Do you like anime? What about Japanese game shows? Yes, you can stream some of them on the American version of Netflix.
But if it’s the latest releases and biggest hits you’re after, nothing beats Netflix Japan. It’s a treasure trove of over 5000 titles – anime, live-action, TV shows, and so much more!
Unfortunately, for those of us in the United States, Japanese Netflix is out of reach. By default, our location restricts us to the American version of the service.
Thankfully there is an easy way around that.
Did you know that the right VPN can unblock Netflix Japan – even when you’re thousands of miles away from the country? I do it all the time.
And that’s exactly what I’ll cover in this guide. I’ll show you how to watch Netflix Japan in the US – the safe, fast, and easy way!
How to Watch Japanese Netflix in the US
Netflix Japan has a huge streaming library that, sadly, is available only to local viewers. How can we get our hands on all that Japanese-only content in the USA?
We can trick Netflix into thinking we’re in Japan by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
When set up correctly, a VPN sends your traffic through a Japanese server. That makes the traffic look like it’s coming from Japan, and you like a local.
In the eyes of Netflix, you’re now a local, and access to all that excellent Japanese programming is yours.
Here’s a quick step-by-step of how to use a VPN to access Netflix Japan:
- Pick a VPN service that works with Japanese Netflix. My go-to for the last few years has been NordVPN.
- Install the VPN client app to your device and sign in with your credentials – you only need to this the first time.
- If it’s already running on your device, turn off Netflix by closing the app or browser.
- Using the VPN client, connect to a server in Japan.
- Open Netflix – you are now accessing the Japanese version of it.
- Kick up your feet and enjoy the show!
And, by the way, with this simple trick, you can access Netflix in any country you choose, not just Japan. Netflix UK, Germany, France… They’re all only a few clicks away.
However, there is one catch.
Netflix knows what VPNs can do, doesn’t like them much, and works aggressively to block as many of them as it can. Because of this, only a handful of providers can unblock it.
Pick the wrong one, and you’ll see this:
How do you know yours will work? Read on. A little further down, I’ll tell you what, in my experience, are the best VPNs for Japanese Netflix.
Switching Back to US Netflix
After binging on Netflix Japan, at some point, you’ll probably want to go back to the American version of the service. That’s easy too.
Simply close the browser or app where you were watching from and disconnect from the VPN.
Your traffic is no longer routed through a Japanese server, and you can once again access Netflix US.
Why VPNs Unblock Netflix in Other Countries
Netflix can tell where you are located based on your device’s IP address. That’s why when you’re in the US, you see Netflix US; if you’re in Canada, you see Netflix Canada, etc.
And, of course, if you’re in Japan (or at least Netflix thinks you are), you get access to that country’s version of the service.
VPNs are small controlled networks of servers you can use to access the internet. When connected to one, instead of going to the internet directly, your traffic first goes through a VPN server.
The server can be in any country. And, when you connect to it, your original IP address is hidden and replaced with a new one local to that location.
So, when you choose a Japan-based server, your device gets a Japanese IP. Netflix then sees your traffic as coming from inside the country and grants you access to the local library, just as it does to anyone physically in Japan.
As mentioned before, the one caveat is that Netflix is well aware of VPNs. They know how we can use them to get around their restrictions.
So, they try to ban VPN use by blocking their server IPs as much as they can.
That’s why not all VPNs work with Netflix (or any other streaming service for that matter).
Only a handful have the resources necessary to constantly detect and swap out IP addresses before Netflix blocks them. Those VPNs that do the best job of it are listed below.
Best VPNs to Watch Netflix Japan in the US
Before getting to my best VPNs for Japanese Netflix, let me quickly go over the three things any VPN needs before making the list.
First is performance. To avoid annoying waits and slowdowns, you need a high speed VPN with no bandwidth limits. Nothing ruins movie night like endless buffering.
Since you want to stream Netflix Japan, you also need to make sure your VPN has servers in Japan. Without them, you’re not fooling anyone into thinking you’re in the country.
Finally, make sure the VPN service actually unblocks Netflix – and does so consistently. Remember, not all do.
With that said, here are the most reliable VPNs that work for Netflix Japan.
NordVPN runs dozens of blazing fast servers in Japan. And that means problem-free streaming of that country’s version of Netflix.
Since their server network is so extensive, NordVPN can also add new IPs with ease. This way, if Netflix blacklists one address, another one quickly takes its place.
NordVPN is also secure, affordable, and so user-friendly that even the least techy among us can use it with ease. And they’re loaded with privacy features, too.
The service doesn’t have any speed or bandwidth limits either, ensuring shows load quickly and won’t freeze mid-fight-scene.
The combination of all the above makes NordVPN a favorite of so many of us (myself including) who watch Japanese Netflix in the US.
Oh, and all NordVPN subscriptions also come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. That gives you plenty of time to give it a try and experience it in action for yourself risk-free!
- Excellent download and upload speeds
- Large ever-expanding server network
- Great privacy with independently verified no logging policy
- Specialty servers (including double VPN, obfuscated, and Tor over VPN)
- Clean, easy to use client
- Works with Netflix and other streaming services
- Allows torrenting and P2P
- Offers dedicated IP addresses
- No split tunneling feature
- A bit pricey on shorter-term plans
A slightly newer provider to the market, Surfshark has quickly made a name for itself as an excellent choice for accessing geo-blocked streaming services.
And with Netflix Japan, they indeed do not disappoint.
Their state-of-the-art infrastructure and use of fast VPN protocols mean top performance. No annoying buffering here.
You also get unlimited concurrent connections, something no other VPN on this list does.
Surfshark also offers plenty of security and privacy features if you choose to use it for something other than streaming. And their excellent 24/7 customer support is always there to help.
But perhaps the best feature of Surfshark is the cost. Hands down, they’re the least expensive premium VPN around. No other provider lets you watch Japanese Netflix for such a low price.
- Excellent privacy and security with no logging
- Great server performance
- Unblocks Netflix, BBC, and many others
- Easy to use client
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Torrenting support network-wide
- Very inexpensive
- Inconsistent speeds at a few locations
- Fairly slow customer support
Using CyberGhost’s secure, lag-free connection is another great choice we have to unlock Netflix Japan.
And, with 112 locations worldwide, CyberGhost’s server list lets you access the Netflix library of just about any other country, too.
CyberGhost is one of only a handful of VPNs to offer dedicated, optimized streaming servers for many of the world’s top services. Netflix Japan makes that list, and those servers do indeed work beautifully.
If that’s not enough to convince you to consider CyberGhost, the provider also lets you connect up to seven devices at the same time and offers a strict no-log policy for maximum online privacy.
To top it off, CyberGhost gives you a very generous 45-day money-back guarantee – the longest in the industry. To me, that’s a show of confidence in just how good their product is.
- Zero logging for maximum privacy
- Excellent server distribution with over 6700 servers in 90 countries
- Very fast connection speeds
- Works with US Netflix and BBC iPlayer
- Allows P2P torrenting
- Long 45-day money-back guarantee
- Parent company with a questionable reputation
- Convoluted manual OpenVPN setup
- Doesn't work from China
Boasting a large global server network that includes 6535 countries, PureVPN is an excellent VPN for streaming abroad. Whatever Netflix library you want to access, they can hook you up.
Access to the Japanese version, of course, works very, very well.
Not only does PureVPN use multiple strategies to give you a quick connection, but they also recently upgraded their entire network. That makes them one fast VPN.
Privacy is also a strong point with PureVPN. And a few months back, they even submitted themselves to an independent security audit to prove their zero-logging claims.
With a very affordable price and a long 31-day money-back guarantee, PureVPN is a worthy consideration for all your Netflix Japan needs.
- Fast speeds
- Big server network (74 countries)
- Unblocks Netflix, iPlayer, and over 70 other streaming services
- Compatible with over 50 devices and platforms
- Independently verified zero log VPN provider
- Dedicated IP option
- Great value
- Apps could use a bit more polish
- Some intermittent connection problems
Though ExpressVPN has a reputation as a security champion, they also boast impressive performance and reliable access to streaming services like Netflix.
Their lightning-fast speeds allow you to watch content at even ultra HD quality with zero lag.
They’re also great at avoiding the Netflix IP blacklist, meaning no worries about that annoying proxy error message.
Beyond streaming, ExpressVPN is a zero-log provider, uses tough-as-nails 256-bit AES encryption, offers multiple military-grade security protocols, and even includes useful features like split tunneling.
Since ExpressVPN is marginally on the expensive side, always check for current sales – they can save you quite a bit. But, even if you were to pay full price, you more than get your money’s worth.
- A feature-rich and intuitive client
- Strong back-end technology
- Plenty of servers and server locations
- Fast and consistent connection speeds
- Works with US Netflix
- Top-notch customer support
- Some aggregated logging
- Not the cheapest
Netflix Japan vs. Netflix USA
So, why should we care about Japanese Netflix? Launched in 2015, the service quickly gained traction. At one point, they even had the largest Netflix library in the world!
The American version has since surpassed them with a total of 5819 titles available for watching, but it still has a limited Japanese content collection.
Sure, most anime eventually finds its way to United States streaming platforms. But those long-awaited projects always come out in Japan first.
New episodes, shows, and movies appear on Japanese Netflix much earlier than American Netflix.
Netflix Japan also has a vast selection of local productions like game shows, TV series, and films. It’s an excellent source of Japanese content and adapted English content alike – perfect for language learners.
And even if you’re not an anime fan, Japan Netflix can still help you learn tons about the culture, immerse yourself in the language, and find fun new programs to watch!
Why Netflix US Blocks Some Content
Netflix is a legal streaming service that buys distribution rights for all the programming it offers.
Some movies and series come with territorial licensing restrictions. This means Netflix can only show them in a specific country or area.
To avoid legal trouble, Netflix implements a process known as geo-blocking. It makes content available only to users in those territories where the service pays for a license.
And it’s no different for Netflix Japan’s massive library of anime, shows, and movies. Likely because it makes the most sense to them financially, Netflix licenses a lot of programming to stream only in Japan.
If you want to watch any of those shows, you either have to do it from within Japanese borders or use a VPN.
Is It Legal to Watch Netflix With a VPN in the US?
Short answer: Yes, it is legal.
While Netflix actively discourages VPN access, there are no laws that disallow it.
VPNs, on the other hand, encrypt your internet traffic and reroute it through their server. They disguise your real IP and are an excellent tool for protecting your online privacy.
All Americans are entitled to such protection, which is why there are no federal or state laws prohibiting VPN use.
Watching Netflix with a VPN would only be illegal if your country has banned VPNs. Since that is not the case in the United States, you’re completely safe to use them for that purpose.
Can You Use Free VPNs to Watch Japanese Netflix?
Why pay for a VPN when you can get it for free?
Because you get what you pay for. And, as a reminder, with free VPNs, you’re paying nothing. In other words:
- Free VPN servers can rarely unblock Netflix They don’t have enough resources to prevent getting blocked by the company and fixing things when they break.
- Most of them have speed and bandwidth limits that make for a very poor viewing experience.
- Many free VPNs contain malware – this study found signs of infection in 38% of them!
- They bombard you with ads and collect your information to share with third-party companies.
In general, free VPNs are bad news.
They don’t make money off subscriptions, so they show ads and sell your data instead. With free VPNs, you are the product, and your information ends up going to the highest bidder.
So, ultimately, your connection is neither safe nor private. And, you still can’t watch Netflix. Or, if you can, prepare yourself for a very choppy ride.
That’s not an experience I’d like to have, especially considering how inexpensive excellent premium VPN providers like NordVPN can be.
Without a doubt, Japanese Netflix is your best source of new anime episodes, movie releases, and Japanese TV shows. Unfortunately, its vast library is geo-blocked and unavailable to everyone outside the country, including those of us in the US.
But, with the right VPN, you can easily trick Netflix into thinking you’re in Japan and bypass those restrictions.
NordVPN is who I use to stream Netflix Japan. They have speedy servers, a vast network, affordable pricing, and a 30-day money-back guarantee – what more could you ask for?
And now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s watching time.