Bypass Geoblocking

Best VPN for Japan: Simulate a Japanese IP

Author
Janis von Bleichert
Last update
10. Aug 2023
Ad disclaimer: For links on this page, EXPERTE.com may earn a commission from the provider. This supports our work and has no influence on our editorial rating.

Wherever you go in the world, you'll find different content catalogs for streaming services. For example, Netflix & Co.'s Japanese catalogs offer a variety of films, series, and anime that you won't find elsewhere. And then there are the different Hollywood Blockbusters they are licensed to broadcast like Top Gun: Maverick.

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With a VPN, you'll be able to borrow a Japanese IP address, making it possible to access content from the Land of the Rising Sun. However, this isn't possible with every VPN provider, not least since services seem to have considerably more difficulty in Japan than they do in the UK or USA.

If you take a virtual trip to Japan using your VPN, you'll be able to watch local films and series.

In this article, we'll let you know which VPNs from our sample were best at digitally tunneling to Japan.

Why Do I Need a VPN for Japanese Content?

VPNs which have servers in Japan offer several advantages:

  • Stream content from abroad
    By connecting to a VPN server in Japan, you'll be able to bypass geoblocking and access content from streaming providers like NetflixDisney+, or Amazon Prime Video that would otherwise only be available in Japan.

  • Use Japanese streaming services
    There are many services, like U-Next, that cater only to the Japanese market and aren't available abroad. A number of Japanese TV networks also offer On-Demand content online, which can only be accessed outside of Japan with a VPN. It can be difficult or even impossible to register for such a service without a Japanese telephone number or payment method.

  • Overcome YouTube blocks
    YouTube also limits some content to viewers from specific regions. With a VPN, you can get around these restrictions.

  • Dodge censorship
    In some countries, the Internet is heavily censored. For example, the People's Republic of China uses the Great Firewall to filter out large parts of the Internet like Google, Wikipedia, and Twitter. With a VPN, you'll be able to get back on the free Internet. Since connection quality depends on how distant you are from the VPN server, changing your digital location to Japan is great for those in northern or eastern China.

There are many reasons to use a VPN with Japanese servers. In our EXPERTE.com VPN comparison, we thoroughly tested 27 providers. Only one question remains: Which is the best for Japan?

Best VPN for Japanese Content

Performance, user-friendliness, and security were the three factors that mattered most in our head-to-head VPN comparisons. If looking at Japan, it's also important that the provider operates servers in the country (nearly every service from our sample did), and that it's possible to access streaming services like Netflix & Co.

For that reason, we evaluated VPNs on how well they performed in streaming content from Japanese Netflix, and below, will introduce you to our Top 3. These services worked during testing, however, VPN performances can vary from day to day. So, even if you just were able to stream Japanese Netflix content yesterday, you might be out of luck today. Just update the server list and try again in a few hours or the next day.

1.

Surfshark: Affordable, Fast, and Reliable

Surfshark VPN
Surfshark VPN
(207,223 )
Surfshark is one of the cheapest providers on the market, but it's a lot more than a great budget option: the relatively new VPN boasts strong protection, many features, and a great support with 24/7 live chat.
3,200+ servers in 100 countries
unlimited number of devices
many apps (Linux, FireTV, ...)
cheap 24-month plan
expensive monthly plan
8.8
good
Data Volume
unlimited
Devices
unlimited
Protocols
3
Contract Period
1 - 24 months
Surfshark 24 months
$1.99
monthly price
Visit Website*
Get 83% Discount

Surfshark offered the most value for money in our sample and was also our top pick for Japan. It handles wonderfully and serves up plenty of features available at a very reasonable price. The provider's Japanese servers were reliable: We had no issue streaming Japanese Netflix content.

Surfshark isn't just one of the most affordable VPNs, it's also one of the best.

In our VPN speed test, Surfshark is regularly among the Top 5. It also offers a fantastic range of features like different server categories (Favorites, Static IP, and MultiHop), an adblocker, as well as split tunneling. The last of these makes it possible to exempt specific programs or apps from using your VPN tunnel.

  • Unlocks Japanese content on Netflix

  • Low-priced long-term subscriptions

  • Lots of features

  • Server network could be larger

Review
8.8
good
Visit Website*
Check Review
Performance
10 / 10
Bedienung & Features
9.4 / 10
Support
8.6 / 10
Security & Privacy
8.0 / 10
Server Network
8.0 / 10
2.

NordVPN: EXPERTE.com's Winner

Best Overall 2024
NordVPN
NordVPN
(877,857 )
NordVPN is our number one VPN because it combines speed, ease-of-use, and functionality in a slick package that's also pretty affordable.
5,500+ servers, 60 countries
excellent performance
no logs
6 devices simultaneously
affordable 2-year package
9.4
excellent
Data Volume
unlimited
Devices
6
Protocols
5
Contract Period
1 - 24 months
NordVPN 2-year plan
$3.79
monthly price
Visit Website*
30 days money-back guarantee

NordVPN took first place in our overall EXPERTE.com VPN assessment, owing to its fantastic overall package which excels in performance, security, and features.

It isn't surprising that NordVPN has a server presence in Japan, making it possible to access content on Japanese Netflix. For YouTube and other websites, our NordVPN server helped us bypass the region restrictions and view content that would be otherwise blocked.

EXPERTE.com's overall winner, NordVPN, is well-suited for a virtual trip to Japan.

Although NordVPN beat out Surfshark in our speed test, our Japanese Netflix experience was better with the latter than the former. During testing, we had to restart NordVPN several times since it abruptly stopped working on Netflix.

  • EXPERTE.com's Overall Winner

  • Strong performance

  • User-friendly apps

  • Occasional disruptions when streaming Japanese Netflix content

Review
9.4
excellent
Visit Website*
Check Review
Performance
10 / 10
Security & Privacy
9.4 / 10
Bedienung & Features
9.4 / 10
Support
9.4 / 10
Server Network
8.6 / 10
3.

Private Internet Access: User-Friendly VPN for Japanese Content

Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access
(99,300 )
Besides its huge server network and its audit-proofed 'no logs policy', Private Internet Access sets itself apart from the competition with its module-based app that can be adjusted to each users' habits.
34,000+ servers in 84 countries
customizable VPN client
wide range of features
independent audit 2022
performance could be better
8.2
good
Data Volume
unlimited
Devices
10
Protocols
2
Contract Period
1 - 36 months
Private Internet Access 3 Years
$2.19
monthly price
Visit Website*

In our overall EXPERTE.com assessment, Private Internet Access only finished in the middle of the pack. This can be traced to its average (albeit solid) upload and download speeds and suspicious parent company (which also owns ExpressVPN and CyberGhost).

For Japan, PIA cut a good figure: On Netflix, we were able to find and stream Japanese movies and series without interruptions or connectivity issues.

PIA's Japanese servers were reliable for streaming Japanese content during testing.

While in Asia, we should also point out that PIA is also a great companion if traveling to China: PIA is capable of overcoming the Great Firewall so long as the WireGuard is activated.

As if that wasn't enough, PIA's 12 and 24-month subscription packages are priced affordably, making it a good choice for your next virtual trip to Japan.

  • Provides access to Japanese Netflix content

  • User-friendly apps

  • Dubious parent company

  • Average test speeds

Review
8.2
good
Visit Website*
Check Review
Bedienung & Features
10 / 10
Server Network
9.4 / 10
Support
8.0 / 10
Performance
7.4 / 10
Security & Privacy
6.0 / 10

Overall Result

When it comes to bypassing content restrictions, Japan seems to be a difficult nut for VPNs to crack. Of the 27 providers from our sample, apart from the Top 3 listed above, few allowed us to reliably stream Japanese Netflix content. As such, they are more the exception than the rule.

All the same, country or region access can change quickly. For that reason, we don't recommend writing off the other services from our sample, since all have servers in Japan. Below, we've included a complete ranking from our overall assessment:

1.
NordVPN
9.4
Review
excellent
2.
ExpressVPN
9.4
Review
excellent
3.
Proton VPN
9.1
Review
excellent
4.
Surfshark
8.8
Review
good
5.
HideMyAss!
8.6
Review
good
6.
hide.me
8.4
Review
good
7.
Private Internet Access
8.2
Review
good
8.
CyberGhost
7.8
Review
good
9.
PureVPN
7.8
Review
good
10.
Windscribe
7.8
Review
good
11.
Mozilla VPN
7.6
Review
good
12.
VyprVPN
7.6
Review
good
13.
Hotspot Shield
7.5
Review
good
14.
Atlas VPN
7.4
Review
good
15.
IPVanish
7.4
Review
good
16.
Mullvad
7.3
Review
good
17.
VPN Unlimited
7.3
Review
good
18.
Bitdefender
7.2
Review
good
19.
PrivateVPN
7.2
Review
good
20.
TorGuard
7.2
Review
good
21.
TunnelBear
7.1
Review
good
22.
ZenMate
7.0
Review
satisfactory
23.
Avast
6.8
Review
satisfactory
24.
PrivadoVPN
6.8
Review
satisfactory
25.
Perfect Privacy
6.6
Review
satisfactory
26.
Avira
6.4
Review
satisfactory
27.
VeePN
6.1
Review
satisfactory

Best Free VPN for Japan

All of the VPNs from our Top 3 are premium. ProtonVPN is the only free solution that offers access to a Japanese server. The Swiss provider was our favorite among the freemium options since it doesn't impose any data limits. As such, you can surf with a VPN to your heart's content at no charge. Alongside Japan, you'll also be able to access servers in the US and the Netherlands.

ProtonVPN is the only service from our sample that offers a free Japanese server.

However, ProtonVPN's free version (and indeed, all free VPNs from our sample) do not support video streaming of content from abroad. With ProtonVPN, this didn't make much of a difference, as even in its premium version, Netflix sussed out our attempts to stream videos from their Japanese database.

Netflix caught on to our attempt to stream content from Japanese Netflix with ProtonVPN.

In case you just need a Japanese IP address, but don't want to pay for it, ProtonVPN is the best option.

Proton VPN
Proton VPN
(144,686 )
With its open source philosophy and extra security features, Proton VPN targets security-conscious VPN users. But thanks to its user-friendly interface and suitability for streaming, it's worth a look for a wide audience.
open source & external audits
2,900+ servers in 67 countries
great performance
free plan without data limit
not suitable for China
9.1
excellent
Data Volume
unlimited
Devices
1 - 10
Protocols
3
Contract Period
0 - 24 months
Proton VPN Free
$0.00
monthly price
Visit Website*
Free forever

Are VPNs Legal in Japan?

Yes: Both using a VPN in Japan, as well as outside of the country to connect to servers based there are completely legal. However, when you access otherwise blocked content with a VPN, you go against the streaming service's terms and conditions. For example, Netflix expressly prohibits its subscribers from using VPNs to circumvent country or region restrictions.

In the worst case, your account could be blocked or terminated, however, we're not aware of this ever happening as the result of VPN usage. From a legal perspective, you have nothing to worry about, while other consequences are unlikely.

Conclusion

VPNs make it possible to connect to servers in Japan, circumventing censorship and country restrictions on streaming platforms like Netflix. This allows you to watch films and series only available to the Japanese market. However, not every VPN from our sample can get around Netflix's control measures, which appear rather robust for Japan.

Surfshark, NordVPN, and Private Internet Access were up to the challenge and allowed us to stream content from Japanese Netflix. With solid-strong performance, they also have user-friendly apps. In case you only need a Japanese IP address for surfing or accessing static content and don't want to pay for it, you can take advantage of ProtonVPN's free version. Just remember that video streaming is not possible with this option.

You can find comprehensive reviews of all 27 VPNs from our sample in our EXPERTE.com comparison.

FAQs

How can I get a Japanese IP address?

The easiest way to obtain a Japanese IP address is to use a VPN that has servers in Japan. Once you've connected to a Japanese server, you'll be assigned a Japanese IP address.

Are VPNs legal in Japan?

Yes, using a VPN and connecting to a VPN server there from outside the country are legal. However, you will go against your streaming provider's terms and conditions if you stream Japanese content that is only licensed for the Japanese market.

Which VPN is best for Japan?

Surfshark, NordVPN, and Private Internet Access did particularly well since they allowed us to stream content from Japanese Netflix. We cannot give any 100% guarantees though, since availability changes from day to day.

Are there free VPNs for Japan?

With ProtonVPN's free version, you can access a Japanese server and surf the Web without data limits. Video streaming is not possible with this option though.

Top VPN Provider 2024
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from $3.79
per month
NordVPN
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per month
ExpressVPN
from $0.00
per month
Proton VPN
from $1.99
per month
Surfshark
show all
Janis von Bleichert studied business informatics at the TU Munich and computer science at the TU Berlin, Germany. He has been self-employed since 2006 and is the founder of EXPERTE.com. He writes about hosting, software and IT security.
* Ad disclaimer: For links marked with an asterisk, EXPERTE.com may earn a commission from the provider. The commission has no influence on our editorial rating.
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