The Internet is free and open in Japan, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use a VPN in the Land of the rising Sun. For instance, you may want to access popular video streaming services from the West, such as US Netflix, HBO Max, and Hulu.
Or you just want to keep a low profile on the web? With a VPN, you can do just that as it will encrypt everything you do online, making it impossible even for your ISP to know “what you did last summer.”
And the same goes for accessing public Wi-Fi hotspots, which all of us end up using at some point. Thanks to VPN’s built-in encryption, no one can snoop into your traffic to potentially get ahold of your personal data.
We’ve just scratched the surface here. The bottom line is that you need a VPN and here are your best options for Japan:
- 5,000+ servers in the network
- Easy to use - install it and forget it
- One license is good for up to 6 devices
- Strict zero-logs policy
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Chrome extension is just a proxy
- You can't pay with PayPal
Its network includes more than 5,000 servers spread across 60 countries, which directly translates into faster speeds. NordVPN is also very secure, relying on the strong 256-bit encryption combined with secure VPN protocols (OpenVPN, WireGuard, IKEv2/IPSec). But as a user, you get a seamless experience with all this technology "doing its thing" in the background.
NordVPN is well suited to pretty much every task you throw at it — whether it's accessing a banned site from some country that filters out the internet, torrenting, accessing streaming services, or just wanting to keep a low profile on the web. It also doesn't keep any logs.
We highly recommend NordVPN to anyone looking for reliable service.
- Feature-rich yet easy to use
- One of the best VPNs around
- Strong no-logging policy
- Reliable support you can reach 24/7
- Limited number of servers in Africa and the Middle East
- Kinda pricey
ExpressVPN has great desktop apps for Windows and Mac, mobile apps and browser extensions. Also, it is well suited for video streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and others.
However, what makes it stand out is its ease of use. We can't emphasize this enough. One could tell a lot of time has been spent making sure even the advanced features are easily accessible. And we love it for that. Plus, let's not forget ExpressVPN's speed which tends to leave other services in the dust.
- It's super fast!
- Works with Netflix, BBC and others
- Easy to use apps, browser extensions
- You can try it for free!
- Some advanced features are not configurable
- Not the best for high-censorship countries
Furthermore, thanks to the availability of browser extensions - Hotspot Shield is also one of our top choices for Chrome and Firefox VPNs.
Your privacy is equally well protected, with the software only collecting some anonymized that help continually improve its service.
There is one caveat though - it won't work in high-censorship countries like China. If you don't need that in the first place, we highly recommend Hotspot Shield.
As that's typically the case with most VPN services out there, the longer you commit - the better deal you get. However, what makes Hotspot Shield even better is the fact that it offers a 7-day free trial of its service. A few other top VPN providers do the same. Plus, its money-back guarantee lasts for 45 days, making for a risk-free purchase. Cause, you can always get your money back. Sweet and just the way we like it.
- One the best VPNs for torrenting
- Works well with Netflix
- Simple setup on all popular devices
- Strict zero-logs policy
- Doesn't work with BBC iPlayer
- Doesn't work in China
Its desktop apps are not among the prettiest ones, but they get the job done. The important thing is that installation is easy and straightforward, and that no logs are kept by the company.
When it comes to pricing, IPVanish is somewhere in the middle — it's not the most affordable option but also not the most expensive one. As noted, it will be most appreciated by heavy BitTorrent users, and — related — Kodi fans.
- Reliable download and upload speeds
- Works with Netflix and BBC iPlayer
- Strict zero-logs policy
- Lets you use it on unlimited number of devices
- Low number of servers in Africa and Australia
You can rely on it for streaming and torrenting, with included extra features like CleanWeb and MultiHop, delivering a that much better — and more secure — experience.
Surfshark, the company, is based in the British Virgin Islands and with its zero-logs policy makes for a powerful combo to anyone looking to keep its web whereabouts under the radar.
The service is easy to use and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Censorship in Japan
Censorship in Japan is prohibited by the country’s constitution, but it is mandated with regards to pornography (Article 175 of the Criminal Code of Japan). Recently, this law has been interpreted to mean that all pornography must be at least partly censored, though there have been very few arrests based on this.
When it comes to Internet censorship, it’s pretty much non-existent with Freedom House rating Japan “free” with scores as low as 22.
Neither visible government restrictions on Internet access nor reports that the government checks on e-mail or Internet chat rooms without judicial oversight in the country exist. An independent press, an effective judiciary, and a functioning democratic political system unite to protect these rights.
However, there are concerns that the government indirectly encourages self-censorship practices. A Reporters Without Borders survey concluded that media self-censorship has risen in response to legal changes and government criticism.
To make for an even friendlier environment for the users, the 2001 Provider Liability Limitation Act directs ISPs to establish a self-regulatory framework to govern take-down requests involving illegal or objectionable content, defamation, privacy violations, and copyright infringement. Industry associations produced guidelines where anyone can report material that infringes directly on their personal rights to the service provider, either to have it removed or to find out who posted it.
From that point on, the provider notifies the individual who posted the content, and either fulfills the request with their permission or removes the content without the authors’ approval if they fail to respond within two weeks. If the poster refuses permission, the service provider is authorized to assess the complaint for themselves, and comply if they believe it is legitimate.
Legislation criminalizing the use of the Internet for child pornography and the solicitation of sex from minors was passed in 2003.
Also worth noting is that amendments to the copyright law in 2012 criminalized intentionally downloading content that infringes on copyright. There were calls for civil rather than criminal penalties in such cases. Downloading this content may be punishable by up to 2 years’ imprisonment.
You need a VPN for Japan…
And not only to be able to anonymously download stuff from BitTorrent, but also to get wider anonymity on the Internet.
There is no reason to leave your digital footprints all around the place, as it could be used against you. And when we say that, we mean that the likes of Google and Facebook will get all this data, put it through some fancy algorithms and serve you more personalized ads. This, in turn, makes you a product they could sell to interested brands.
And that’s something we don’t like. Why in the world would anyone want to be a product when you can protect yourself from this for just a few dollars per month — that’s how much even the best VPNs cost.
Plus, a VPN will keep you protected while accessing public Wi-Fi hotspots, encrypting all data traveling between your devices and the rest of the Internet. This way, a VPN prevents the so-called “man in the middle” attacks, which have been growing in “popularity” in recent years.
To sum it up, all of us need a VPN these days and we need it for many situations, including for:
- Accessing content that could otherwise be restricted in your physical location.
- Preventing tracking and minimizing your digital footprint so that no one can track you online (at least not that easily).
- Avoiding throttling from your ISP – which is known to happen when you’re torrenting or accessing video streaming services.
- Bypassing firewalls in a workplace, university, school and so on.
- Bypassing censorship in places like China, North Korea, countries in the Middle East, and even Turkey and Russia.
- Securely connecting to public Wi-Fi hotspots – with a VPN encrypting all the traffic coming to and from your devices.
The bottom line is – get a VPN that fits all your needs. The top contenders include the following: