How to Watch Netflix Japan (2023 Update)

In 2015, Netflix launched in Japan with one of the largest catalogs of titles for shows and movies of any country. This made many people not living in Japan interested in all of these new titles – especially anime fans. 

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.

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.

How To Watch Netflix Japan (Step-by-Step Guide)

  1. Get a Netflix account if you don’t have one already.
  2. Choose a VPN provider (you may use one listed in the article below, for starters) and sign up.
  3. Log in to the VPN and connect to a server located in Japan. 
  4. 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. 
  5. You can log in if you’re not already and begin browsing all of the Netflix Japan titles!
  6. 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 a 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.

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Can Anyone Watch Netflix Japan?

The unfortunate part is that Netflix Japan is naturally only made available for those living in that country. 

If you live 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. 

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.

1. VPN 

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. 

RELATED: Best Cheap VPNs for Netflix (That Work in 2021)

2. Smart DNS

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.

Recommended VPNs for Netflix Japan


Stream your favorite shows and movies from Japan
  • Over 3,200 servers worldwide
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Unlimited device connections
  • For Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer…
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Works in China
  • 24/7 live chat

Surfshark is an excellent and cheap VPN that 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.

Avoid overcrowded servers with Surfshark because its servers have a minimum of 1Gbps per port connected. In the US and the UK, that number increases to 2x10Gps per server. Surfshark’s engineers optimize servers depending on the number of users connecting to them.

By having higher server bandwidth per user in popular locations, you can avoid overcrowded VPN servers and enjoy low latency and minimal speed reductions.

According to Surfshark’s research, Netflix Japan has 5065 titles at the moment, 3518 of those are movies and 1547 are TV shows and the country is in the top 10 considering the total amount of content. That makes it very appealing to get a VPN and connect to the country’s library.  

To read more about Surfshark, go to our full review and see what all the fuss is about. 


Select “Japan” and let ExpressVPN automatically pick the best location for you
  • Almost 3,000+ servers in 94 countries
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • For Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer…
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • For up to 5 devices
  • Works in China and the UAE
  • 24/7 live chat

Express VPN is very reliable at unblocking American Netflix from anywhere, but also a good choice for Netflix Japan by connecting to Japanese servers. There are servers in Tokyo and Yokohama.

ExpressVPN’s healthy server network works with Netflix, Hulu, TVer, Spotify, ESPN, etc. Watch Japanese content without bandwidth restrictions, data caps, or bandwidth throttling, all from the comfort of your home (or work).

Find out all about ExpressVPN in our full review


nordvpn japan
NordVPN has 80+ Servers in Japan
  • Almost 6,000 servers in 60 countries
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • For Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer…
  • Quick Connect
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • For up to six devices
  • Works in China
  • 24/7 live chat

If you want to get a lot of bang for your buck, NordVPN offers excellent value. With nearly 6,000 servers in 60 countries and 80+ in Japan, you’re sure to find one that’s available and that offers top speeds so you can watch all the great Japanese Netflix titles.

What’s more, NordVPN’s intelligent algorithm will automatically find and select the fastest VPN server based on your location and your special requirements, ie. streaming Netflix.

NordVPNs encryption is next-level and to paint the picture, a criminal would take literally thousands of years to crack its encryption, with technology that wasn’t invented yet.

The company also can’t share any information about you with third parties, ie. government institutions, because they have nothing to share. Their strict no-logs policy means that they don’t track or keep any data about your online ventures.

Read all about NordVPN in our full review

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. 

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.

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.

RELATED: When And How To Use Smart DNS

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:

Big Library

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.

netflix japan

Japan now represents Netflix’s largest consumer base in the Asia-Pacific region


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. 

Connection Speed

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.

READ ALSO: The 3 Ways How VPN Help With Streaming (A Quick Guide)

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 NordVPN, then give Surfshark a try (or vice versa). They all have a 30-day money-back guarantee policy. 

Why is my VPN not working on Netflix?

If your VPN isn’t working, that could mean one of two things:

  • Netflix blocked your IP (or rather the IP of your VPN server), or 
  • Your VPN provider doesn’t work with Netflix. 

Netflix blocks thousands of IP addresses that belong to VPNs and because of that, very few VPNs actually work with Netflix (in general, not only Japan). But the three on our list have a long and proven record of working with Netflix in different countries. 

How to Change Netflix Country? 

The easiest way to change your Netflix country is by logging into a VPN and then selecting a server located in the country where you want to watch Netflix. Then, log in to the Netflix site. You should be redirected to the homepage for the country’s site that you wish to view. 

Is it Legal To Use VPN to Access Japanese Netflix? 

Yes, it is legal to use a VPN to access Netflix in another country, particularly Netflix Japan. Just beware that some countries attempt to ban VPNs. In Japan, the use of VPNs is legal. 

Can a Free VPN Unblock Netflix Japan?

You can try to use a free VPN to unblock Netflix Japan, but the vast majority of free options might not work, as well as many of the paid versions. It’s always worth it to try a couple of VPNs until you find the perfect fit. And with a 30-45 day money-back guarantee, it’s easy to do it. 

RAED NEXT: What Happens If VPN Disconnects? (How To Avoid Data & Privacy Leaks)

Will the Content on Netflix Japan Include English Subtitles?

Although all of the content found on Netflix Japan does not include English subtitles, most do. Most titles have subtitle options available. However, the number of titles with English subtitles is much slimmer than the number of titles with Japanese subtitles.

Alternatively, you may be able to find some Japanese titles that do not provide English subtitles, but you may be able to replace them with English audio. It all depends on the title you want to watch. 


It’s frustrating when you want to watch all that Netflix has to offer internationally, but your own country’s limits hold you down. If you don’t live in Japan, you won’t be able to 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.


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