If you travel a lot, or if you love to consume Japanese media like watching anime or reading manga, then you’ve likely come across issues with region locked websites before. Region locking, also known as geo locking, refers to the practice of restricting access to a website based on the visitor’s geographical location. Some Japanese sites use region locking to prevent users from outside of Japan from viewing their content.
This region locking is achieved by examining the visitor’s IP address and determining if that address originated in Japan. If it did, then the user is served the content. If it is not, then the content will not be displayed. For this reason, many people who live outside of Japan would like to have access to a Japanese IP address. They could be Japanese expats living abroad, people from Japan who often travel to other countries, or people seeking to learn Japanese and improve their language skills.
If you are outside of Japan and want to access content on Japanese websites like TV Asahi or Netflix Japan (which, unlike other versions of Netflix, has a massive catalogue of anime that you can stream) then you’ll need a Japanese IP address. Below we’ll explain why this is and then give you tips on how to get a Japanese IP address from anywhere.
What Is An IP Address?
In order to understand how to get a Japanese IP address, it helps to know how IP addresses are assigned. An IP address, or Internet Protocol address, is a string of digits which is assigned to your device whenever you join a network. So, for example, when you go to your friend’s house and connect to their wifi, the network will assign you an IP address. This IP address is unique to your device and is used to route data. So, if you use your phone to pull up Twitter, then the network sends out a request for data to Twitter’s servers. This data is sent from Twitter back to the wifi network, and your IP address is used so that the Twitter data is sent to your phone and not your friend’s computer.
The reason that IP addresses can be used in region locking is that each IP address contains information about the location of the originating network. For example, IP addresses in the range of 188.8.131.52 to 184.108.40.206 are assigned to Japan. So if your IP address falls into this range then websites can see that you are browsing from Japan.
This means that when you visit a site, it’s easy for that site to see where you are located.
Appear Somewhere Else By Spoofing Your Location
In order to access websites from Japan, you need to do what is called location spoofing. This means that you acquire a Japanese IP address so that it looks to websites as if you are based in Japan, even if you are actually located elsewhere. Then you can access all of the content that you want as freely as if you were actually in Japan.
The best way to get a Japanese IP address is to use a VPN, which is a piece of software that you install onto your device. The software then encrypts all of the data that your device sends over the internet and routes this data via a server located in another country. If you connect to a server in Japan, you will be assigned a Japanese IP address and it will appear to websites as if you are accessing them from Japan.
Why Use A VPN?
In addition to letting you spoof your location and get an IP address from elsewhere, there are more reasons to use a VPN that you should consider:
- Better security. Protect yourself from hacking attempts on public wifi and scams like phishing or vishing by encrypting all of your data before it is sent over the internet.
- Get around censorship. If you live somewhere with heavy internet censorship, then using a VPN allows you to get around this censorship and browse the web as freely as you can in Japan.
- Protect your privacy. You don’t want any outsiders tracking your internet activities or reading your emails, so encrypting all of this data prevents anyone else from observing you or recording information about what you do online.
- Download safely. If you’re going to download copyrighted files, especially if you use peer to peer methods like torrents, then you are at risk for fines or prosecution. Keep yourself safe from this by using a VPN so that your ISP cannot see if you are downloading.
How We Choose A VPN Provider To Recommend
In order to get access to a VPN to use for your Japanese IP address, you’ll need a subscription for a VPN provider. Although there are free VPN options out there, we strongly advise against using them as free VPNs actually make you less safe by selling off your data and even allowing other companies to access your device. Instead, we think it’s well worth it to pay the modest fee for a trustworthy, reliable paid VPN service.
Even within the realm of paid VPN providers, however, there are still hundreds of options to choose from. How do you know which provider is right for you, and how do you know which providers will give you access to a Japanese IP address? To help you answer these questions, we’ve put together a list of recommended VPNs for you to browse through.
The way we choose VPN providers for recommendation is based on the following most important factors:
- Plenty of servers in many different countries including Japan, so that you can get a Japanese IP address or an IP address from another country like the US, Canada, or the UK
- Strong security features, so that you will be kept safe through the use of strong 256-bit encryption and so that your privacy will be protected by a no logging policy
- Fast connections, so that your VPN doesn’t slow you down and you can still perform bandwidth-heavy tasks like streaming high definition video or downloading large files
- Software support for multiple operating systems, so that you can install the software on all of your devices and protect all devices using just one VPN subscription
The best VPNs for a Japanese IP address are:
When we looked at these four factors, these are the VPN providers that we recommend for users who want a Japanese IP address:
ExpressVPN is a one of those most popular VPNs among internet users in the know because it offers the best of all worlds: fast connections, excellent security, and easy to use software. When you purchase a subscription to ExpressVPN you’ll get access to their massive network of servers, which covers more than 1500 servers in 145 locations in 94 different countries, including 2 servers at 2 different locations in Japan. This means that you can get an IP address from Japan or from any of he other 93 countries that they offer with no problems. For a full list of servers you’ll get access to, see https://www.expressvpn.com/vpn-server
A big advantage of the ExpressVPN service is how fast their connections are – hence the Express name. The connections are perfect for heavy internet users like those who like to download large files or to streaming HD video content. The level of security is very high, with the use of strong 256-bit encryption to prevent anyone from decrypting your data, and a no logging policy to assure you that your data won’t be recorded or stored. When you open up the options in the software you’ll find even more security features like an optional kill switch option to cut off your internet connection when the VPN connection goes down so you don’t accidentally share unencrypted data, and DNS leak protection to prevent you from being tracked through your DNS activity. The software can be installed on devices running Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and Android, plus some games consoles and smart TVs, and there are browser extensions for the Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple Safari browsers.
Read our full ExpressVPN review here.
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IPVanish is the best choice for users who want a super fast connection so that they won’t be slowed down when browsing or downloading. The large server network of IPVanish covers more than 1000 servers available in 60 different countries, including 6 servers at 1 location in Japan, so you can get your Japanese IP address and access the content you want. To see a full list of IPVanish servers, visit https://www.ipvanish.com/servers/
As well as speed and lots of servers, IPVanish offers the high level of security we look for. They use industry standard strong 256-bit encryption and they have a strict no logging policy to preserve your privacy. In the software are more security options like a kill switch, DNS leak protection, periodic IP address so that your IP address changes regularly, and DNS configuration. The software is available for devices running Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and Android.
Read our full IPVanish review here.
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NordVPN is the provider that we recommend for users who want plenty of features and advanced options for their VPN. They have an impressive network of more than 3500 servers in 60 different countries, including 34 servers at 1 location in Japan. The unique feature of NordVPN is that they have speciality servers as well as regular VPN servers. These speciality servers include servers for double VPN, P2P downloads, dedicated IP, obfuscated servers, and onion over VPN. The servers available in Japan include special P2P servers and obfuscated servers. For a full list of regular and specialist servers, see https://nordvpn.com/servers/
The regular VPN has great speeds and strong security like the use of 256-bit encryption and a no logging policy. The software has a handy map interface which makes it easy to connect and it can be installed on devices running Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iOS, Chrome OS, Android, or Windows Phone.
Read our full NordVPN review here.
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CyberGhost is a great choice for users who don’t have a lot of experience with VPNs and who are looking for a simple, easy to use VPN with no technical knowledge required. The graphical interface of the software makes it easy to pick the type of connection you need and gives you access to over 1300 severs in 59 countries, including 4 servers at 1 location in Japan.
The VPN might be easy to use, but that doesn’t mean that it lacks in security. It has the essential features of strong 256-bit encryption and a no logging policy, and if you choose an option for torrenting anonymously then they system will set up a kill switch for you automatically. The idea is that you simply select the task you want to perform (like browsing anonymously, unblocking websites, or torrenting anonymously) and the connection will be set up and configured for you automatically. The software is available for iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac OS.
Read our full CyberGhost review here.
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PureVPN is great when you want to shore up your general internet security as well as getting a subscription for a VPN, as it includes a range of extra security features. The network of severs available is not as large as others, with 750 servers in 140 different countries. But this does include 2 servers at 1 location in Japan, so you’ll be able to get your Japanese IP address. You can see all of the servers available at https://www.purevpn.com/server_location.php
In addition to the VPN which features strong 256-bit encryption and a no logging policy, included in your subscription will be extra features like anti virus and anti malware protection, plus an anti spam filter to keep your email inbox free from unwanted advertising. Further features include app filtering, DDoS protection, a kill switch, dedicated IP, and a NAT firewall. The software is available for Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, and Android TV devices, plus browser extensions for the Chrome and Firefox browsers.
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Whether you’re a Japanese expat pining for a view of home, or a Japanophile who can’t get enough of watching anime, it’s helpful to have a Japanese IP address so that you can access content from Japan-only websites. With a VPN you’ll be able to spoof your location so it appears to websites as if you are located in Japan, even if you are actually located elsewhere. Then you’ll be able to access any site as if you were in Japan, even if it’s a Japan-only site.
We’ve recommended five different VPN services which have good security and have servers in Japan. Any of these services will allow you to get a Japanese IP address and to browse the internet more freely.
Do you use a VPN to access Japanese content? Have you tried out any of the VPN providers that we recommended? What was your experience with them like? Let us know in the comments below.