested some servers, and none exposed my DNS requests or IP address. Also, you can activate the kill switch to protect your privacy even when the VPN connection drops unexpectedly.


5. IPVanish

IPVanish

Another affordable and user-friendly VPN for Japan. It also has helpful features to unblock geo-restricted contents on any device you own.

servers 2,000 servers in 75 locations
P2P optimized servers P2P connections
encryption AES-256-bit encryption
Zero-logs policy No-logs policy
Kill switch Kill switch
simultaneous connections Unlimited simultaneous devices
money-back guarantee 30-day money-back guarantee
Pros
  • Runs over 20 servers in Japan
  • High-quality streams
  • Allows unlimited device connection
Cons
  • Slow customer support

IPVanish is one of the best Japanese VPN services. This is because it has more than 20 servers across Japan to enable you to access locally blocked websites. Besides, it also has over 2,000 servers in other countries if you want to get global geo-blocked content. For example, I successfully unblocked Hotstar India and CTV outside Canada.

The VPN makes online protection highly affordable, allowing you to connect unlimited devices. When testing it, my team and I used more than ten devices to see how it performed. Surprisingly, it handled the load well, and there wasn’t any significant slowdown. So, it is an excellent choice for households with many devices or small businesses.

My connections were super-fast on most of the servers I tested. A quick-connect feature will automatically connect you to the fastest server if you cannot find it manually. This will enable you to stream in HD and download torrents without issues.

IPVanish is seriously committed to protecting your online connections. It uses AES 256-bit encryption with a 2048-bit RSA key and SHA-512 authentication, making your data indecipherable. In addition, the network has excellent protection against DNS and IP leaks. Also, you can enable the kill switch in the settings for additional security.


How to get a Japanese IP outside of it

Getting a Japanese IP address isn’t tricky if you have traveled abroad. Here is how to do it:

  1. Register with a reliable VPN service like NordVPN
  2. Download and install the appropriate app or software for your device
  3. Launch the VPN and connect to a server based in Japan
  4. Try to access geo-blocked content. If still unsuccessful, clear your cache and browsing history

Why is it necessary to use a VPN in Japan

VPN for Japan

A VPN for Japan is beneficial in many ways. Here are some reasons you need to use a VPN in Japan.

Staying anonymous online

There aren’t online restrictions in Japan like in some neighboring countries like China. However, authorities and ISPs can monitor your activities and the web pages you visit. A VPN is the best way to obscure your online use and remain completely private. No one will see what you are doing by masking your IP address and encrypting your connections.


Access Japanese content

A VPN will help you to continue watching your favorite Japanese TV show even when you travel overseas. All you need to do is connect to a server in Japan and access whatever you want without getting an error message.


Public WiFi security

WiFi hotspots have become widespread, and you will likely get a free connection in a restaurant, library, airport, etc. Although they provide a convenient way to access the internet, your security can be compromised easily. However, a VPN will protect you from malicious actors on these networks.


Subsidized traveling and shopping

Did you know it is possible to get cheaper flight tickets if you book from another location? Also, many online shopping sites display varied prices for different countries. A VPN is the best way to beat geographic bias to get the best rates and deals. Although it may be tiring and time-consuming, you might save considerable money.


Secure VoIP calls

If you use VoIP services like Skype or WhatsApp to make calls overseas, there might be some security concerns. This is because hackers easily target these calls. However, a VPN will add an encryption layer to protect your connections so you can talk to your friends and family without worrying.


Online censorship in Japan

Fortunately, internet access in Japan is relatively free. This means you can access anything from social media sites, apps, blogs, and content sites.

However, there are very strict laws that prohibit downloading unlicensed content. As a result, you could land in hot waters if you use torrenting sites regularly.

You can face a maximum of two years in prison if you are caught downloading copyrighted movies, music, manga, anime, and magazines. Of course, downloading licensed content is the best way to avoid this, but you can mistakenly get copyrighted material with torrents. 

That is why it is necessary to use a VPN when torrenting, notwithstanding what you download. It will mask your IP address and encrypt your traffic to prevent third parties from tracking your torrenting activities. First, however, choose a no-logs VPN, which means the provider will never store your browsing history to maintain your anonymity.

Using a VPN to access Japanese Netflix

Japan’s Netflix Library is one of the biggest, with anime, movies, and TV shows unavailable anywhere else. Unfortunately, however, you cannot access this brilliant content outside the country due to geo-restrictions. In fact, if you try, you will get an error message that the content is unavailable in your region.

Follow these simple instructions on how to access Netflix Japan:

  1. Choose a VPN with a reputation for bypassing Netflix Japan’s geo-restrictions. We recommend NordVPN
  2. Select a plan and subscribe
  3. Download and install the app on your device
  4. Launch the app once you set it up
  5. Connect to a server in Japan
  6. Open Netflix and log into your account. It will display the Japanese Netflix library

Is there a free VPN with a Japan location?

Many VPNs in Japan claim to offer completely free services, but are they worth it? The short answer is no for several reasons.

First, they must devise methods to make money since they are not charging anything. The most common way is by collecting and selling users’ data to the highest bidder. Others, like Hola VPN, sell unused bandwidth for a profit.

Second, they cannot unblock any Netflix library. Alongside other popular streaming services, it uses tough geo-blocks that many free VPNs struggle to bypass.

Finally, most free VPNs use weak encryption because of a lack of resources. As a result, hackers will access your data and traffic as if you are not using a VPN. Also, reports show that some free VPNs are embedded with malware.

The Future of the Japanese Internet

Freedom House ranks Japan’s internet as free with no restrictions on access to content and social media platforms. In addition, the government does not clamp down on bloggers or whistleblowers. This is reinforced by the Constitution, which prohibits censorship and protects freedom of speech.

However, some changes can be brought at the federal level due to national security concerns. For example, in 2013, Japanese lawmakers enacted the ‘Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets.’ Some of the statutes in the law forbid publishing and leaking national secrets. According to the Freedom House, this might have dire consequences for journalists, civil society watchdogs, and whistleblowers.

On the other hand, the United Nations Rights Committee concurs that the Act is ambiguous. Also, it does not precisely define the limitations of secrecy. Making matters worse, the law proposes high criminal penalties for those caught violating the parameters. This can lead to the self-censorship of human rights defenders and journalists.

The legislation was proposed by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications to regulate cyberspace in the country. The rules sought to subject influential news sites to the same regulations accorded to broadcast television channels and newspapers.

A report titled ‘Final Report on a Comprehensive Legal System for Communications and Broadcasting’ indicated that the government should take necessary measures as it is difficult for ISPs to control harmfulness.

Moreover, former Prime Minister Abe’s crackdown on media freedoms augments the atmosphere of fear in the country. For example, Foreign Policy reported that the government took down famous voices forcefully. In addition, the three opinionated television anchors were mysteriously dismissed from their jobs, which the government allegedly orchestrated. Also, Asahi Shimbun, the most prominent liberal newspaper, was suppressed.

These developments led the UN to conduct a fact-finding mission where they met educators, journalists, and government officials. The global body indicated that the country’s press independence is facing severe threats. According to UN’s special rapporteur, David Kaye, the trends are moving alarmingly in the wrong direction across various areas.

Foreign Policy indicates that Japan’s spy agency, the Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office, snooped on the UN mission by tracking the movements of the local lawyer involved. These developments are worrying in a country that boasts of being the biggest democracy in the region. Also, it paints a picture of what lies ahead.

It is important to note that no one has been arrested under the new legislation yet. However, the law proposes a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment for anyone found guilty.

Conclusion

Although internet censorship in Japan is almost non-existent, many online vulnerabilities like hacking exist. Also, you can get into trouble for downloading illegal or copyrighted material.

That is why it is essential to use a VPN to stay safe from all threats. A VPN will help you unblock geo-blocked content inside and outside Japan. Our top VPN for Japan is NordVPN because it has several servers in Japan and employs robust security features.

FAQs

No law in Japan restricts or bans the use of VPNs. However, you can get into hot waters if you use it to do illegal activities like downloading copyrighted content. Besides, here at PrivacySavvy, we don’t encourage you to use a VPN to commit illegality.

If you live in Japan, you already have an IP address. So, what is the need for a VPN? First, it will come in handy in unblocking geo-blocked content in whatever country you want. Second, although Japan’s internet is not censored, your ISP and government can still monitor your activities. However, with a VPN, you can browse securely and anonymously.

Yes, several premium VPNs provide dedicated IP addresses. This is where you use an IP address alone without sharing it with anyone. The advantage is that you are less likely to get blocked, and your speed will improve significantly, especially when there is a high traffic load on the server. But, unfortunately, it is effortless to track your activities.

Pocket WiFi or mobile WiFi is widespread in Japan because it provides convenient access to the internet. Also, it allows you to connect any device, including your laptop, smartphone, or tablet. Moreover, pocket WiFi offers generous data plans, competitive pricing, and robust coverage. 

No, an IP address alone cannot expose your identity but can reveal your general location. Thankfully, this does not disclose the exact place you are browsing from. However, it can show more about you when combined with other metadata, such as browsing history. Fortunately, when you connect to a VPN server, you will be assigned a new IP address, which gives you improved anonymity and security.

Share this article

About the Author

Abeerah Hashim

Abeerah Hashim

Security Expert
166 Posts

Abeerah is a passionate technology blogger and cybersecurity enthusiast. She yearns to know everything about the latest technology developments. Specifically, she’s crazy about the three C’s; computing, cybersecurity, and communication. When she is not writing, she’s reading about the tech world.

More from Abeerah Hashim

Comments

No comments.