Despite being a generally free society, Japan is very strict when it comes to copyright protection. It also has a history of working closely with the US government, which still runs plenty of surveillance operations out of the country. For this reason, Japanese internet users often seek the privacy that a Virtual Private Network (VPN) provides.
A Japan VPN permits people living and visiting Japan to access geo-restricted website content and online services from all over the world. A VPN for Japan rolls internet freedom and privacy into one. It’s a vital tool that no one should be without.
Quick Links to our best 5 VPNs for Japan
A Japan VPN lets you pretend to be abroad. That means you can bypass local censorship of piracy sites (like the Pirate Bay, which is restricted for copyright reasons). In addition, it allows you to access geo-restricted services such as Netflix US, BBC iPlayer, and anything else you wish to unblock.
With prison sentences enforceable for copyright piracy, it’s dangerous to watch TV shows and movies on streaming websites in Japan. Thankfully, due to the encryption that a reliable VPN provides, you can freely access whatever you like online in Japan. You can do so safe in the knowledge that your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and the government can’t tell what you’re doing.
In this article, we explain everything you need to know about a VPN for Japan. Want to know why one Japan VPN is better than another, or why many must be avoided altogether? Then read on. Need to know how to set up your Japan VPN? We’ve got that covered to. We also explain what you can do with your VPN one you’ve got it going.
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- Servers in over 50 countries (including Japan)
- Ultra fast for streaming
- Excellent customer care
- Zero logs policy
- Unblock anything in privacy
- Gets a bit slow if you use double encryption option
NordVPN is the best VPN for Japan in 2017. It's ideal for people who want particularly strong security and privacy. Encryption is implemented brilliantly and it has top features such as VPN into Tor, double encryption, stealth mode, a kill switch, and Domain Name System (DNS) leak protection. It can also be used on five simultaneous connections.
Servers are located in over 50 countries and it has superb servers in both Japan and Hong Kong.
Speeds are also outstanding with this VPN, which is perfect for streaming in HD. NordVPN will keep you secure both at home and on public WiFi. It is perfect for unblocking content from all over the world. Considering the price, this VPN is truly unbelievable. It runs on outstanding, easy to use software. Finally, it has a 30-day money-back guarantee so that you can test the service thoroughly.
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- Servers in 94 countries (including Japan and Hong Kong)
- No usage logs
- Lightning fast
- Stealth mode and kill switch
- 24/7 live chat support
- A bit pricey - but worth it!
ExpressVPN comes in second for Japan. Stealth servers in Hong Kong are close to Japan, which is great. In addition, it has servers located in Japan and 94 countries in total. What’s more, those servers provide lightning fast connection speeds that are perfect for data intensive tasks such as streaming in HD.
The VPN software is easy to use and is available for all the popular platforms. It can also be used on three devices simultaneously. What’s more, it is packed with all the best features, such as a kill switch, auto-connect, and DNS leak protection. Finally, it offers a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can test the service.
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- Servers in 27 countries
- No usage logs
- Fast for streaming
- Easy to use
- Excellent customer care
- Some connection logs
- Customer care isn't 24/7
CyberGhost VPN is an excellent VPN for Japan. Servers are located in 27 countries around the world, encryption is strong military grade OpenVPN, and setting up the service is super easy. CyberGhost’s user-friendly apps are available for all the popular platforms.
Finally, the VPN provides super fast speeds for streaming in HD, and provides a 30-day money back guarantee to test the service.
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- Servers in over 60 countries (including Japan and Hong Kong)
- Lightning fast connections
- Perfect for streaming
- Fully featured
- Strong encryption
- Customer care could be better
IPVanish is another fantastic VPN for Japan. It is superb because it has lightning fast servers in Japan, nearby Hong Kong, and over 60 countries in total. The VPN also runs on outstanding, easy to use software that is fully featured. Encryption is military grade. IPVanish provides our recommended protocol, OpenVPN (as do all the VPNs in this list). In addition, encryption is implemented strongly (though not quite as strongly as the two VPNs above).
IPVanish is based in the US, which isn’t ideal. However, it keeps zero logs, which definitely makes up for it. Unfortunately, customer support is only available in US working hours. Finally, it has a seven-day money-back guarantee.
- Servers in 190 countries
- Two simultaneous connections
- Fast for streaming
- Easy to use
- Very cheap price
- Some connection logs
HideMyAss is a much loved VPN that is great for unblocking content because of its massive choice of servers. The VPN has secure encryption, a kill switch, and DNS leak protection - though lacks some features that the VPNs above have (such as stealth mode). If you want the very best privacy, it's probably better to go for one of the VPNs above. However, if having plenty of server choices to unblock content is more important to you, then this is a worthy option. It also has a 30-day money-back guarantee to enable you to test the service.
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Best VPNs for Japan: Considerations
What Is a VPN for Japan?
A Virtual Private Network is an online subscription service that allows you to pretend to be in a different country. As soon as you connect to a VPN, it conceals your real IP address. You can choose in the VPN software where you want to appear to be.
This allows you to overcome any local censorship or internet restrictions placed by ISPs, governments, workplaces, schools, or landlords. You can also use geo-restricted services and websites that are supposed to be limited to those in other countries.
In addition, trusted and reliable VPNs for Japan provide strongly implemented, military grade encryption. That encryption scrambles all the data coming and going from your machines. The result is that nobody can access that data. This gives you unrivaled levels of digital privacy as you use the internet. Freedom and privacy: an awesome mix, I’m sure you’ll agree!
Can I Get a Japan VPN for Free?
Yes, it’s possible to get a VPN for nothing. However, there are very few free services that we actually recommend. That’s because the majority of free services are incredibly risky. Many have badly implemented and out of date encryption. Some also have privacy policies that allow them to sell your data. This goes against what a VPN service is supposed to do.
Our recommended VPNs are free but don’t put your privacy at risk. Instead, they provide the service for nothing to encourage you to upgrade to their full, paid service. Thus the free version is limited (by download usage limits and/or bandwidth limits). This can make these services rather restrictive. However, at least they aren’t putting you at risk: and they are a great way to get a taste of VPNs.
If you are sure you want to try a free VPN for Japan, we recommend picking on of the services listed in our best free VPNs list.
Which VPN for Japan Should I Choose?
VPNs are, without a doubt, the top personal cybersecurity product available. However, not every VPN was created equally. Some VPNs are a waste of money because they lie about what they offer and give their users a false sense of security.
For this article, we carefully selected VPNs that have everything you need to enjoy your experience and stay secure. We made sure only to recommend VPNs for Japan that have strong privacy policies, great security features, and military grade encryption. Furthermore, only included tried and trusted services with plenty of servers around the world. Those servers are lightning fast, and allow you to do data intensive tasks such as streaming in HD.
Protect Your Digital Footprint from the Snooping Government
Ever since the Second World War, Japan and the US have a had a very special relationship. The US uses Japan as a stronghold from which to wage espionage on countries in the Far East. The relationship means that the people of Japan are likely being snooped on in very similar ways to those revealed by the Snowdon revelations. After all, you can’t tell me that the US is snooping on its own but not the Japanese!
In addition, Japan is very tight on copyright protection. People caught BitTorrenting or streaming content illegally can face imprisonment. That’s about as extreme as copyright laws get in any country. It means that anybody in Japan thinking about watching or torrenting pirated content needs to be exceptionally careful. A VPN is the natural solution. It stops ISPs and the government (both the Japanese and the US governments!) from being able to intercept web browsing data and communications.
This is more important since 2012 than ever before, due to a new law called the Computer Network Monitoring Law. That legislation was passed to help the government censor and remove any criticism of Tepco and the government (concerning Fukushima radiation levels).
That disaster is still ongoing. In order to stay on top of the situation, the authorities can monitor the internet without restrictions. For this reason, Japanese citizens are completely at the mercy of their snooping government. They cannot comment on – or view negative comments – about Fukushima.
A VPN’s privacy is perfect. It means people can communicate without fear of repercussions. They can seek out foreign news about Fukushima that might be less biased.
A VPN to Unblock Content Inside Japan
3.6 million people of Japanese descent live outside of Japan (2 million of them in Brazil). For those people, watching TV and movies and accessing Japanese-only services is essential if they’re going to stay in touch with their homeland’s culture. Sadly, most Japanese services and streams are geo-restricted. As such, Japanese people all over the world use VPNs in order to appear to be in Japan and use those geo-restricted services.
What’s more, Japanese people run the most risk of being prosecuted for copyright infractions when they access Japanese content. That’s why Japanese people often use VPNs to access pirated streams from within their own country.
VPN Servers in Japan
All of the VPNs in this article have servers in Japan for this very reason. If you’re in school, at work, or in rented accommodation that has restricted internet, you can use a VPN to bypass those annoying restrictions and access Japanese services. Simply connect to a Japan VPN server and get a Japanese IP address. Thus you can access all Japanese websites without any trouble.
How to Set up a VPN in Japan
Getting a VPN for Japan working is very easy. Just follow these simple steps:
- Select a VPN for Japan. We particularly recommend ExpressVPN because it’s the very best service for the job. NordVPN is also an amazing option if you need something a bit cheaper.
- Click through to the VPN’s website and subscribe.
- Download and install your Japan VPN.
- Run the VPN software and select your security settings. We recommend OpenVPN encryption and the use of a kill switch.
- Select a VPN server location from the list and click Connect.
- That’s it! As soon as the VPN connects, your real IP is concealed and you appear to be at the remote location that you selected. All of your data is also now protected with strong encryption.
What Can I Do with a Japan VPN?
A Japan VPN is perfect for protecting your privacy from the invasive Japanese and US governments. In addition, a VPN for Japan is perfect for getting around the mild censorship that the Japanese government enforces (mainly in and around piracy websites and news to do with Fukushima).
A VPN is also awesome for entertainment purposes. It allows you to access foreign TV streams and online services that are usually geo-restricted. This allows you to access British TV and US cable TV channels such as CNN, ESPN, and FOX. It also allows you to access almost unlimited live sports competitions from all over the world.
What’s more, a VPN is the perfect way to stay secure from the threat of hackers while using public WiFi. It is perfect for Japanese (or other) people living outside of Japan who want to use geo-restricted services located within the country.
What you can do online with a VPN is almost limitless. Provided your VPN has a server there, you can unblock any content there.
Japan VPN: Conclusion
In this article, we’ve clearly explained everything that you need to know about using a VPN in Japan. The services that we’ve recommended are fast, have servers around the globe, and can be used for data intensive tasks such as streaming in HD. In addition, all of these VPNs have strong privacy policies and well implemented, military grade encryption.
To make sure there is a VPN for everyone, we’ve included VPNs at various prices. However, rest assured that these VPNs are all top quality, no matter which one you opt for. The VPNs are broadly similar, but do vary in subtle ways, so be sure to look closely at the summaries to make sure you get the best Japan VPN for you!
Finally, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us below. Welcome to the versatile world of VPNs!