Best VPN for Japan

Updated Jan. 26, 2024 11:00 a.m. PT


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Mae has always been fascinated with technology. From teaching her parents to send their first email to writing about antivirus software and VPNs. She has always enjoyed learning about the latest cybersecurity and teaching others how to stay safe online.

Expertise Computer software, VPNs, Antiviruses, PC games, PC help guides

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Traveling can be stressful, especially when you also worry about protecting your online data when you visit a new place. If you’re going to Japan (or any other country), it’s a great idea to start looking for a virtual private network (VPN) to protect your privacy by encrypting your internet traffic in a private tunnel while you’re online.

Whether traveling for business or pleasure, a VPN is essential to protect your data while abroad, especially given Japan’s close intelligence-sharing relationship with the Five Eyes Alliance. A VPN will also help access content that might not be viewable in Japan, like your Netflix’s US library, US-related news sites or local home websites. This list includes the top VPN providers for Japan, all rigorously tested by CNET to find the best one to use before your travels.

Using a VPN in Japan is necessary to protect your privacy and data from prying eyes like the government, ISPs and more. Although Japan has no censorship laws regarding the internet, it still has heavy surveillance. A VPN will protect your personal information using Japanese internet connections and allow you to stay anonymous while in the country. Plus, using a VPN will allow you to stream US-only content.

After running several extensive tests, we have established a thorough list of the best VPNs for Japan, the winner being ExpressVPN. Its full suite of premium security features makes it the most protective app on the market. It has impressive speeds for streaming, internet browsing and or uploading vacation pictures in Japan. A close runner-up would be NordVPN due to its lightning-fast speeds and large Japanese server network.


IPVanish is a simple-to-use VPN with great streaming speeds and a decent security suite. It’s the perfect VPN for beginners due to its simple user interface and provides unlimited connections. Unfortunately, it’s not the best VPN for Japan due to its limited server limit (only about 20 servers in Tokyo) and inconsistent speeds. Its speed testing results were all over the place, making it hard to stream or use the internet. Plus, its Quick Connect button sometimes just didn’t do what it advertised. Although we tested this only in the US, considering its differing speed results outside the country, I don’t recommend trying it in Japan.

Read our IPVanish review.

Private Internet Access (PIA)

PIA is a fantastic VPN with high-end security features, an independently audited no-logs policy and affordable rates that can compete with Surfshark. Despite all it has to offer, we don’t recommend using it in Japan due to its limited Japanese server network (one server location in Tokyo and no mention of how many servers) and poor streaming capabilities. PIA had difficulty unblocking multiple streaming sites while testing in the US.

Read our PIA review.

Privacy is among our top considerations when we test out each VPN, but we also look at results for speeds, streaming, value and server network size when determining which VPN is the best for Japan. Besides looking out for top-notch encryptions and security features, we always read and research each VPN’s privacy policy. Some VPNs intentionally save your data to sell to third parties, so we look for privacy-friendly elements like a strict no-logs policy (even if they’re difficult to prove). On top of that, when a VPN has been independently audited, it shows a proven track record that they hold their word.

Equally crucial to security features is the server network, with a decent number of US (so you won’t have any issues accessing home content abroad) and Japanese servers (to connect to local news and search results). While traveling, other key benefits like speed and streaming capabilities are high on our list, so we can test how capable each VPN is at unblocking and streaming content when you’re outside the US. Note that speed test numbers are based on US testing, but should still be representative of speeds you’ll see elsewhere.

There are hundreds of VPNs on the market, so we used these key factors to test and determine which VPN will be the best overall in Japan.


The best VPNs for privacy will have top security features like 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, and a no-logs policy to ensure your data stays safe in Japan.


We searched through VPNs with a vast server selection (with dozens of locations) to get the best selection of connections. Additionally, we also wanted the largest Japanese and US server networks as well.

Streaming capabilities:

Finding a VPN with strong geo-unblocking capabilities is essential to stream all your favorite content while traveling in Japan. We’ve tested the best VPN for streaming specifically for those results.


Fast speeds are important as every VPN will always slow down your internet connection. Finding a fast VPN (like NordVPN) will allow you to stream in UHD and use the internet without any slowdown. 


We compared the price with the number of security features and benefits we got from each VPN, ensuring each one had the best value. VPNs with a discounted annual plan or a money-back guarantee are the best option, but sometimes, a cheap VPN will work well in Japan.

You only need a VPN with Japanese servers to get a Japanese IP address. Whether you’re in the US, Japan or another location, it doesn’t matter as long as your VPN can connect to a Japanese server. Simply download a VPN (I recommend ExpressVPN as CNET’s top VPN for Japan), choose a Japanese server and press the connect button to get a Japan IP address.

Yes, setting up and using a VPN is completely legal in Japan. The country has no laws against using a VPN for your online privacy, but it has a close intelligence-sharing relationship with the Five Eyes Alliance. It is unofficially considered a “sixth eye.” And remember that, you’ll still get in trouble if you’re using a VPN for illegal activities. For example, Japan has some of the strictest file-sharing copyrighted material laws. Many VPNs support torrenting, which sometimes includes file-sharing copyrighted content, which could get you in legal trouble if you do so in the country.

A free VPN will work in Japan, but I only recommend using Proton VPN as it’s the only reliable free VPN we’ve tested. Most free VPNs lack many security features compared to a premium one, have a limited server list, or usually have data restrictions that limit how much you can use the VPN. More importantly, many free VPNs are just unsafe to use, as they’ll sell your data to make money.

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