Though the internet is great for connecting with people around the world or finding content that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to access, your normal connection can’t find everything. When you connect to the internet, you’re assigned an IP address, which notes your relative location in the world.
Based on that IP address, some websites may be blocked by a process known as geoblocking. In addition to banks and government websites, many streaming services, such as Netflix, segment certain libraries to certain regions, which you can read about in our guide on how to beat the Netflix ban.
That said, you can change your IP address to appear as though you’re in another location. In this guide on how to get a Japanese IP address, we’re going to show you how to appear as though you’re in Japan virtually, despite where you’re connecting from physically. There are many ways to get a new IP address, but we’re going to focus on the ways to do so securely.
No matter what Japanese content you’re trying to access, be it streaming platforms, banks or alternative forms of entertainment, we can help. In addition to showing you how to get a Japanese IP address, we’ll also touch on the potential dangers of using one.
How to Get a Japanese IP Address
Getting a new IP address in a certain region isn’t difficult. For cybersecurity novices, it’s accomplished by finding a free proxy in the region and connecting to it. You can find those in our best free proxy guide. A proxy server stands between your computer and wherever you’re connecting to, replacing your IP address with one in that location.
Instead of appearing as though you’re coming from your computer, the connection will appear as though it’s coming from the proxy’s server. That’s not an ideal setup, though. As you can see in our VPN vs. proxy vs. Tor guide, proxy servers come with all sorts of unpleasantness, including slow speeds, malware and, sometimes, cybercrime.
That’s ignoring the fact that proxies are easy to detect and block. As shown in our guide to the Netflix proxy error, most websites have detection systems that can identify a proxy when it’s used. Simple route tracing will also show where the connection originates.
That’s because proxies don’t add encryption to your connection. What you bring is what you have. That’s where a virtual private network comes in. VPNs function similarly to proxies. You connect to a remote server, which replaces your IP address. Unlike proxies, though, your initial connection is encrypted with a VPN protocol, hiding the source of the connection.
Our VPN security guide and description of encryption explain how the process shakes out on a technical level, but all you need to know for getting a Japanese IP address is that a VPN is essential. It makes route tracing impossible, and as long as you’re sticking with our best VPN providers, you won’t be blocked by detection systems.
We’re going to give three recommendations that have locations in Japan, but, thankfully, locations in Japan are common among VPNs, unlike our best VPN services for China.
ExpressVPN is the best VPN around. It’s the fastest VPN we’ve tested and ranked first in our most secure VPN and best VPN for Netflix guides. Though excellent in every category from speed to privacy, the real thing that sets it apart is consistency. No matter how you set up your connection or which server you choose, it delivers an great experience.
It’s dead simple to use, too. Though the configurability of, say, TorGuard (read our TorGuard review) has its place, ExpressVPN’s streamlined approach can appeal to anyone. You can learn more in our ExpressVPN review or try it with its 30-day money-back guarantee.
NordVPN isn’t as consistent as ExpressVPN, which puts it just a peg below our top dog. That said, it’s much better for certain applications. For example, it beat ExpressVPN in our best VPN for torrenting guide. With around 100 servers in Japan, it’s an excellent choice for getting a Japanese IP address, too.
The network is massive, which explains the high server count in Japan. That said, NordVPN stands apart with a great list of features, including specialty servers, a built-in malware blocking tool and more. You can find the full list of features in our NordVPN review or try the service with its 30-day money-back guarantee.
CyberGhost struggles when it comes to speed. Despite that, it earned a spot in our best VPN for Japan and best VPN for streaming guides. The network isn’t as big as NordVPN, but few networks are. Even so, CyberGhost offers 31 servers in Japan.
Like NordVPN, it has specialty servers for streaming and torrenting, as well as a redesigned interface that makes finding where you need to go simple. It’s also cheap, as you can see in our CyberGhost review. If that sounds interesting to you, try it with its generous 45-day money-back guarantee.
Dangers of Using a Japanese IP Address
Unlike our guide on how to get a Chinese IP address, Japan doesn’t have strict censorship laws. Like the U.S. (read our best VPN for the U.S. guide), Japan’s censorship laws focus on the distribution of copyrighted material and obscene content, such as abuse or child pornography.
That said, Japan is also like the U.S. in that it can spy on its citizens. In 2000, Japan enacted a wiretap law that allows law enforcement to monitor phone calls under a court order. Though it initially only allowed monitoring in cases involving drugs, human trafficking, murder and firearm distribution, the law was expanded in 2016 to include theft and fraud.
What resulted in 2017 was nearly 11,000 phone calls being recorded and 61 arrests. Though great for stopping crime, Japan’s monitoring doesn’t hit above the belt. The military has illegally monitored citizens in the past, and a leaked 2013 document shows that the U.S. supplied Japan with XKEYSCORE, which can monitor almost everything someone does online.
If you’re using an IP address in Japan, you’re being subjected to the same potential for monitoring. That said, if you’re using a secure VPN, such as ExpressVPN, that doesn’t mean anything. The real problem comes if you’re, for example, using an option from our worst free VPN guide.
As long as you’re using one of our top-rated providers, or an option from this review, you should be fine. It’s important to only use a VPN that has a no-logs policy, though, because usage data could be requested by the Japanese government — or anyone else — that reveals who you are (read our HideMyAss review to see a provider that keeps logs).
There isn’t much danger associated with getting a Japanese IP address, so long as you’re using a service that protects your connection. ExpressVPN, NordVPN, CyberGhost and TorGuard are all solid options, but Windscribe isn’t bad, either (read our Windscribe review).
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For everything from setting up a VPN to ensuring that you’re protected while using it, check out our VPN archive. In addition to reviews and guides, you’ll find articles on setting up a VPN and ensuring it’s configured correctly.
What VPN are you using for a Japanese IP address? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.