The best Japan VPN 2024

Japan's record when it comes to censorship, freedom of speech, and online access is pretty good – but that doesn't mean that there aren't threats out there. The government still surveills its citizens (like any other developed nation) and plenty of streaming content is geo-restricted. To get around these obstacles, you'll need a Japan VPN.

The Tom's Guide team spends more than 3,000 hours testing VPNs every year, running 28,000 speed tests and 2,800 streaming tests to get a clear picture of the best VPNs in the business. A VPN needs to protect your digital privacy first and foremost, but I've also prioritized unlocking power and ease of use.

If you're in a hurry (or want to skip straight to the good stuff), check out ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and Surfshark – my top three picks. For a more in-depth runthrough of these services, plus some honorable mentions, keep reading.

The 3 best Japan VPNs at a glance

1. ExpressVPN: the best Japan VPN overall

1. ExpressVPN: the best Japan VPN overall
ExpressVPN has servers in Yokohama, Osaka, and two locations within Tokyo - which means you'll have access to all your favorite Japanese content whether you're travelling or living abroad. The VPN is nice and speedy, too, so you can count on smooth HD streams.

You'll need to shell out a little more for ExpressVPN than you would for NordVPN or Surfshark, but its polished apps, beginner-friendly UI, and all-around awesome security tools make it well worth the price. See for yourself with a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.

2. NordVPN: the fastest Japan VPN

2. NordVPN: the fastest Japan VPN
NordVPN is my go-to for streaming, and boasts a whopping 130 servers dotted across Japan. The service has no trouble unblocking Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime (to name a few) and currently reigns supreme as the quickest VPN I've tested in a long time. What's not to like?

You can install NordVPN on just about every gadget you own, and try before you buy with a handy 30-day money-back guarantee.

3. Surfshark: the best budget VPN

3. Surfshark: the best budget VPN
Surfshark has a massive fleet of servers, scattered all over the world, and 62 of them are in Japan - so you're spoiled for choice when it comes to accessing local streaming content. Super-fast speeds are ideal for 4K streaming, gaming, and torrenting, too, making Surfshark one of the most well-rounded providers on the market.

It's hard to overstate just how affordable Surfshark is - you can pick up a plan for around $2.29 a month, or take the VPN for a trial run with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

The best Japan VPNs in 2024

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ExpressVPN: the best Japan VPN

ExpressVPN best japan vpn

(Image credit: ExpressVPN)

1. ExpressVPN

The best Japan VPN on the market

Available on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux | Number of Japanese locations: 3 | Simultaneous connections: 5 | Server locations: 94 | Number of servers: 3,000+

Excellent choice of Japanese servers
Great for streaming
Class-leading support
Top encryption
Maximum of five connections

If you want protection and security online when you're in Japan – or just want to explore TV that's exclusive to the country – ExpressVPN is the best service available. 

With three separate server locations in Japan, you can make sure you're getting the very best speeds available, and this server variety also ensures reliable streaming and all-round peace of mind.

In terms of privacy, ExpressVPN boasts 256-AES encryption, a great selection of protocols so you can tailor your experience towards security or speed and Perfect Forward Secrecy, plus a kill switch and split tunneling. 

However, what most users will notice first is the simplicity of the apps. While they deliver powerful configuration and great in-depth features, even newbies will be able to get protected in a single click. This prioritization of user experience is a staple of Express's product, and something we really appreciate.

Alongside all the classic streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and BBC iPlayer, you'll also be able to tap into exclusive services like TV Tokyo and Fuji TV. While non-residents may have to sign up to get watching, people who are already members can use ExpressVPN to access all this content from outside of Japan.

What really makes ExpressVPN the best Japan VPN is the combination of pretty much every feature you could ask for in a super-simple package – and that's why it tops this list.

NordVPN: the best fast VPN

NordVPN best japan vpn

(Image credit: NordVPN)

2. NordVPN

Big name is excellent in Japan

Available on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux | Number of Japanese locations: 1 | Simultaneous connections: 6 | Server locations: 75 | Number of servers: 5,400+

Full P2P support on all Japan servers
Great performance the world over
Security-focused experience
Netflix isn't 100% reliable in Japan

If you're on this page, it's likely you've heard of NordVPN (or even read our NordVPN review) – with huge marketing campaigns and a top-quality product to match, it's one of your best choices as a Japan VPN. 

That's down to its great streaming power, privacy-focused experience and its massive number of servers located in the country. Although you'll only have one location (Tokyo), there are over 80 servers there. That's great news for streamers and torrenters who want to make sure their servers aren't overloaded.

On that note, all Nord's Japan servers fully support P2P sharing, so you won't have to go through trial and error to find one that works.

In our testing NordVPN got us access to Netflix Japan on most attempts, and is also able to access national streaming services. Plus, great connection speeds mean you won't be waiting around for things to load. However, there may be a bit of trial and error before you find a suitable server.

All we can really fault NordVPN for is its app design – on mobile the map-based interface can be a little clumsy, and while that's a minor problem, it does slightly impact how pleasant the VPN is to use. On the whole, though, it's a solid choice for your Japan VPN.

Sign up now on the NordVPN website

Surfshark: the best cheap VPN

Surfshark best japan VPN

3. Surfshark

Very cheap with excellent streaming capabilities

Available on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux | Number of Japanese locations: 1 | Simultaneous connections: Unlimited | Server locations: 93 | Number of servers: 3,200+

Incredible value
Private DNS & P2P support
Unlimited connections
Top streaming performance
A little simplistic

If you're looking for a fully functioning Japan VPN for a little as possible, Surfshark could be the right choice for you, and it impressed us with its blend of power and value in our in-depth Surfshark review.

While it's not quite as in-depth as ExpressVPN, for the price there's very little to fault it. On the provider's site there are claims of being able to access – amongst other things – TV Tokyo, Fuji TV, Wowow TV, HBO, Prime Video, Netflix and Showtime. Some providers are more cautious with their claims, but this demonstrates Surfshark is pretty confident in its abilities.

For some, another bonus will just how simple Surfshark is to use – while you'll get protocol switching, a kill switch and more under the surface, the apps are designed so that anyone of any experience can get up and running in seconds.

However, for those who are confident with VPNs and looking to configure tons of settings this might hold them back. But, really, everything's good to go out of the box.

The biggest selling point is Surfshark's price, though: less than $2.50 a month. That's half the price of some of its more expensive competitors, and makes it the best cheap VPN on the market. 

So, if you want to get a great Japan VPN for as little as possible, Surfshark could be the right choice.

Sign up now on the Surfshark website

Other quality VPNs I've tested

Hotspot Shield best japan vpn

(Image credit: Hotspot Shield)

4. Hotspot Shield

Great speeds and excellent Netflix Japan performance

Available on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux | Number of Japanese locations: 1 | Simultaneous connections: 6 | Server locations: 75 | Number of servers: 1,800+

Searing speeds
Great value
Excellent for unblocking Netflix
Not the most flexible apps
Some minor logging

In our most recent Hotspot Shield review, we saw the US-based provider make some key improvements, and one of the big wins was Hotspot Shield's excellent performance for unblocking Netflix Japan – you can check the whole list out on our which VPNs works with Netflix page.

Strangely enough, the Japanese library of Netflix appears to be somewhat more difficult than other locations, and in our testing only a few providers could get us access, with Hotspot being one of them.

A quality Japan VPN isn't just dictated by streaming, though, and thankfully, Hotspot Shield also delivers well in other areas, especially connections speeds. We saw the heady heights of 380Mbps on a 600Mbps line, so whatever you've doing you should be covered.

However, Hotspot Shield still does log more user data than rivals like ExpressVPN and NordVPN, and while none of that can be linked back to you, it's still a small blot on the copybook. Also, Hotspot Shield's apps don't offer the kind of customisation seem elsewhere – but for many, that won't be an issue.

But considering its performance and the exclusive discount available to Tom's Guide readers, Hotspot Shield is a real contender for those looking for a Japan VPN.

Sign up now on the Hotspot Shield website

IPVanish best japan VPN

5. IPVanish

Reliable and configurable Japan VPN

Available on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux | Number of Japanese locations: 1 | Simultaneous connections: Unlimited | Server locations: 75 | Number of servers: 1,500+

Great configuration
Unique interface
Unlimited connections
Some may find it complex
Not the most servers

IPVanish rounds off this list in style – as soon as you open the app you'll see what we mean. Totally different in aesthetic to its competitors, it's much more stereotypically 'techy', but we appreciate that. However, for newbies it may offer up a bit too much info for ease of use – check out our IPVanish review for more info.

In terms of being a Japan VPN, the service provides five servers in a single Tokyo location. While not incredible, it's more than enough for travelers and residents alike. 

Something we really like is the fact IPVanish has an unlimited connections policy. Just like Surfshark, this means you'll be able to cover any number of devices with a single plan, which is a huge selling point over providers that limit usage. Unlike Surfshark, though, it's totally unable to access Netflix Japan – and that may be a deal breaker for many.

So, while IPVanish is a an excellent VPN – we wouldn't recommend a service we didn't think was top quality – for most people there are probably better options.

Sign up now on the IPVanish website

How to choose the right Japan VPN

Like almost every country, the Japanese government and internet service providers take an interest in your activity. Subsequently, you’ll want your Japan VPN to be hot on privacy – and with so many excellent services available, choosing one that lacks basic privacy features should certainly be avoided.

If you live in Japan, you’ll want to pick a Japan VPN with plenty of servers in Japan and nearby. As one of the most connected countries in the world, this shouldn’t be too difficult to find. However, it's worth noting that local Japanese content and services like Netflix Japan are actually quite tricky to unblock, so picking a quality Netflix VPN is essential – and knowing how to get Japanese Netflix will be, too.

Ticking all those boxes and more is ExpressVPN. With excellent connection speeds all over the world, powerful encryption and serious streaming power, it’s simply the best Japan VPN. However, there are plenty more contenders, so keep scrolling to discover the top five VPNs for Japan today.


What is the best Japan VPN?

We rate ExpressVPN as most people's best option when shopping for a Japan VPN. 

That's down to a huge number of reasons, but in short, it provides the most well-rounded package. The apps are simple yet powerful, it's great for unblocking streaming sites, and security is incredibly tight across the board.

Plus, Tom's Guide readers can now claim three months free on a 12-month plan, so ExpressVPN is even better value.

Why do I need a Japan VPN?

Although Japan's internet is much freer than many of its neighbors', the government and ISPs still track user activity – just like pretty much any other country. To avoid this, you can use a VPN to anonymize you IP and activity, giving you true web privacy.

However, many people use a Japan VPN to access Japanese media outside of Japan. That could be local TV networks, or Netflix Japan, which carries tons of anime not found anywhere else in the world.

Is a Japan VPN legal?

Yes, having a VPN in Japan is perfectly legal. However, a VPN doesn't make activities that are against the law legal. So, for example, if you download pirated software, you're still breaking the law. 

Furthermore, Tom's Guide in no way condones breaking the law with a VPN, and only recommends their use for legal activities.


We test and review VPN services in the context of legal recreational uses. For example:

1. Accessing a service from another country (subject to the terms and conditions of that service).

2. Protecting your online security and strengthening your online privacy when abroad.

We do not support or condone the illegal or malicious use of VPN services. Consuming pirated content that is paid-for is neither endorsed nor approved by Future Publishing.

Mo Harber-Lamond
VPN Editor

Mo is VPN Editor at Tom's Guide. Day-to-day he oversees VPN, privacy, and cybersecurity content, and also undertakes independent testing of VPN services to ensure his recommendations are accurate and up to date. When he's not getting stuck into the nitty-gritty settings of a VPN you've never heard of, you'll find him working on his Peugeot 205 GTi or watching Peep Show instead of finally putting up those shelves.

  • rodneybrazil
    Some very popular options here. I've seen a lot from SurfShark about GPS spoofing. Do you know if that feature is available in Japan?