The best Japan VPN in 2023

best japan VPN
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Whether you live in Japan or you're just visiting the Nippon islands, one of the best VPN services can be a handy tool to optimize all your devices in a couple of clicks.  

That's because a VPN for Japan boosts your online privacy and security by encrypting all the data leaving your device to prevent intruders from spying on you. It also grants better anonymity as it hides users' real location making them appear as if they are on the other side of the world in no time. This feature actually opens up to many different use cases. 

By connecting to one of its international servers, a Japan VPN allows you to bypass geo-restrictions that streaming platforms apply on their content. This means that you'll be able to keep up with your favorite TV shows while traveling, for example. Likewise, you can access content restricted by your school, workplace or government firewalls as well. 

A VPN for Japan can even improve your gaming experience, or grant better protection when torrenting.  A nifty piece of software that offers plenty of great features and better functionality for a plethora of devices, we've tried and tested the best Japan VPN so that you don't have to. Keep reading below to see our top five choices to meet all your needs.

Today's top 3 best Japan VPNs:

1. ExpressVPN is the #1 best Japan VPN (opens in new tab)

1. ExpressVPN is the #1 best Japan VPN (opens in new tab)
ExpressVPN has the strongest overall VPN game in the world right now, so it's only natural that it would top our Japan VPN list, too. Picture a great combination of speed, security and simplicity to use, and then mix in a 30-day money back guarantee and three months extra free. Happy days!

2. NordVPN - the biggest name in the VPN world (opens in new tab)

2. NordVPN - the biggest name in the VPN world (opens in new tab)
NordVPN is worth a look if your number one consideration is security. It's 'Double VPN' and 'Onion Over' options will ensure peace of mind in that department, and its custom-built NordLynx protocol enables great speeds across the globe, too.

3. Surfshark - the most affordable Japan VPN (opens in new tab)

3. Surfshark - the most affordable Japan VPN (opens in new tab)
After a feature-packed, easy-to-use VPN that won't cost a fortune? Surfshark is one of the most competitively priced providers out there, while still offering premium features and a sleek interface that feels anything but cheap.

How to choose the best Japan VPN

Unfortunately there's no straight answer as this really depends on your own needs. However, there are a few characteristics that you should look out for in any case. 

A VPN is primarily a security software that aims to protect your privacy. This means that a reliable encryption together with different protocols to choose from, a good range of security options and a clear no-logs privacy policy are the backbone of your service. 

You should also make sure that your next Japan VPN offers a diverse network of servers across the world, including some within the nation border to safely browse locally. All the providers listed below fulfill this description. 

Then, you need to think of how you want to use your software. Are you a keen gamer? Fast speeds are a must here. Looking to unblock streaming platforms? Pick a provider with reliable unlocking skills. It is also worth noting that many services like Netflix are trying hard to prevent this, so that features like obfuscation technology or streaming DNS option are a good addition here.

The best Japan VPNs in 2023:

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1. ExpressVPN

Simply the number #1 VPN for Japan (and everywhere)

Japan-based servers in: Tokyo, Yokohama and Shibuya | Number of servers: 3,000+ | Server locations: 160 | Maximum devices supported: 5

Ultra-reliable kill switch
Super helpful customer support
Great mobile apps
Unlocks loads of sites and services
Fewer simultaneous connections than some others
No the fastest VPN

Best Japan VPN 2023 - Get 3 months free with an annual plan (opens in new tab)

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The best all round virtual private network is ExpressVPN, making it perfect for Japan. That's largely thanks to its superb security with enterprise-level encryption, its very own WireGuard based Lightway protocol and a ton of strong security features like its ultra-reliable kill switch. Plus, its native apps for all major devices and platforms are some of the best we have seen.

For accessing otherwise geo-blocked content, ExpressVPN is perfect as it offers a one-click jump between countries and even has 24/7 customer support with advice to help you get the fastest connection for what you're doing. It's also worth noting it's one of the only VPNs that still functions well as a Netflix VPN. Actually, in our recent testing we've been able to unblock every platform we try.

It is worth noting, though, that ExpressVPN peak speeds dropped from 630 to 560Mbps this time, but our cybersecurity specialist Mike Williams assures that these results should be more than enough for most users. 

Security is also excellent with DNS content unblocking and leak protection, P2P support, Bitcoin payment options, a no logging policy and a kill switch. Plus you can try it for free for a month using the 30-day money-back guarantee.

The only real negative is that you can only use this on five devices at any one time. But since you can set this up on the router or even opt for its own VPN built-in router Aircove, that helps bypass that issue at home. 

Get the best Japan VPN 2022 with 3 months FREE (opens in new tab)

Get the best Japan VPN 2022 with 3 months FREE (opens in new tab)
You can tell that we really rate Express - it's the VPN we'd choose if we were getting one! And the good news is that TechRadar readers can get a little perk, too. ExpressVPN has agreed to give readers three months extra free when you sign up - fantastic value for a brilliant Japan VPN.

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2. NordVPN

An emphasis on security from NordVPN

Japan-based servers : Yes | Number of servers: 5,600+ | Server locations: 60 countries | Maximum devices supported: 6

Ultra secure double encryption
Some of the fastest speeds
Double kill switches
Great unblocking skills
Other VPNs have better mobile apps
Basic browser extensions

NordVPN is the one of the most secure ways to get online thanks to its double encryption at 2048-bit. Plus, it has not one but two kill switches along with strong DNS leak protection. Bitcoin and PayPal payment options help add another layer of anonymity. This all spans a whopping 5,400+ servers spread over 60 countries giving great performance in Japan...or anywhere else for that matter.

A great addition this time around, its new Meshnet option allows you to connect your and other devices via encrypted NordVPN connections to create your own secure mesh network. That makes it perfect if you want to protect your workload across multiple devices. 

Speaking of performance, NordVPN offers one of the most reliable experiences when it comes to its speed performance, peaking at 820Mbps. This is promising for those after a consistently strong connection that will hold up against just about any task including online gaming and streaming.

The special SmartPlay service helps you get around geo-restricted content for the likes of BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, and so on in Japan. In fact, NordVPN is perhaps our go-to for a strong streaming VPN.

While we're not fans of its smartphone map-orientated interface, this is quite a subjective flaw. NordVPN is otherwise excellent, providing speedy live chat support if and when you're not in need of assistance.

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3. Surfshark

The go-to name for an affordable - yet premium - VPN

Japan-based servers: Tokyo | Number of servers: 3,200+ | Server locations: 65 countries | Maximum devices supported: Unlimited

Great pricing
Use on as many devices as you like
Improved WireGuard speeds
Unblocks Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Disney Plus, and Amazon Prime Video
Below average OpenVPN speeds
Kill switch issues in extreme situations

Perhaps, the main reason to download Surfshark is its tiny price. Grab it and you'll have a VPN for Japan that costs less than the equivalent of $2.50 USD per month. That's one cheap VPN - and it doesn't skimp on features or overall performance for that price, either. What's more, an unlimited connection allowance allows you to cover all your household's devices with just one subscription.  

There's plenty more reasons to like it. Its Windows, Mac, iOS and Android clients are super easy to download, install and use. And for unblocking it's one of the few VPNs that gave us access to Japanese Netflix, as well as BBC iPlayer, Hulu and more. For streaming, Surfshark gets full marks all-round. 

Bolstered by its recent improvement in its speeds, Surfshark reached a staggering 950Mbps with WireGuard protocol during our last testing making it the fastest VPN around right now. However, speeds are below average when you connect through OpenVPN. This promises a stable and speedy connection through its 3,200+ servers based in 65 countries around the world, including in Tokyo, Japan.

In terms of security, Surfshark surely doesn't disappoint either. The proviper is packed with many features like its own obfuscation technology to bypass VPN blocks, DNS protection, split tunnelling and even an extra protection layer with its Double VPN hop. 

Its kill switch isn't always super reliable, though. We experienced some minor issues but only across its Windows apps and under extreme testing. Nothing to worry about if you use Surfshark on mobile or as a reliable Mac VPN.

cyberghost japan vpn

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4. CyberGhost

Get personal with this highly-configurable VPN

Japan-based servers in: Tokyo | Number of servers: 9,100+ | Server locations: 91 countries | Maximum devices supported: 7

Lots of server locations
Great performance
Speedy live chat help
Loads of features
Access is limited by device, not connection
Support site isn't the best

When it comes to server networks, Cyberghost will amaze you with over a whopping 9,100+ servers spread across 91 countries including over 100 in the Japanese capital only. It even comes complete with advert and malicious site blocking, automated HTTPS redirection and optional data compression to save you money on the move if you're exploring Japan.

Thanks to its Smart Rules panel this Japan VPN will automatically find the best servers to suit the job of what you're streaming, meaning access to BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Hulu, US Netflix, and so on will have the best geo-restriction removals. This is just one of the many advanced functionalities. 

It is worth noting, though, that we were less impressed by its performances this time around. Its unlocking power wasn't the best — it failed to unlock UK Netflix and Disney Plus, but it managed to do so with US Netflix — so were its top speeds. However, a solid 730Mbps when connected to the WireGuard protocol still beats the likes of ExpressVPN. 

The interface might be complex at times, but it does mean lots more personalization options for those wishing to delve deeper. However, it still lacks a full security audit on its apps - at the time of writing, only a no-logging audit has been released. Still not sure? CyberGhost is actually a rarity as a VPN with a free trial. With the CyberGhost free trial, you can test it out for 24 hours on desktop and mobile. 

Proton VPN being used on a various devices.

(Image credit: Proton VPN)
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5. ProtonVPN

A great free choice with an excellent upgrade

Japan-based servers: Tokyo and Osaka | Number of servers: 1,800+ | Server locations: 64 countries | Maximum devices supported: 10

Improved free network coverage
Free plan with unlimited bandwidth
Open source, audited apps
Tons of security features
Need Plus plan for streaming unblocking
Support site quite complex

ProtonVPN has gone from strength-to-strength lately, from usability to security and performance - and it finds itself as a great one to recommend for those after a VPN for Japan, too.

Of its 1,800+ servers, there are 99 Secure Core servers that reroutes your traffic via one of Proton's servers in privacy-friendly countries like Iceland, Sweden, or Switzerland before then going through the server in your desired country. As a Japan VPN, you can both use its Secure Core network as well as its 28 regular servers based across Tokyo and Osaka while keeping a Japan IP. 

The Swiss-based provider is also a great option for those looking for a reliable and secure free VPN. Despite some limitations - you need to upgrade for streaming unblocking and P2P support - the freemium plan comes with unlimited bandwidth and an improved network coverage counting over 100 free servers dotted across three the Netherlands, the US, and Japan.

As mentioned above, you'll likely want to upgrade to its Plus plan (which is on the pricier side) for full rein of its maximum speeds and features, including its ability to unblock Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and more. 

It is worth noting, though, that in terms of speeds  its performances were less memorable this time, dropping from 670 to 510Mbps with WireGuard and from 440 to 210Mbps with OpenVPN. 

Best Japan VPN

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Best Japan VPN: FAQ

Are VPNs legal in Japan?

Not to worry, the use of a VPN in Japan is completely legal. While some countries do have bans and restrictions on the use of VPN services - including China and North Korea - Japan is not one of them. In fact, you'll find its internet policing is all but non-existent.

What is a Japan VPN for?

A VPN has multiple uses, both in offering an additional layer of security, especially when using public networks to get online, as well as spoofing your location in order to access content locked to specific regions. 

When it comes to a Japan VPN, our VPN choices ensure you'll be able to appear as if you're right at home when you're off travelling with servers based in locations across Japan. This means you can access certain services like normal, including native TV broadcasts and Japan's Netflix library. 

Whether you're abroad or not, you may also face geo-restrictions when at work in the office, or in school, with certain websites and apps banned to circumvent time spent on social media instead of working.

How can I watch Netflix Japan VPN?

It's easy. Many of our choices for a Japan VPN also feature in our best Netflix VPN guide. All you have to do to access the Japanese Netflix library when outside of the country is to hop on one of your chosen VPN's servers based in Japan, load up Netflix and you'll be able to access titles exclusive to the country.

More on this:

  • Breach the 'Great Firewall' with the best China VPN

Luke Edwards

Luke is a freelance writer and editor with over two decades of experience covering tech, science and health. Among many others he writes across Future titles covering health tech, software and apps, VPNs, TV, audio, smart home, antivirus, broadband, smartphones, cars and plenty more. He also likes to climb mountains, swim outside and contort his body into silly positions while breathing as calmly as possible.

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