Whether you’re trying to learn Japanese, want access to Japan-exclusive games, or just want to see if you can get a better deal on a different region’s Nintendo Store, then this guide is for you.
I’ve split this guide into physical and digital games.
By far the easiest way to get a hold of Japanese games is to get them from the Japanese Nintendo eShop, but for those of you looking to get your hands on some physical games, skip to the last half of this guide.
Buying Digital Games
Thankfully the Nintendo Switch is not region locked and it is actually really easy to get games from a different store, all you need to do is make a Japanese Nintendo Account and a Japanese yen gift card to buy games with.
Step 1: Create a Japanese Nintendo Account
If you already have a Nintendo Account set up for your user, then we will need to first create a new user to assign the Japanese Nintendo account to.
To do this simply go to any game or the Nintendo store, your switch will then ask you which user you wish to use to log in to the store.
From here, click the + icon to add a new user, go through the steps of adding a profile picture, etc., and call it anything you want.
Once you’ve given it a username you will then be prompted to Sign In and Link. Click this to create a new Nintendo account for this user.
(Apologies for the picture quality, it’s pretty hard to get a decent photo of the screen lol)
You will then be asked for a sign-in method or to create an account. Click “Create a new account.”
You will then be taken to a new page that says “Send account creation instructions via email.” Click this then enter your email address.
Once you’ve entered your email, you will be taken to a 5-digit verification page to link your account, keep your switch on this until we get our code from setting up the new account.
Check your email inbox for a new email from firstname.lastname@example.org and you should find a URL link to create your new Nintendo account.
Once you’ve clicked the link you will be taken to Nintendo’s website, here you can choose between an account for yourself or for a child.
I’m assuming this account is for yourself so once you’ve clicked that option you will then be prompted to fill in some personal details, make sure that you choose Japan for your region!
Once you’ve accepted their terms of service and hit continue, you will get an option to receive marketing emails, which normally I would turn off but they give out Bonus Nintendo points, entries into prize draws, and email subscriber-only discounts so it’s worth receiving these and keeping an eye on them for a good deal.
Click “Confirm and Register” and you will then be taken to a page that displays your account information and a button that says “Display verification code”.
Click this button and type the code into your Nintendo Switch to link your new user to this new Nintendo Account.
Awesome! That’s your new Japanese Nintendo Account created, now for step 2.
Step 2: Changing your Switch’s Region
From my experience you shouldn’t need to switch your device’s region, however, if you do come into any complications with purchasing items then changing your region might help.
To do this simply go to “System Settings” on your Switch, scroll all the way to the bottom, and click “System”. From there simply change the “Region” option to Japan or vice versa.
One thing to note is that whatever region you are set to, the Nintendo eShop will always be displayed in the Account region’s language, not your Switch’s, so if you’re looking to buy games in a different region then be sure that you know exactly what you’re purchasing beforehand by using a translation tool if you don’t know the language.
Step 3: Buy a Game from the Japanese Nintendo eShop
In order to buy a game from the Japanese Nintendo eShop, we’re going to need a form of payment that will allow you to buy games with Japanese yen.
Some of you may have a credit card or even debit card, that allows you to do this.
For those of you that don’t have a payment method that works, don’t worry as there is an easy workaround, and that’s Nintendo eShop cards.
You will have likely seen these in most stores in your country but note that these cards will only work for the region that their currency is used, so be sure that you get yourself a Japanese eShop Card.
If you don’t know where to get one, you can purchase them from Playasia, a reputable company that sells a lot of Japanese games, toys, music, books, etc.
They will send you the code instantly online, and you will then be able to go into your Japanese eShop and add funds to your account.
The process of doing so is as follows:
Open the eShop app and click on your profile picture in the top right.
Then click the first orange button on the top right that says “残高の追加” (Top up balance).
Then click the middle option which says “プリペイドカード” (Pre-paid card).
Enter your eShop card’s unique code and the funds will be added to your account.
You can now buy Japanese Nintendo Switch games! 🙂
Buying Physical Games
Getting your hands on physical Japanese switch games is a bit harder, mainly due to the fact that there aren’t too many sites available that sell overseas, and then there’s also the issue of shipping.
However, I will try to cover all these so that you can get your hands on some physical copies of your favorite games.
You can get games from Amazon.jp but not all of them will ship to your country. The same can be said for Rakuten marketplace, which is the Japanese equivalent of eBay.
However, there is a great workaround for this and that’s to use a service like tenso, which is a delivery forwarding service that provides you with your own Japanese P.O. Box-like address.
All you have to do is add this address to a store that you want to buy from but that doesn’t ship directly to you, they will ship it to tenso in Tokyo, and tenso will then dispatch it to wherever you are in the world.
If you want to avoid the hassle of using a separate company to deliver your goods, then I would recommend checking the following sites to see if they have any of the import games you are looking for.
- Play-Asia – With a large customer base and reasonable pricing, Play-Asia is one of the largest and most well-known game import websites on the internet. The range of games available on Play-Asia is huge, making it your best bet for finding the games that you want.
- YesAsia – While their site definitely looks a bit outdated, YesAsia offers fast delivery and a wide range of products, so there’s a good chance you will find what you’re looking for.
There are other sites out there of course, and if you’re looking to find more niche or retro games for other consoles then you might want to take a look at my Where to Buy Japanese Import Games Guide which goes into buying physical games from Japan in a bit more depth.
Thank you very much for reading, I hope you found this useful!
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マットBy Matthew Hawkins25/04/2023Massive thanks to Harry and everyone else supporting me on Patreon. You guys are awesome! 🙂Follow me on TwitterSupport me on Patreon
Here are some of my favorite tools and sites for learning Japanese
Thank you for reading this blog post, which I hope you found useful for learning Japanese. Here are some of the most useful websites that I’ve found for finding Japanese content to use for immersion as well as some really useful learning tools to help you through your Japanese studies. Some of these are affiliate links which just means that if you decide to use these sites by clicking the following links, then I will earn a commission. But honestly speaking, these are the sites that I use and recommend language learners, even my friends, to use anyway.
Anki Tools: To get started, I really like Migaku for Anki. By itself, Anki is already a super useful tool for language learners but Migaku allows for integration with websites like YouTube and Netflix, allowing it’s users to create flashcards from the shows and videos that they are watching, as they are watching them. If you use my link you can get an extra month for free.
Speaking Practice: For this I absolutely love iTalki. There are thousands of Japanese teachers on the platform that are available at all times of the day to have conversations with you, in Japanese. Some teachers take a more traditional approach while others are just there to chat, these are the ones I would recommend if you are looking to improve your conversational Japanese. Lessons start from just $5 and there’s no long term commitment, I highly recommend them.
Immersion: I’ve used a lot of different earphones / headphones over the years but by far the one that has come out on top is the NENRENT S570. This is a singular in-ear earphone that matches your skin tone to keep it discrete, meaning you can listen to the language you are learning while at work, or school. For a full list of tools and gadgets I recommend for maximizing your immersion time, check out this blog post.