I’m sure there are a bunch of guides out there, but I felt like doing one myself. Here I’ll write up some guides for both android and iOS mobile devices. Hopefully they’ll be helpful.
Some may already know that google play’s store is region locked when it comes to getting Japanese games/apps. When it comes to google play, your account’s country region (prolly) depends on your IP address and it may seem that you can’t really trick google play into thinking your country region is Japan, but there are ways. One way is download a third party app and another way is to trick google play into thinking you’re in Japan with an app within its very own store. Here are two ways to go about it:
Qooapp is a third party app only for the android, that bypasses region locking and allows you to download japanese apps/games. Of course, seeing that its a third party app, its not guaranteed it won’t give you viruses. So download at your own risk. I’m not sure if my android phone is riddled with viruses because I haven’t used it because of battery/charging reasons, so I can’t really vouch the authenticity of the probability of not getting a virus. You can download the app to just download a game and then uninstall Qooapp, however your game cannot update without it. So when the time comes when your game refuses to play unless you have the latest version, then that would be a good time to redownload Qooapp to update your game. It may seem tedious but could give you peace of mind.
One problem that I had happened upon once with Ai Chuu is that when I went to QooApp to update it, it said that I didn’t have Ai Chuu installed which then lead to me getting locked out from playing Ai Chuu or getting a transfer code. So then I had to uninstall it. But that only happened once and I still don’t know why it even happened.
Steps to get Qooapp:
✪ Download the app through this website which you will have to access through your mobile device.
Upon downloading from your mobile browser you might be warned that “This type of file can harm your device” & will ask if you want to keep it anyway. Just press ok and the download will continue.
✪ When it has completed downloading, go to your notifications and tap on it to install the app. You’ll get a prompt saying the installation has been blocked. Android blocks apps that have been downloaded outside of google play automatically, so you’ll have to go to your settings to manually authorise it.
Tick the box in “Unknown Sources” to authorise installation for third party apps.
You’ll get your final pop up warning asking if you’re really sure if you want to go on and install it, noting that your device’s data will be more vulnerable. Press “ok“. Theres also a tick box saying “Allow initial installation only“, you can leave this box ticked if you want to keep manually authorising third party apps yourself in the future. This is more or less for safety.
✪ Once thats done you can now install QooApp. Read through what the app has access through and stall and tap on “Install” to install. It’ll take a few seconds until you can finally access the QooApp store. More or less this app is good for free app games, not sure about buying games through this store or buying in-game purchases.
Now you can open QooApp. You can view the latest apps on the home page or you can look up an app through searching it. You can search games through English input but to get better results its better to type in the name of the app in Japanese.
For example I’m gonna download Yumeiro Cast (夢色キャスト). Now you’ll have to go through the whole app authorisation process again to allow the app to install. Its the same steps as how you installed QooApp, you’ll get a notification saying installation is blocked and you’ll have to go to settings to manually authorised the installation.
After installation you can finally get to play your game. Enjoy!
If you’re looking for a japanese keyboard, you can look one up in your google play store and download one. The one that I have is “Google Japanese Input“.
> You get to download Japanese Games/Apps
> Not quite trustworthy
> Might not support in-game payments
TunnelBear is a “VPN” app, think of it as an app that will help trick google play into thinking you’re from a different country region. You can find other apps that can do this but for now we’ll be sticking with TunnelBear.
With this app you can browse websites as if you were in Japan, such as accessing websites who’s services are only for those in Japan (DMM for example) as well as accessing the Japanese google play store. Only catch is your data is limited to 500mb per month, unless you upgrade. This app is easier to access as its available in the Google Play store.
Steps to get TunnelBear:
✪ First look it up in the google play store. You may notice other search results contain different VPN apps you can choose from, but for now we’re going for TunnelBear. Download it and install.
✪ Upon opening the app you’ll be asked to make an account. All you have to do is provide a first name, email address and a password for your TunnelBear account. Once done, confirm your email and yadda yadda yadda, you can finally access the app and send your bear across the ocean.
✪ To start “browsing in Japan” you’ll need to connect to it first. Select Japan out of the country wheel and then tap on the switch above to activate your bear. A warning message will appear about making a VPN (Virtual Private Network) connection, just tick “I trust this application” and then “ok“. This message will pop up almost whenever you make a VPN connection. It may take a while but once it connects you’ll be able to browse freely as if you were in Japan.
✪ Access the google play store and you may see that the store front may not have changed. If you only have one account registered you may need to get another one to refresh the store front so it’ll think that you’re accessing it from Japan now or disconnect TunnelBear and reconnect and go back into the play store.
It definitely gets a little bit finicky when it comes to whether the play store picks it up that you’re “accessing it from Japan”. I’d suggest before turning off your phone to disconnect and/or logout TunnelBear if you haven’t done it before so when you turn your phone on it doesn’t automatically connect and mess up the google play store.
All you have to do is refresh the google store and if that doesn’t work try to disconnect TunnelBear then try to refresh again to get it back up.
✪ You can now download games as you would normally do when you’re in the google play store. You can also update any existing games here too, I could update games I got from QooApp too.
No need to authorise installation, just download and go!
If you want to add a new google account, go to Settings > Accounts > + Add Account > Google > When prompted add new account > Fill in the forms > When it comes to payment method just tap “No, Thanks” > You dont have to sync stuff, Continue and then you’re done.
The account will be added to the google play store as an optional account to go on. There if you have TunnelBear connected, hopefully upon switching accounts you will get the Japanese google play store front and if you change to your main account it’ll have the same Japanese store front too.
> You get to download Japanese games/apps and other things available in Japanese Google Play store
> A little bit more reliable compared to QooApp
> You can also browse websites with a Japanese IP address (Possibly can access DMM services on your device)
> Less steps compared to QooApp (no need to authorise everything all the time)
> You can purchase/buy in-game items with this method
> You are given a limited number of data, 500mb to use each month (However you can upgrade to 1GB of data through a twitter campaign)
> When disconnected/logged out of tunnelbear your account will show the usual google play store and not the Japanese google play store (not really a con, more like something to take note of)
> A bit finicky when it comes to connecting to the Japanese Google Play Store
> If you want to purchase stuff with your Japanese google play account you’ll have to use a Japanese credit/debit card or prepaid google play gift cards
Thank you Yuno for suggesting other alternatives for getting Japanese games on android devices!
They suggested APKpure, similar to Qooapp where you download Japanese apps straight from their website/app. With APKpure you can download apps on their website when accessing their site on your mobile device, just search the app you want and download the APK file. You can also download different older versions of an app if you’re into that.You can download their app if you think you’ll need to access it all the time or you can just use their website if you just wanna use it once or twice.
There doesn’t seem to be any cons with APKpure, it seems more reliable than Qooapp. So for those who are a bit wary about Qooapp then try out APKpure!
I forgot to mention that because you’re downloading from a third party you need to authorise it each time you install a downloaded app. If you want to take the risk you can turn on the option to always install third party apps by going to your Settings > Security > Tick the box for “Unknown Sources” (Allow installation of apps from sources other than the Play Store)
Yuno also suggests using “OpenVPN for Android” (+ it’s Japan IP client here:http://www.vpngate.net/en/) for VPN services. I haven’t tried it for myself yet but they find it much easier to use when accessing region locked Japanese services like purchasing JP Line Stickers, not too sure about changing regions with app stores however.
Rather than limiting your internet usage like TunnelBear, OpenVPN for Android connects you to an OpenVPN server and is free. As for how to setup a VPN connection, well its a bit too complicated for my understanding so I can’t explain it properly. I’m very sorry! There may be tutorials/guides on the internet that will explain it better than I can.
For the iOS there is no need for a third party app or an app to create a VPN connection to Japan. There is one main way to get Japanese games with an iOS device and thats by simply creating a new account and make sure the country region is set to Japan. Easy. If only google play could do this too so it wouldn’t be so much work.
You can do this either on your device or on your computer if you have itunes. This time we’re gonna do this on the mobile.
How to get a Japanese Apple ID:
✪ Seeing that you need a Japanese credit/debit card to sign up we’re gonna do have to do it another way.
Making sure you’re signed out, browse the Appstore for a free app and ‘purchase’ it. You’ll be prompted to either sign in with an existing ID or create a new one. Choose “Create New ID” then follow the prompts.
✪ Choose your country as 日本 (Japan) > Agree with Terms & Services > Input an existing email > Input a password for your new account (which will ask a lot from you to make the perfect password) > Security questions & Date of Birth etc etc…
✪ Now at Billing info, “None” should already be selected. This is because we’re in the midst of purchasing a free app. Enter your name in english within the first 2 input fields and for phonetic last & phonetic first you can just put in the Katana equivalent to your first and last names, I think any old Japanese would do, not sure tho I haven’t tested it out.
Here comes the tricky part, a billing address. You’ll have to have an existing billing address that is within Japan, some say try out a building address but others say that kind of goes against the terms and services. You can try to go for a hotel but ???
Whats important is to input a proper postal code, city and prefecture while the street address can be anything. A well known example is:
Postal Code 100-8994
Address 123 Nowhere Road
Phone 8994 55555555
Anything else is not quite required. After that you’re done and free to download the app you chose, or not if you don’t want to, you can just cancel it.
> Better than google play, account stays within the country region you have chosen until you sign out
> You buy in-game purchases here
> You can get any game/app/other stuff from the Japanese app store here
> Update games any time, automatically
> You can pretty much just keep that account as your main one, it updates my english apps too
> A bit of a hassle, esp the address part & forced to input a credit card to make an account any other way than the one I described above
> Have to purchase prepaid itunes cards from third parties, which can be costly
> Prolly accepts Japanese only credit/debit cards
I hope that helps! I’m sure there are other ways to get these games, but I just want to isolate these methods for now. There prolly are better methods out there that I haven’t found out yet.
Anyway, enjoy downloading a bunch of games until your hearts content, or at least until your device runs out of space. Don’t get too deep into app hell tho, you don’t want to end up like me.