In recent years, the Japanese government has greatly enhanced its powers of surveillance in an effort to crackdown on copyright infringement. Furthermore, many streaming services are geo-blocked in Japan, and many Japanese developers prefer to keep their content reserved for Japanese IP addresses only.
Whether you’re a tourist visiting Japan or a local traveling abroad, you’ll need to take certain measures to access your favorite content.
That’s where Virtual Private Network (VPN) comes in. A VPN encrypts and reroutes your online traffic through different servers, which convinces any watchful eyes that you’re in a totally different country. The added advantage is that a connection to the right server can grant you access to geo-restricted content.
What should you be looking for, though? To help, we’ve created a handy best VPN for Japan list.
Best VPNs for Japan: a quick list
No time to read? Here are our best VPNs for Japan in 2023:
- The best VPN for Japan9.6
- Budget-friendly and powerful provider9.5
- Cheapest VPN for Japan9.1
- Security-first VPN8.7
- An excellent toolset for Japan8.5
How to get the best VPN for Japan
- Get a VPN with servers in Japan. We suggest NordVPN, now 72% off
- After installation, pick a server in Japan or any other country
- Connect to the VPN server
- That’s it! Now you’re safe!
Why do you need a VPN in Japan
Even though Japan doesn’t belong to the Fourteen Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance, its government is actively surveilling what’s happening online. The situation worsened in 2012 when downloading copyrighted content became a criminal offense. Further, in 2013, leaking broadly defined “national secrets” put human rights institutions and journalists at risk of going to jail.
Also, Japan is not among the safest countries for torrenting. At the same time, downloading something illegal might result in spending up to two years behind bars. When you use a VPN for P2P activities, your real IP address is hidden, and your traffic is encrypted. As a result, catching you becomes a daunting task.
Moreover, there’s a problem with geo-blocking. Plenty of content is unavailable to users in Japan and vice versa. With a VPN, you can avoid this issue and access your favorite websites from anywhere. That includes Netflix, YouTube, TV Tokyo, and others.
The best part is that VPNs are legal in Japan. Therefore, you can be sure you’re doing nothing wrong when unblocking your favorite movie or protecting your torrenting efforts. Just don’t forget that doing anything illegal stays illegal after you turn on the VPN for Japan.
Overview of the best VPNs for Japan in 2023
Below are the best VPNs for Japan that passed our rigorous testing before ending up on the list. Each has its unique strengths that we discuss later, meaning our #1 might not be the best choice for you. That’s why we encourage you to check all services and pick the one you like the most.
All VPNs have apps for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iPhone. Also, they have military-grade encryption, strong leak protection, and tools against geo-blocking. Whichever you choose, it will support P2P and unblock restricted content.
1. NordVPN – the best VPN service for Japan
NordLynx, OpenVPN, IKEv2
- Excellent security and privacy
- Best speeds without sacrificing security
- Great for streaming
- No router app
NordVPN is the best VPN for Japan and virtually any other country. Its security and privacy are excellent, and the speed is unmatched. Besides, it’s great for streaming and torrenting as well.
As it’s located in Panama, NordVPN does not have to comply with any data retention laws. Not that it would have any data to retain, really, because the VPN employs an independently-audited no-logs policy. NordVPN also uses AES 256-bit encryption, two types of kill switches, and robust leak protection.
This provider has one the biggest fleet of servers on the market: over 5700 in 60 countries, to be precise. 80+ servers are in Japan, but most importantly, the better part is RAM-only. That means all data is wiped out after a restart.
NordVPN’s massive server list basically allows you to access geo-restricted content from just about anywhere. This includes local Netflix libraries, BBC iPlayer, TV Tokyo, and more. NordVPN also protects your torrenting on selected servers and has both split tunneling and SOCKS5 proxy.
All this and more will cost you only $3.29/month. This is a great price for a VPN with such an array of features and six simultaneous connections. You can get a 7-day free trial or exercise the 30-day money-back guarantee.
For a deeper investigation of NordVPN, read our NordVPN review.
2. Surfshark – a powerful and affordable Japan VPN
WireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2
- Solid security features
- Speedy connections
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- No-logs policy not audited
Surfshark is another great VPN for Japan. It’s cheap, fast, and secure. Moreover, you’ll be able to avoid geo-blocks and download torrents hassle-free.
Boasting 3200+ servers in 100+ countries, Surfshark also has them RAM-only. This greatly increases security because no data is stored in hard drives that can be seized by law enforcement. Add WireGuard tunneling protocol, and you get guaranteed performance that translates into swift downloads and high-quality streaming.
Surfshark is based in the Netherlands, a privacy-friendly location even though it’s a member of the Nine Eyes alliance. What’s more, it has a strict no-logs policy, so you shouldn’t worry about your data being stored or sold to third parties. Additionally, Surfshark comes with bank-grade encryption, leak protection, and malware blocker.
This provider is one of the best for streaming. It easily unblocks multiple Netflix libraries and other content platforms. Besides, P2P fans will like that torrenting is allowed on all servers.
Surfshark prices start from $2.30/month. That’s a great deal, especially because one account gets an unlimited number of devices. If you’re curious, try Surfshark for 7 days for free. And don’ forget about the 30-day money-back guarantee option.
For a deeper investigation of Surfshark VPN, read our Surfshark VPN review.
3. PrivateVPN – cheap streaming VPN for Japan
OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP
- Reliable security features
- Excellent for streaming
- Torrent support
- macOS and iOS apps have fewer features
Not only PrivateVPN does have a really good price, but this service is also secure, reliable, and great against geo-blocking. Even though it’s located in a Five Eyes country, its no-logs policy more than makes up for that. Besides, you’ll get NASA-grade encryption, leak protection, and anonymous payments.
PrivateVPN has only 200+ servers in 63+ countries. However, this provider focuses on quality, not quantity, buying internet capacity straight from the IP transit provider. At the same time, PrivateVPN owns all of their servers, adding even more security to the mix.
Good speeds make PrivateVPN great for torrenting and streaming. We’re talking about Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and other content platforms. Torrenting is allowed on all servers, plus you can use a SOCKS5 proxy and port forwarding.
Currently, this service costs $2.00/month. This is an excellent price, given how much PrivateVPN offers in exchange. There’s a 7-day free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
For a deeper investigation of PrivateVPN, read our PrivateVPN review.
4. VyprVPN – the cheapest VPN for Japan
WireGuard, Chameleon, OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec
- Great security features
- Very cheap
- Independently-audited no-logs policy
- No anonymous payments
If your main interest is accessing geo-restricted content, look no further than the cheapest VPN for Japan. We’re talking about Golden Frog’s VyprVPN. Located in Switzerland – well away from the prying eyes of the Eyes alliances – this VPN is dedicated to unlocking streaming services with ease.
With VyprVPN, you’ll be able to watch Netflix, Hulu + Live TV, HBO Max, and many other content platforms. What’s more, the speeds should be enough for streaming in HD or even 4K video quality without painstakingly slow buffering.
We can’t say anything bad about VyprVPN’s security or privacy. This provider has an independently audited no-logs policy plus solid leak and malware protection. Moreover, its in-house Chameleon protocol works great against any type of censorship, including the Great Firewall of China.
When it comes to torrenting, it’s allowed on all servers. There are 700+ of them in over 64 countries. Furthermore, VyprVPN has split tunneling for Android and macOS devices.
Starting at $5.00/month, VyprVPN is easily the cheapest Japan VPN on this list. Even though you get only 5 devices per account, this can be easily solved with the router app. Those who still have doubts about this service can exercise VyprVPN’s 30-day money-back guarantee.
For a deeper investigation of VyprVPN, read our VyprVPN review.
5. IPVanish – a VPN for Japan with no virtual servers
WireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSec, L2TP/IPSec
- Excellent security
- Unblocks Netflix US
- Unlimited devices per account
- Based in the US
Even though the US is not an ideal location to run a VPN from, a strong no-logs policy still makes IPVanish one of the top Japan VPNs in 2023. In fact, it’s also among the best VPNs overall. Besides, this provider has plenty to offer for P2P fans, streamers, gamers, and other local users or those staying abroad.
IPVanish server fleet consists of 2200+ servers in 51+ countries. 20+ servers are in Tokyo, Japan. This provider owns all of them, which reduces the risk of third parties tampering with data.
With WireGuard at its disposal, IPVanish guarantees fast and stable connectivity. Some VPNs are notorious for underperforming in this regard, but it’s a non-issue here. This makes IPVanish a great choice if you want to watch geo-restricted videos in high definition without buffering or lag.
Speaking of torrenting, it’s allowed on all servers. Additionally, P2P fans get a SOCKS5 proxy. IPVanish also unlocks Netflix US, which should be more than enough for having a cozy evening at home. There are also apps for Android TV and Amazon Fire TV Stick, in case you want to watch your favorite shows and movies on the big screen.
From the security standpoint, there’s not much to add. IPVanish already has AES 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, and leak protection. There’s also Stealth VPN in case you need access data in countries where VPN usage is restricted. This includes the Great Firewall of China as well.
At the moment, IPVanish costs $3.33/month. It’s not the cheapest option, but you get unlimited simultaneous connections per account. There’s no free trial, but you can still try this VPN risk-free, thanks to the 30-day money-back guarantee.
For a deeper investigation of IPVanish, read our IPVanish review.
6. ExpressVPN – all-in-one VPN for Japan
Lightway, OpenVPN, IKEv2
- Bulletproof security features
- Super fast
- Great for streaming and torrenting
- Very expensive
ExpressVPN is another one of the finest VPN services and has enjoyed an enviable reputation since it opened shop. Although it falls short of the status of best VPN for Japan due to relatively steep pricing, this VPN remains a worthy contender all the same.
This service uses industry-standard AES 256-bit encryption, which is so powerful that all the computers in the world couldn’t crack it by the end of time. Its location on the British Virgin Islands also means data retention laws do not compromise its security levels. Most importantly, ExpressVPN is probably the only provider with both court-proven and independently-audited no-logs policy.
It has no DNS or IP leaks, a great kill switch, and RAM-only servers. This ensures you receive the best protection from Japanese surveillance techniques as well as the NSA.
ExpressVPN has 3000+ servers in 94 which results in a truly global coverage. It’s also one of the few providers that have servers not only in Tokyo but also in Yokohama. If that wasn’t enough, the proprietary Lightway protocol delivers excellent speeds and security.
Streaming with ExpressVPN is a great idea. This service unblocks Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and Japanese-only content. P2P is allowed on all servers, plus you can always turn on split tunneling or port forwarding.
ExpressVPN isn’t cheap, starting from $6.67/month. Payments are also accepted in Bitcoin. There’s no free trial, but the 30-day money-back guarantee should be enough to test everything that this service has to offer.
For a deeper investigation of ExpressVPN, read our ExpressVPN review.
7. Astrill VPN – the most Asia-oriented VPN
OpenVPN, L2TP, IKEv2, WireGuard
- Super safe
- Lightning fast
- Excellent for streaming and torrenting
- No money-back guarantee
Astrill VPN is another one of the more expensive security options, but as with ExpressVPN, we believe Astrill’s customers are paying for what they get. Indeed, what they’re getting is top-notch security and the ability to bypass censorship anywhere.
This company is registered in Seychelles, another country free from data retention laws, ensuring maximum privacy. This is certainly an essential qualification for judging the best VPN for Japan. What’s more, Astrill VPN barely logs anything, so you should feel safe online no matter what you do.
Military-grade encryption is what Astrill uses. It also offers a kill switch, DNS and IP leak protection, plus a malware blocker. There’s also a multi-hop feature that routes your traffic via two VPN servers.
Astrill VPN has 320+ servers in 59+ countries. But just like PrivateVPN, it still manages to provide fast speeds and great connectivity, especially in Asia, where its presence is felt the most. The next-gen WireGuard protocol probably has something to do with this as well.
Streaming fans, rejoice! Astrill VPN unblocks not only Netflix but other content sites too. Expect high video quality and no buffering. Torrenting is allowed on all servers, and there are also split tunneling, SOCKS5 proxy, and port forwarding features.
Astrill pricing starts at $10.00/month and you get only 5 devices per account. Unfortunately, there’s no free trial or money-back guarantee, meaning you’ll have to put trust in this Japan VPN.
For a deeper investigation of Astrill VPN, read our Astrill VPN review.
8. Windscribe – extreme speeds and no device limit
WireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2
- Malware and ad blocking
- Great speeds
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- No live chat support
Windscribe VPN is located in Canada, which is a Five Eyes country, the alliance Japan notoriously collaborates with. Alas, after making dozens of log requests to the Windscribe servers, authorities have received nothing due to “lack of relevant information.” That’s because this provider doesn’t have any identifying logs to speak of.
Furthermore, Windscribe also features DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC leak protection, WireGuard protocol, and a malware blocker. This means that it’s possibly the safest, if not the best, VPN for Japan.
Windscribe has 480+ servers in 69+ countries. Just like PrivateVPN or Astrill VPN, it also relies on quality, not quantity. Otherwise, it would be able to offer such speeds for its users.
This Japan VPN unblocks multiple Netflix libraries but not other streaming platforms. Torrenting is available on most servers, excluding South Africa, Russia, India, and Lithuania. P2P aficionados will like SOCKS5 proxy and port forwarding features.
You can get Windscribe for $1.00/month. Knowing that each account has unlimited devices, this sounds like a pretty good deal. Sadly, refunding is complicated, and you get only 1 day for free and a 3-day money-back guarantee.
For a deeper investigation of Windscribe VPN, read our Windscribe VPN review.
The best perk of each Japan VPN
|NordVPN||Fastest VPN for Japan|
|Surfshark||No device limit|
|PrivateVPN||Inexpensive streaming VPN|
|VyprVPN||The cheapest VPN for Japan|
|IPVanish||Japan VPN without virtual servers|
|ExpressVPN||All-in-one VPN for Japan|
|Astrill VPN||Asia-oriented VPN service|
How to choose the best VPN for Japan
The first rule of picking the best Japan VPN is finding the one that fits your needs the most. All of the options described above are among the top, but that doesn’t mean your #1 is the same as ours. However, there are key aspects you need to look into before making a choice.
We evaluated the best VPNs for Japan using the following criteria:
- Privacy. Japan VPN must have a no-logs policy, a kill switch, and DNS & IP leak protection. These are the core elements that shouldn’t be ignored. Also, a VPN should have a privacy-friendly jurisdiction.
- Security. All VPNs for Japan need military-grade encryption and the latest tunneling protocols. A Stealth VPN feature is also recommended.
- Speed. High performance is needed for torrenting and streaming in 4K. Low latency and small drop-offs are essential for gamers.
- Server list. A Japan VPN should always have a server to offer that’s close to you and not overcrowded. Also, make sure your provider has servers in Japan if you’re planning to connect from abroad.
- P2P and streaming. P2P should be allowed together with split tunneling, SOCKS5 proxy, and port forwarding features. Top Japan VPNs should unblock Netflix, Hulu + Live TV, BBC iPlayer, and other streaming platforms.
- Pricing. The prices vary from a couple of bucks to more than a dozen. Always check if it’s worth paying more.
- Customer support. Don’t settle for anything less than 24/7 customer support. Live chat is the best option.
What can I use a VPN for in Japan?
There are plenty of uses for a Japan VPN in 2023. Everything depends on what you like to do online and how concerned you are about privacy. And while Japan scores well in Freedom Hous Index, there’s still plenty of room for improvement.
Security and privacy
Decades ago, these two words were more about antivirus software, but today, VPNs are the right tools for staying safe online. No matter if you live in Japan or stay abroad, using a VPN is a great idea.
To start with, your real IP address will be hidden. Any snooper will see only your VPN’s IP, shared by hundreds if not thousands of users. Also, your traffic will be encrypted with a NASA-grade cipher, meaning no one, even your ISP can tell what you’re doing online.
Torrenting is legal in Japan, but downloading copyrighted content can result in a criminal offense. Therefore, a VPN protects your P2P activities so that your government can’t know your identity.
Best VPNs for Japan also offer the port forwarding feature. It allows you to seed when it wouldn’t be possible and have a good download-upload ratio. It can even increase the speeds if your ISP uses bandwidth throttling.
Another big reason why people use VPNs is geo-blocking. Without one, you won’t be able to watch any local streaming platforms outside of Japan. At the same time, BBC iPlayer won’t be available in Japan. Moreover, retailers like to change prices according to your country, meaning you can get a better deal with a VPN.
What should I look for in a VPN for Japan?
Not every Japan VPN has the same set of features. And if it has more than the rest, there’s still a chance that something important is missing. That’s why you check if all the essentials described below are there.
- AES 256-bit encryption. It’s the most widely used bank-grade cipher. Currently, it has no competitors.
- Kill switch. It disconnects you if there’s a VPN failure and the danger of exposing your data.
- Leak protection. DNS, IP, and WebRTC leaks can expose your IP and location.
- No-logs. A VPN for Japan should have a no-logs policy. If you have the chance, choose the one that’s independently audited or court-proven.
- Compatibility. Apps for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS are a must. Also, look for other supported devices, browser extensions, and Smart DNS.
- 24/7 customer support. There will be times when you need your Japan VPN working now. Without a 24/7 live chat, things can take more than a while.
Of all the top VPNs for Japan, NordVPN is the one that meets and exceeds these requirements.
Which VPN servers in Japan should I choose?
Since Japan is relatively small, most VPNs have their servers in Tokyo. From this list, only ExpressVPN is available in Yokohama as well.
Some VPN services allow choosing a specific server (NordVPN), but you should be fine with the auto-select option most of the time. If it doesn’t work or the connection is sluggish, just reconnect and try once again.
After evaluating all the best options, we’ve concluded that NordVPN is the best VPN for Japan in 2023. It’s registered outside of the Fourteen Eyes group, it’s great for P2P and unblocking geo-restricted content, and more than anything else, it’s the fastest VPN you can get. Simply put, NordVPN is the ultimate tool for maintaining your data privacy in Japan.
If you’re still not convinced, try Surfshark. It’s cheaper but still has plenty of features. Most importantly, there’s no limit for devices per account, so sharing it can help you save even more.
If you’re in Japan, which of these VPNs have you used before? Did we miss any great VPN for Japan? Let us know in the comments below.
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Is using a VPN legal in Japan?
Yes, it is. But you should remember that doing anything illegal while using a VPN is still a civil or criminal offense.
What is the best VPN for streaming in Japan?
NordVPN is the top choice for streaming in Japan. It unblocks most content platforms and also provides blazing-fast speeds. What’s more, NordVPN has apps for Android TV and Amazon Fire TV Stick.
Is free VPN a good choice for Japan?
It can be, depending on your needs. However, most free VPNs log your data and sell it to third parties, while some even include malware. You can try Windscribe from our list above but be aware that it has a 10 GB/month data limit and no servers in Japan.
Is using a VPN safe?
Once again, this depends on you and your VPN. If you share your personal details with strangers, no VPN can protect you. At the same time, if a VPN is leaking your IP and location, there’s no reason to keep it turned on at all.
A VPN (virtual private network) is a secure and private solution within the wider internet itself that allows users to send and receive data while maintaining the secrecy of a private network. One should always use VPNs, especially while traveling or using public networks to ensure security and anonymity.
I’m going to be travelling to Japan this summer, and in keeping up with recent events and talking to some people, I’ve definitely come to the conclusion that I need a VPN for my laptop before I go. I think after reading your article I’m going to go with NordVPN, because it seems like the most secure, and I like how inexpensive it is. Thank you for pointing it out to me!
ExpressVPN and NordVPN are the two best VPNs anyone can invest in. I believe they work well in most of the countries
I guess I’m a bit naive when it comes to Japan and surveillance. For some reason I thought they might be more open than other countries, but it just shows how just about every government keeps tabs on its citizens.
I’ve actually been looking to move to Japan, so choosing one of these VPN providers will be an important step in preparing to go.