Netflix is an increasingly popular, and many people use it instead of an old fashioned television to watch movies and TV shows on their computers. With well over 6,000 unique titles, Japan has the largest Netflix library in the world, (yes, even bigger than the US!) This selection includes a ton of anime that isn’t available on other Netflix sites around the world. But what to do if you’re an anime aficionado or simply live the Japanese cinema, but don’t live in the country?
If you’re a Netflix user who wants to be able to watch Japanese movies and TV shows (plus more content from elsewhere in the world) then you need a VPN. With a virtual private network, you can unblock and access the Japanese Netflix service from anywhere in the world, giving you access to loads of content that isn’t available in your region. Read on to find out more and to see our recommendations for the best VPN for Netflix Japan.
Why Some Content Is Only Available On Netflix Japan
So how is it that Netflix can show some content in Japan, but not elsewhere? The answer is to do with copyright restrictions. When a service like Netflix wants to be able to stream a particular movie or TV show, they must pay the copyright holder for the rights to show it. However, the rights have to be purchased separately for each country. So you could buy the rights to stream a film in the Japan, but you would have to buy the rights to stream the same movie in US separately.
This means that Netflix does not pay for the rights for all of their content for all countries. It’s a matter of return on investment; why pay for streams in countries where anime isn’t popular? What makes good business sense can leave foreign fans of Japanese entertainment in the dark, but fortunately there is a workable solution.
Using A VPN To Unblock Netflix
Despite copyright restrictions, the good news for Netflix users is that it is in fact possible to watch content from other countries using a virtual private network. A VPN works by installing software onto the device that you are using to access Netflix, which encrypts all of the data that your device sends over the internet. This encrypted data is then passed to a server run by your VPN company, where it is decrypted and sent on to its original location.
The advantage of this encryption-and-proxy process is not only an improvement in your online security and privacy, but also the ability to get around regional restrictions. When you connect to a VPN server, your data appears to originate from the location of the server rather than your actual location. You will be assigned an IP address corresponding to the country of the server rather than your real IP address. This means that if you are based in the US and then connect to a server in the Japan, you will be assigned a Japanese IP address. Then, when you visit the Netflix website, the site will think that you are coming from the Japan and therefore let you access all of the Netflix Japan content, even though you are actually based in the US.
The only problem with this process is that Netflix has started to use VPN blocking software to stop users from using a VPN on their site. This VPN blocking software detects if a VPN is being used through criteria such as whether there are multiple users accessing the site from the same IP address, or whether your IP address is in a range known to be used by VPN services. If the software detects VPN use, then your connection will be refused and you won’t be able to stream Netflix videos. This is why most VPNs don’t work with Netflix any more. However, the good news is that there are still some VPNs that do work with Netflix, and we’ve identified the particular providers that users can use to unblock the service.
Editor’s note: there is an ongoing battle of blocking and unblocking efforts between Netflix and VPNs. All our recommendations make a noble attempt at staying ahead of the game, but it is inevitable that there will be times when when Netflix prevails and blocks even the best VPNs. In such case, we recommend that you try various servers apart from the ones previously proven to work. Barring that, the best antidote for the problem is giving VPN providers time to adapt, which can range from a few hours to several weeks. Unfortunate, but that’s the price you pay for unlimited global content. We’ll take it!
VPNs To Unblock Netflix Japan
In order to find the best VPN provider for your needs to unblock Netflix Japan, we considered the following factors:
- VPN that works with Netflix. As not every VPN provider works to let you unblock Netflix, we look for the specific VPNs that do work to let you access other regional versions of Netflix like Netflix US.
- A large network of servers so that you have plenty of options to choose from when you come to connection to your VPN. It also helps to have servers in many different countries for best flexibility.
- Fast connection speeds so that you can stream video content in high definition with no buffering, and so you can also download large files quickly without any delays.
- Software support for different operating systems so that you can install the software on any of the devices that you use to watch Netflix, which could include you phone, your computer, your smart TV, or your games console.
- Excellent security. As well as letting you unblock Netflix, a good VPN will improve you cyber security by keeping you safe from hacking attacks and other online threats.
When we looked at each of these factors we came up with the following recommendations for VPN providers for unblocking Netflix Japan:
1 – ExpressVPN – Overall Best
ExpressVPN is the all around winner of VPN services, with no compromises in the areas of security, speed, and ease of use. It is the most reliable VPN that we’ve come across in our testing of VPNs that work with Netflix. You can see the guide on the website for more information about using ExpressVPN to watch Netflix, or just reach out to their customer service department if you’re having trouble.
As the name suggests, ExpressVPN has super fast connections which are perfect for streaming, as well as strong security with 256-bit encryption and a no logging policy on usage data. There is a massive network of servers to choose from, with with over 1500 servers in 145 different locations in 94 countries. The software is available for Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, and Linux, plus some games consoles and modems.
- Unblocks American Netflix, iPlayer, Hulu
- Superfast servers (minimal speed loss)
- Torrenting allowed
- No personal information logs kept
- Great support (24/7 chat).
- Limited configuration options
- Priced slightly higher.
Read our full ExpressVPN review here.
2 – CyberGhost – New User Friendly
CyberGhost is the ideal VPN for new users who want a simple and easy to use VPN. In order to use the CyberGhost service, you just have to open up the software and select Unblock Streaming. Then you’ll see a drop down menu with options, and you select Netflix. Now you will be connected to a server that gives you access to Netflix and all the settings and configuration will be taken care of for you automatically. It’s a snap to set up and the connections are plenty fast for streaming HD videos.
In addition to ease of use, the security is also good with 256-bit encryption and a no logging policy. If you want to connect to a server manually then you can do so, and you can choose from a network of 1300 servers in nearly 60 countries. For help troubleshooting connecting or streaming issues with Netflix, their customer support team is just a call or email away! The software is available for iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac OS.
- Unblocks US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube
- 3,600+ servers, 55+ countries
- 2,048-bit RSA keys and SHA256 authentication
- Zero logs
- 24h support.
- Can’t unblock some popular streaming sites.
Read our full CyberGhost review here.
3 – PureVPN – Complete Securit
PureVPN‘s offering goes beyond other providers on the market. In addition to standard VPN functionality, a subscription to PureVPN nets you a whole security suite that can be used to protect your device. These features include anti malware and anti virus protection, an anti spam filter for your email inbox, DDoS protection, app filtering, a kill switch, a dedicated IP address, and a NAT firewall. The software is available for Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, and Android TV devices, plus there are browser extensions available for the Chrome and Firefox browsers.
Of course, PureVPN is also a popular choice for users who want to unblock Netflix. Please note that your mileage may vary with countries outside the US, including Japan. Netflix is adamant about cracking down on VPNs, and PureVPN is no exception. It makes our list for the same reason that all others do: The provider is dedicated to countering these blocking measures. If you can’t seem to get your anime fix from Netflix Japan, just give it some time!
You can see information about using Netflix with the PureVPN service on their website along with a guide on troubleshooting Netflix errors. Don’t hesitate to reach out to their customer help line if you don’t find these resources immediately useful!
There is some content which is only available on Netflix Japan or other regional versions of the site and is not available on Netflix elsewhere. If you are a Netflix user who loves Japanese media and you want to unblock the service to access content on Netflix from anywhere in the world, then you need a VPN.
With a VPN you can get around regional restrictions to stream any content available on any regional version of Netflix. Unfortunately, Netflix’s VPN blocking efforts are super effective vs. most providers. The ones we’ve listed above have a proven track record of keeping ahead of the game, so if you find your desired content is still blocked, you can trust your VPN to do whatever they can to make it right. Just be patient!
Do you use a VPN with Netflix? Which VPN provider have you found to be best? Let us know in the comments below.