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Best VPN for Japan

Charlotte Darrell
Charlotte DarrellUpdated

Government surveillance and intelligence-sharing with countries such as the US mean that using a VPN in Japan is essential if you want to keep your personal data secure. The country also has some of the harshest anti-torrenting laws in the world, so using a VPN will ensure your online activity remains private. The VPN market has become a crowded one as of late, so we’ve thoroughly tested each provider to come up with the 5 best VPNs for use in the country to make your choice a little easier.

Our top VPN picks for Japan let you browse securely, stopping your ISP or any other third parties gaining access to your private data. We’ve chosen providers that boast loads of servers in and around the country, and our proprietary speed test tool means that we can provide you with the most accurate performance data on the market. We even test out each of the apps, so you know just how user-friendly they really are.

The 5 Best VPN Services for Japan
  1. ExpressVPN
  2. NordVPN
  3. IPVanish
  4. Private Internet Access
  5. HideMyAss!
Read on for our detailed analysis of each VPN.
Our pick for Japan
ExpressVPN

Fantastic all-rounder. Loads of nearby servers. Fast local speeds.

Best price
$6.67 per month
Special deal
49% off 15-month plan
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
Customer Support
24/7 live chat support
No. of Server Locations
94 Countries
Simultaneous Connections
3
Pros
  1. Loads of nearby server locations
  2. Peak local download speeds of 92Mbps
  3. Easy access to Netflix, BBC iPlayer and more
  4. Sensible minimal-logs policy
  5. Connect securely to 94 countries
Cons
  1. Could be cheaper on longer subscriptions
  2. Stingy limit of three simultaneous connections
Bottom Line

ExpressVPN is a brilliant all-rounder boasting high levels of privacy and plenty of coverage in the Asia-Pacific region, making it our top choice for Japan. The level of quality on offer commands a premium price, but this drops to an affordable $6.67 on the 15-month plan.

ExpressVPN offers multiple servers in Japan, nearby Hong Kong and South Korea, which is critical for fast performance. Speeds in Tokyo reach an impressive 92Mbps, allowing for buffer-free HD streaming, uninterrupted downloads and more. This level of performance is consistent throughout the server network and easy access to Netflix and iPlayer will be a big bonus for streaming fans.

ExpressVPN maintains a very sensible logging policy, collecting only anonymous usage stats to maintain server performance, and has some of the most user-friendly apps we’ve come across. The three-device connection limit is pretty stingy but should be good enough for most. With top notch 24/7 customer service, it’s a fantastic all-round VPN for use in Japan and the rest of the world.


Read our full ExpressVPN review

2
NordVPN

Strictly zero-logs. 70+ servers in Japan. Works with Netflix and BBC iPlayer.

Best price
$2.99 per month
Special deal
75% off with 3-year plan
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
Customer Support
24/7 live chat support
No. of Server Locations
62 Countries
Simultaneous Connections
6
Pros
  1. 70+ servers in Japan alone
  2. Local download speeds of up to 162Mbps
  3. Reliable access to Netflix and BBC iPlayer
  4. Strict zero-logs policy
  5. Connect to 62 countries
Cons
  1. Changing VPN protocol requires manual config
  2. Email support can be slow
Bottom Line

NordVPN is a great VPN for Japan with a whopping 70+ servers in the country alone – a much greater offering than our other top picks. It doesn’t quite boast the same level of reliability of ExpressVPN, but isn’t far behind.

Connecting to Tokyo is fast- at 162Mbps speeds are more than good enough for HD streaming. Access to both Netflix and BBC iPlayer is also quick and easy.

NordVPN does extremely well for privacy with a strict zero-logs policy and a huge range of advanced security features. With dozens of nearby P2P-optimized servers, you can torrent in peace of mind knowing that your online activity will remain private.

Email support can be a little slow, but 24/7 live chat support, an extensive knowledge base and simple, user-friendly apps more than make up for it. For just $2.99 per month on the three-year plan, NordVPN is really good value for money and a great option for streaming fans and torrenters alike.


Read our full NordVPN review

3
IPVanish

Lots of nearby servers. High levels of privacy. Fast local downloads.

Best price
$6.49 per month
Special deal
46% off with 12-month plan
Money-back guarantee
7 Days
Customer Support
24/7 live chat support
No. of Server Locations
61 Countries
Simultaneous Connections
10
Pros
  1. Servers in Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea
  2. Peak local speeds of 77Mbps
  3. Access to Netflix
  4. Strict zero logging
  5. Connect securely to 61 countries
Cons
  1. Could be cheaper on longer plans
  2. Clunky apps could be more user-friendly
Bottom Line

IPVanish is a speedy zero-logs VPN with plenty of servers located in Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea. Connecting from Tokyo, you can experience impressive speeds of up to 77Mbps for buffer-free HD streaming and fast downloads. You can also access Netflix through the VPN, which is a big plus.

IPVanish offers advanced security features, such as a VPN kill switch and first-party DNS servers. Combined with a strict zero-logs policy, it boasts high levels of privacy, and the great news for P2P users is that torrenting is permitted on all servers.

The custom apps are a little clunky, but great for those who want to optimize their connection, with a generous ten device connection limit. Customer support is really good with a 24/7 live chat feature and some great online resources. IPVanish is a top contender for use in Japan, especially for secure torrenting and easy access to popular streaming sites.


Read our full IPVanish review

4
Private Internet Access

Super fast zero-logs VPN. Really cheap 2-year plan. Netflix and BBC iPlayer work.

Best price
$2.91 per month
Special deal
58% off with 2-year plan
Money-back guarantee
7 Days
Customer Support
24/7 Email Support
No. of Server Locations
33 Countries
Simultaneous Connections
5
Pros
  1. Loads of servers in and around Japan
  2. Local downloads of up to 147Mbps
  3. Reliable access to Netflix and BBC iPlayer
  4. Zero logging
  5. Connect securely to 33 countries
Cons
  1. Limited server network
  2. Refund period could be longer
  3. Email support can be slow
Bottom Line

Private Internet Access is a budget zero-logs VPN offering super fast local speeds of up to 147Mbps. It has a much more limited server network than our other top picks, but has good coverage in Japan and costs just $2.91 on the two-year plan, which is great value for money.

It has some great security features – such as a VPN kill switch and DNS leak protection – and doesn’t collect any logs, meaning that your online activity remains private. This is great news for torrenters, as P2P activity is permitted on all servers.

Customer support isn’t as reliable as our other top picks, with no live chat feature and slow responses to email. However, the website offers a comprehensive range of resources should you need help. If you can overlook an outdated desktop app, Private Internet Access remains a good choice for Japan and is a much cheaper alternative to IPVanish.


Read our full Private Internet Access review

5
HideMyAss!

Lightning-fast speeds. Huge server network. Easy access to Netflix.

Best price
$2.99 per month
Special deal
75% off with 3-year plan
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
Customer Support
24/7 live chat support
No. of Server Locations
190 Countries
Simultaneous Connections
5
Pros
  1. Multiple servers in Japan and loads more nearby
  2. Super fast speeds - up to 159Mbps
  3. Access to Netflix and other popular sites
  4. Simple apps for most popular devices
  5. Connect securely to 190+ countries
Cons
  1. Intrusive logging policy
  2. No nearby servers for P2P
  3. Limited to OpenVPN on the desktop app
Bottom Line

HideMyAss! makes it into our top five for offering a huge server network and the fastest performance of all our top picks. However, it falls far behind the others when it comes to privacy due to the fact that it’s based in privacy-unfriendly UK and retains detailed connection logs for up to three months. For this reason, we wouldn’t recommend it to torrenters or those seeking the highest levels of privacy.

It offers loads of servers in the Asia-Pacific, with lightning-fast local speeds of up to 159Mbps and super low latencies, which is great for gamers. Easy access to Netflix and other popular services also makes it a fantastic choice for streaming fans.

If you aren’t seeking complete online anonymity, HideMyAss! is a super fast VPN for use in Japan, with slick, easy-to-use apps, high quality customer support, and is great value for money if you sign up to the three-year plan.


Read our full HideMyAss! review

How we picked the best VPN for Japan

Our top choices for Japan boast loads of servers in and around the country and offer great performance on both local and international connections. They work to access popular streaming sites, such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer. We look for providers with privacy-friendly, minimal logging policies and advanced security features, such as a VPN killswitch, first-party DNS servers and IPv6 leak protection to ensure your personal data remains private.

We are constantly testing each and every VPN on our site to ensure that our reviews and recommendations for Japan are kept up-to-date. We run regular speed tests on Japanese servers to monitor performance in the country. We also put the custom apps through their paces on a range of different devices and get in touch with customer support to make sure that it’s top quality.

Do I need a VPN in Japan?

If you want to ensure that your online activity remains private, using a VPN in Japan is an absolute must.

With a movement towards higher levels of surveillance and intelligence-sharing agreements with privacy-unfriendly jurisdictions, such as the US, your personal data and privacy are at risk. Japan also threatens expensive fines and prison sentences for breaching copyright laws, and even accessing torrenting sites without illegal intent could flag you up as suspicious. For these reasons, it’s essential to use a secure VPN so that your online activity remains private.

Are VPNs legal in Japan?

It’s perfectly legal to use a VPN in Japan in order to protect your personal data and hide your true IP address. However, you should bear in mind that using a VPN doesn’t exempt you from any national laws, particularly when it comes to torrenting, and we definitely don’t condone using a VPN to hide illegal activity of any kind. The main purpose of a VPN is to keep your online activity private, and there are no laws against using one for that purpose in Japan.

How to choose a VPN for Japan: 7 Tips: 7 Tips

  • Does it have servers in or around Japan?

    In order to experience the best performance, you should look for a VPN provider that boasts plenty of servers in and around the country. Ideally, you should connect to the server nearest to your physical location as this will give you the fastest possible speeds.

  • Does it work on your preferred devices?

    Most providers will offer custom apps for at least Windows and Mac, with some also providing clients for Linux, Android and iOS devices. If custom apps aren’t available, you can usually manually configure your device to work with the VPN. Some of our top picks are also compatible with routers, games consoles and streaming devices, such as Amazon TV.

  • Will it work with your favorite websites and apps?

    Popular streaming sites, such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer, have recently cracked down on VPN providers, meaning that they block VPN traffic from accessing their content. If streaming on these sites is a must for you, make sure to check out our up-to-date reviews to see which providers offer reliable access.

  • What is their logging policy?

    The term ‘zero-logs’ is thrown around a lot in the VPN industry, but unfortunately many providers do, in fact, collect at least some data from their customers. A good provider wouldn’t log personally-identifiable user activity, but most will collect basic metadata for maintenance and troubleshooting purpurses. We have thoroughly read each and every provider’s privacy to find out which offer the highest levels of privacy and sum them up in the Logging section of our reviews, so you don’t have to.

  • Check the number of simultaneous connections supported

    If you want to protect multiple devices for you and your family, you should look for a provider that offers a generous amount of simultaneous connections. Most will allow at least 3, but some offer up to 10 if you need it.

  • Are their client apps and software easy to use?

    Whether you are a VPN newbie or a more experienced user, everyone wants an app that is slick and easy to navigate. Look for a VPN with a simple, well-designed client and you’re bound to use it much more often than you would with a clunky, confusing one. Be sure to look at the Ease of Use section of our provider reviews, where we give you the low-down on how user-friendly each app really is.

  • Finally, check the price and money-back guarantee

    Each of our top picks offer different pricing plans to suit all budgets, but they’re still all pretty affordable. You’ll find the best deals on longer-term subscriptions, so make sure to look for one that offers a genuine ‘no questions asked’ money-back guarantee (preferably 30 days), just in case it turns out to not be the right VPN for you.