With Netflix finally arriving in Japan, here are some facts people need to know about Netflix and Hulu when traveling to or living in Japan.
Hulu Japan was the first major streaming service to come to Japan. Many people do not know that Hulu does not work in Japan. To stream videos from Hulu they must use a different service called Hulu Japan. This is due to copyright regulations. Since it is a different service, people must pay for the new service. Hulu and Hulu Japan have some of the same content but a vast majority of their libraries are different. Hulu Japan has a lot more Japanese content and a lot less western content than Hulu. The Japanese content does not have any type translation at all. For example, watching Japanese anime will not have English voice overs or subtitles. All western content has Japanese subtitles. Some titles have two videos. These titles will have a video with Japanese voice overs and another with Japanese subtitles. To change these language settings, people would have to choose one video or the other. Since this service has been in Japan for a while, people have access to a lot of content. Some content may be a little behind in coming out but it is definitely better than waiting for the DVD release, if there is one.
Netflix recently came to Japan. A US Netflix account works in Japan, but like Hulu Japan the Japanese content is different. While in Japan, people can only access the Japanese library, even if they have a US account. Since the libraries are different, Netflix is not breaking any copyright regulations. Most of the Netflix Original Series are available on Netflix in Japan. A vast majority of the western content does have the option of changing the language from English to Japanese. The language options from the video player can easily be changed without having to switch to another video. Sadly, like Hulu Japan, the original Japanese content currently does not have any type of translation. This includes the Japanese Netflix Original Series. Since this is a new service in Japan, there is not that much content, yet.
Even though both streaming sites are different than their US counterparts, each Japanese streaming site has different content than each other. Also, both sites are not as up-to-date with shows coming from outside of Japan. If you want to access US streaming sites, there are hardware and software options that you can take for gaining access.
A Hulu Japan costs 933 yen a month. Netflix in Japan has three options and unlike the Netflix in the US, there is no option to rent DVDs or Blu-rays. The Basic package is 650 yen and you have access to all the content in SD and you can only use one screen at a time. The Standard package is 950 yen and you have access to all the content in HD and you can use two screens at a time. The Premium is 1,450 yen and you have access to all the content in Ultra HD and you can use four screens at a time. All of the prices are before tax.