If you're fan of anime, Japanese drama, or you're simply trying to learn the language through immersion, it's likely you're wondering how to get Japanese Netflix in order to access all its exclusive content not available anywhere else.
Thanks to the language barrier, and the fact that Japan consumes a heck of a lot of homegrown content, not much ever leaves the country's shores for the US or Europe. But, if you've got a Netflix account and one of the best VPN services to hand, you can watch absolutely anything you like.
That's not even to mention Japanese citizens who are abroad for business or pleasure – if you're on a trip outside your home country, you'll notice there are barely any Japanese-language shows and movies available at all.
So, here we'll run down exactly how to watch Japanese Netflix anywhere, and we'll also share some shows and movies that – in our humble opinion – are unmissable.
Note: Much of the content on Japanese Netflix lacks any English subtitles or dubbing – you've been warned!
- Check our most up-to-date tests on which VPNs work with Netflix today
- Peruse our rundown of the best streaming VPN services
- Here's our list of the best Japan VPN services today
How to watch Japanese Netflix anywhere
NordVPN is our #1 recommendation for accessing Japanese Netflix. It's currently performing very well for unblocking regional Netflix libraries, and it's also a super secure bit of cybersecurity software.
If you're not in Japan, you'll notice you can't view all your favorite anime and Japanese movies. However, with this quick workaround you'll be able to access anything you want.
First of all, you'll need a Netflix account – although if you're reading this, you've probably already got one. If not, sign up here.
Then you need to grab yourself a quality VPN. Our top recommendation for watching Japanese Netflix is NordVPN, thanks to its great speeds, ease of use, and the fact it can evade Netflix's VPN blocks and get you watching in no time.
First, you need to use your VPN to connect to a server in Japan. The VPN will select the best server for you, so it's super simple.
Then open up Netflix, and browse the Japanese library for something you want to watch.
Japanese Netflix seems to be one of the harder libraries to crack – many more VPNs, for example, are able to get access to US Netflix. If you find that you can't access the show you want and it's definitely on Japanese Netflix, try closing the browser window, disconnecting and reconnecting to the Japanese server, and trying again.
If the problem persists, NordVPN also has an excellent 24/7 live chat service, and if worst comes to worst, you can also make use of the 30-day money-back guarantee and get a full refund.
Also, it's worth checking which VPNs work with Netflix to check our up-to-date report on which services are currently able to unblock which regions
The best shows and films on Japanese Netflix
Gin Tama & Gintama: The Movie
As both one of the most popular manga series and most popular anime series in Japan, if you're looking to watch a classic, Gin Tama is a great place to start.
Set in the Edo period, Gin Tama presents an alternate reality in which aliens have invaded and Samurai have been banned. We follow the escapades of an essentially out-of-work Samurai, his apprentice, and an alien teen who they rescue.
While the original 367-episode series is no longer on Japanese Netflix in its entirety, the feature-length films Gintama: The Movie and Gintama: The Movie: The Final Chapter are – plenty to get on with.
It's worth noting that you'll have neither subs nor dubs here – only the original Japanese-language audio is available. However, that's great for purists, native speakers, and those looking to learn Japanese.
One of the most lauded films of 2018, Bohemian Rhapsody is a stunning biopic that follows Queen and their frontman Freddy Mercury's rise to stardom.
Surprisingly unavailable in most countries, if you're a classic rock fan it's certainly worth a watch. Plus, thanks to the fact the movie was originally released in English, even on Netflix Japan Anglophones won't have to deal with subtitles.
Les Misérables (1998)
Don't start thinking that it's just Japanese content available on Japanese Netflix – there are actually a fair few Western-made movies on there that have simply been snapped up by other distributors in other parts of the world.
Available to rent on Amazon Prime, Vudu, YouTube and other services in the US, the 1998 version of Les Mis is only available on Netflix in Japan.
While it might not be widely regarded as the best adaptation of Victor Hugo's classic, we always enjoy seeing a bit of Liam Neeson – and, frankly, Uma Thurman's Fantine is a performance to behold.
Parasite: Black-and-White Edition
As a smash success and the first non-English-language film to win the Best Picture Oscar, it's likely many people reading this will have watched Parasite already. However, what you may not have known is that there's an official black and white version of the Korean picture available, too.
Only available on Netflix in Japan, cutting the color gives a renewed moodiness to Bong Joon-ho's masterwork, and while it won't be for everyone, it's certainly an interesting twist on one of the best things to come from the twenty-teens.
Ninjas, collapsing Shogunates, blood feuds and a battle royale competition. Be honest – what more do you want?
Although only one season is available on Japanese Netflix, Basilisk is more than worth a watch, and the fact there are only 24 episodes means you won't have to sit through hundreds of hours to get to the end of the story (we're looking at you, Gin Tama!).
Why should you use a VPN for Japanese Netflix?
The first and most important reason to use a VPN with Japanese Netflix is to get access to the content you pay for anywhere in the world. So, if you're from Japan and you've gone abroad, you'll be able to watch what you're used to – and if you're not, you can virtually relocate and see what you're missing.
There's more to it than that, though. If you have a good Internet connection but still find that Netflix is buffering or playing at a low quality, it could be because you're being subjected to network throttling.
This happens when your ISP detects high-bandwidth usage of your connection and intentionally slows you down to make sure everyone gets a similar speed. High-bandwidth uses include torrenting, gaming, and, of course, streaming HD content.
A VPN anonymizes what you're using your connection for, which means your provider can't tell you're streaming. Subsequently, it can't choose to slow down your connection.
Plus, a VPN gives unrivalled privacy and security for any kind of browsing, so if you want to watch Japanese Netflix as well as keep your personal info safe, a secure VPN is the perfect solution.
What is the best VPN for Japanese Netflix?
If you're looking to stream Japanese Netflix, a VPN is essential – and our #1 choice is NordVPN. With searing speeds and easy-to-use apps that work on tons of devices like Roku, Fire Stick, and Apple TV, as well as desktop and mobile, it's the perfect solution for accessing blocked content. Plus, you'll have 30 days to test the service before you commit.
Get the BEST of Tom’s Guide daily right in your inbox: Sign up now!
Upgrade your life with the Tom’s Guide newsletter. Subscribe now for a daily dose of the biggest tech news, lifestyle hacks and hottest deals. Elevate your everyday with our curated analysis and be the first to know about cutting-edge gadgets.
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.