In 2015, Netflix launched in Japan with one of the largest catalogs of titles for shows and movies of any country. Japanese users were excited to access so many films that were not otherwise available, particularly the anime content.
This made many people not living in Japan interested in all of these new titles – especially the anime fans.
The unfortunate part is that Netflix Japan is naturally only made available for those living in that country. If you reside anywhere else, the internet server will automatically connect you to the Netflix site for the country where you’re in, and you won’t have the option to check out the Japanese site.
Here’s the good news: you can watch Netflix Japan anywhere in the world with a few workarounds. This article will cover the different ways of how to watch Netflix Japan and when you can use the streaming device.
Following that, we’ll help you troubleshoot the process and offer a few free tools that can help you get logged in. We’ll finish off with some FAQs, and you’ll become a resident expert on watching your favorite Netflix Japan shows and movies from anywhere.
How To Get Netflix Japan
Don’t have much time to read a long article because you have movies and shows that you’re dying to watch? Here’s the short version of how to watch Japanese Netflix:
- Get a Netflix account if you don’t have one already.
- Choose a VPN provider (you may use one listed in the article below, for starters) and sign up.
- Log in to the VPN and connect to a server located in Japan.
- Open your Internet browser and go to the Netflix site as usual. You’ll notice that you’re automatically being rerouted to the Japanese version of the website.
- You can log in if you’re not already and begin browsing all of the Netflix Japan titles!
Another option is using a Smart DNS service, also known as a Selective DNS Proxy. This proxy makes the online activity seem like it’s coming from a specific country other than your actual location.
The process when using a Smart DNS is the same as it is for VPN. The only difference is that you are choosing and logging into the Smart DNS instead of the VPN. Either process is a simple straightforward way to access content from other countries that you may not be able to access without a particular VPN or Smart DNS provider.
What Makes Netflix Japan Special
There are a few reasons why someone from the US or another country might want to log into Netflix Japan rather than the Netflix site for their current country.
Let’s review the most attractive aspects of Netflix Japan that make it so unique to those living in and out of the country:
The most obvious benefit to watching Netflix Japan versus using Netflix US is the giant library. Netflix US used to boast the most extensive collection of movies, shows, and documentaries – that is, until Netflix Japan launched back in 2015.
To compare, 2018 catalogs of the two countries showed 5,963 titles in Japan against the 5,655 titles from Netflix US. While this is a close margin, Netflix Japan is continuing to ramp up production (especially with anime content), and the margin will likely grow broader over time.
Speaking of anime, Netflix Japan has another major strength over other regions’ Netflix sites. For example, US anime comes from Japan, and the Japanese have supported this idea of the “whole-season binge” that has influenced the viral success of so many anime shows. If you want access to the largest number of anime shows and movies, there’s no better streaming service than Netflix Japan.
They are also looking to put out more anime content than ever in years to come, one of the main reasons for the slight subscription price increase in recent months.
Another top benefit to using Netflix in Japan is the lightning-fast connection speed from Japanese servers. The average connection speed in Japan is one of the fastest in the world. In 2014, it measured 15 Mbps and has only gone up from there.
Across the board, the standard minimum speed needed for HD content is 4 Mbps. Nearly 90 percent of all Japanese internet connections meet this standard, which is impressive.
While you won’t get all of the Japanese internet benefits, you can tap into some of these crazy-fast speeds when you connect to a Japanese server via VPN.
Two Ways To Get Japanese Netflix
As mentioned earlier, there are two primary ways to watch Netflix Japan. These two options are VPN or Smart DNS.
While we went over the basic outline of using these two options previously, let’s take some more time and space to go over these two possibilities separately so you can decide which route is better for what you need.
VPN is a virtual private network. It gives its users online anonymity and privacy by creating a private network that you can use to connect to your favorite sites online. It allows you to use a secure connection that can keep your browsing activity away from hackers or third parties looking to gather information. It also gives you more access to websites that are typically restricted by season.
When the issue is geo-restrictions, another fix is wondering how to watch Japanese Netflix in the US using a Smart DNS server. A Smart DNS is a service that lets you hide your actual location, allowing you to access content that may be regionally restricted around the world.
The difference between using a VPN and using a Smart DNS is that a Smart DNS does not reroute or hide all of your web traffic, only part of it. It focuses on redirecting your DNS queries to its servers to make it seem like your IP address is coming from another location.
VPN: What You Need to Know
A VPN works by hiding your actual IP address and letting the network redirect it through a specific VPN server run by your host. That means that no internet service providers or third parties can see your online activity. In a sense, a VPN takes all of your online data and translates it into what is functionally gibberish to any other prying eyes. Even if a third party were able to locate your data, they wouldn’t be able to make any sense of it.
A VPN can help by doing a few different things. The main benefits of a VPN connection are:
- Secure encryption – To read and make sense of the data, one would need an encryption key. Otherwise, it could take millions of years to untangle the code. Even on public networks, all of your activity is safely hidden.
- Hidden location – When you connect to a VPN server, it acts as your proxy online. You can select the server you want to connect to (in this case, it would be a server in Japan), and it will seem as if your location is there. Plus, VPN services won’t keep a log of your activities or actual locations.
- Regional content access – There’s lots of web content limited in access by region, just like many of the titles on Netflix Japan. If your real server is located outside of the Japan region, you can’t connect to the Netflix Japan site. However, by linking with a Japanese server, you’ll have access to the same regional content that Japanese people have.
Because of the additional browser security, deeply hidden location, and regional content access, using a VPN is an excellent solution if you’re wondering how to get Japanese Netflix so you can watch all of your favorite movies and show titles.
There are a few differences between a Smart DNS and a VPN. For example, a VPN is better when streaming from a PC, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. A few of the other differences include:
- A VPN encrypts your online traffic; a Smart DNS doesn’t.
- A VPN hides your actual IP address; a Smart DNS can’t.
- A VPN will bypass firewalls; a Smart DNS can’t.
If you’re interested in trying a VPN out so you can access Netflix Japan, we’ve got a few recommendations to share.
Some of the top VPNs to unblock Netflix Japan include:
- Surfshark – This one helps you access dedicated streaming services by allowing you to connect to a server in the region you want to watch Netflix. In this case, it would be Japan.
- Express VPN – This one is reliable enough to unblock American Netflix from anywhere, and it may also be a good choice for Netflix Japan by connecting to Japanese servers.
- NordVPN – If you want to get a lot of bang for your buck, NordVPN offers excellent value. With over 5,000 servers in 59 countries, you’re sure to find an available one in Japan so you can watch all the great Japanese Netflix titles.
Smart DNS: What You Need to Know
A Smart DNS works by replacing your ISP-assigned domain name system (DNS) with the ISP address of a dedicated Smart DNS server. This is because your DNS address contains information that could reveal where you are. You can select a Smart DNS server anywhere in the world – they’ll have servers located all over to route you to access the geo-locked content automatically.
So, if you’re located in the US and want to know how to access Netflix Japan, you would log on to the Smart DNS server, and it will make it seem like your web traffic is coming from inside Japan.
Some of the most significant advantages of Smart DNS services include:
- Flexibility – The service works well on most devices.
- Affordability – The services themselves are usually pretty affordable.
- Unlimited regional content access – You can access websites that are blocked regionally in a variety of locations without connecting to different servers each time.
- Speed – It won’t slow your connection speeds down.
There are certain cases when a VPN would work better than a Smart DNS and vice versa. For example, a Smart DNS typically works better on a Smart TV, PS4 (or PS5), or Xbox.
Some of the differences that stand out between the two options include:
- A Smart DNS can work at the router level and cover all connected devices, but a VPN can’t. It can only work on specialized routers – otherwise, it will only work for one device at a time.
- A VPN can slow your internet speed down because it has to run all of your internet traffic through a tunnel of encryption. A Smart DNS doesn’t have to do that with all of your activity, so any performance decreases are negligible.
For cases when a Smart DNS is better-suited, there’s one option that stands out among the rest.
Recommended Smart DNS
Of all the Smart DNS options available today, there’s one that takes the cake:
- NordVPN SmartDNS – SmartDNS is a feature from NordVPN that will let you create unrestricted access to streaming content on your Smart TV or other similar devices. To use the Smart DNS for VPN, you’ll whitelist your IP address and then activate the SmartDNS feature on your account dashboard.
It won’t protect you as much as a VPN connection would, but it will give you access to streaming content you’re looking for. However, it won’t always work for all streaming services.
If you’d rather try out some free options before diving into paid versions of a VPN or Smart DNS, we have some recommendations to offer you.
Free VPNs to Unblock Netflix Japan
Free VPNs are available to those who aren’t yet ready to jump the gun for a paid VPN service.
We want to be transparent and let you know that often, free VPNs are not worth it. They will likely have some challenges, and some of them just won’t work. Besides that, free VPNs can be dangerous for a few different reasons:
- Most of them do not offer proper encryption to keep your data and activity safe.
- They keep logs of user activity
- Their apps have bugs and issues
- ProtonVPN has a no-logging policy and publishes annual transparency reports to prove it. Their servers are also great for torrenting, thanks to a combination of unlimited bandwidth and P2P servers. It can also be a good choice when you want to watch Netflix as there are fast speeds above 60 Mbps and never blacklist IP addresses.
- Windscribe, on the other hand, uses dually-encrypted data to keep your information safe. It claims not to log data, but it doesn’t produce the reports that ProtonVPN does. However, its speeds are pretty fast, and there are great reviews from users.
Will These Work for Watching Netflix Libraries in Other Countries?
Are you wondering if you’ll be able to use these same free programs to watch the Netflix libraries of other countries besides Japan?
ProtonVPN users will be able to watch the movie and show libraries for US Netflix, UK Netflix, and Australian Netflix. Likely, you’ll also be able to watch other countries’ versions of the platform since they have server locations in so many different places.
Windscribe isn’t as reliable when watching Netflix in the U.S., United Kingdom, or Australia. Most people say that you need to purchase a paid service plan from Windscribe if you want to access these sites; otherwise, you’ll receive a message that recognizes your use of a proxy server or unblocker, and you won’t be able to get in.
What if Unblocking Japanese Netflix Doesn’t Work?
In some cases, you may run into trouble trying to unblock Japanese Netflix when accessing it from outside the country. This is inevitable – things happen.
If you run into this issue, our best advice is to try a few different servers within Japan and see if that makes a difference at all.
If you’re still not able to log in to the Netflix Japan site, plan B should be to try another VPN. If you started with Windscribe, then give ProtonVPN a try (or vice versa).
It’s frustrating when you want to watch all that Netflix has to offer internationally, but your own country’s limits bind you. If you don’t live in Japan, you won’t normally access the Netflix Japan site.
If you’re wondering how to watch Netflix Japan, your best bets are using a VPN online or finding a Smart DNS server to block your true location and make it seem like you’re accessing the site from a server that is actually in Japan.
Know that you understand how these two options work and you have a few free or paid services to look into, you’re one step closer to getting into Netflix Japan and enjoying all the anime and additional titles they have to offer.
If you still have some questions, we have you covered.