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The best Japan VPN 2021

Best Japan VPN
(Image credit: ExpressVPN)

While a Japan VPN is perfect for those who live in the country, it can also be a powerful tool for those just visiting, or even if you just want to watch geo-blocked TV, movies, and anime. The best VPN will keep you private, secure, and avoid any government surveillance too.

If you're on holiday, the language barrier might be quite apparent, and not just in person. Even if you're able to access sites you're used to, you could be served Japanese versions of them, so by using a Japan VPN to switch your location you can read them in the language you're used to.

And, if you're from Japan and on holiday elsewhere, you'll be able to make it seem like you're back at home and access streaming services like TV Tokyo and Fuji TV, plus all the exclusive anime and movies on Netflix Japan that aren't available elsewhere.

What makes the best 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 working out which VPNs work with Netflix will be 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, military-grade 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.

1. ExpressVPN – the best Japan VPN on the market
Whether you live in Japan or are just visiting, ExpressVPN is the very best service to have protecting you. With unbeatable streaming power plus excellent privacy features, it's the full package. Plus, you'll get a 30-day money-back guarantee and three months free on a 12-month plan.View Deal

2. NordVPN – big name is excellent in Japan
NordVPN is widely known as one of the best services on the market, and while it's been overtaken in recent years by Express, it's still a force to be reckoned with. Plus, at just $3.71 a month, it's great value too.View Deal

3. Surfshark – great streaming and incredible value
One of the cheapest VPNs available, Surfshark is also a great choice for those spending time in Japan. With guaranteed access to streaming sites such as Netflix, iPlayer, TV Tokyo and Fuji TV, it offers mega value for just $2.49 a month.View Deal

The best Japan VPNs today

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.

Get 49% off plus 3 free months of the best Japan VPN
Tom’s Guide readers can get three free months of ExpressVPN by signing up to its 12 month plan – and you’ll be streaming Japan-exclusive content in minutes. However, if it’s not for you, ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee with all its plans, so there's no risk in case you change your mind.
View Deal

NordVPN - best japan VPN

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 – 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 140 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 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: 63 | 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.

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: just $2.49 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

cyberghost best japan VPN

(Image credit: Future)

4. CyberGhost

Tons of servers and great for streaming

Available on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux | Number of Japanese locations: 1 | Simultaneous connections: 7 | Server locations: 111 | Number of servers: 6,700+

Huge server list
Excellent streaming features
Reliable for torrenting
Apps are a little crude

With over 10 million users around the world, CyberGhost is a hugely popular option. It's not hard to see why either, as it boasts the widest server selection this list along with clever Smart Rules and streaming optimization.

What we really like is CyberGhost's filtering system, which selects the best server in your chosen country for certain tasks. That means torrenting or streaming servers can singled out to provide you with the best connection possible.

However, despite CyberGhost's regular streaming prowess and these filters, in our testing it was unable to access Netflix Japan. If you're just after security in the country that won't be an issue, but if you want to access all the exclusive anime that's available on there, you're best off going for one of the above services. 

While CyberGhost is a little let down by its streaming in Japan, it's very well priced and is a reliable Japan VPN contender. 

Sign up now on the CyberGhost 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.

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

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.

  • 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?