How to access Japan-only iPhone apps



By Joshua Zimmerman

One of the most annoying things about the iTunes Store is the way it treats different countries. Every iTunes Account is linked to the country of origin, usually the country the credit card is from. While this isn’t a problem when you’re living in your home country, this is a big problem when you’re living in Japan because there are some iPhone applications that are only available in the Japan iTunes Store. One example is the very wonderful free weather app named Weathernews Touch. Unless you have a Japanese account, you’re not able to download this free app.

weathernewstouch1 weathernewstouch2

But don’t lose hope, there is a very easy, and free, way to get a Japanese iTunes account without using a credit card. (You can also use this to get access to music, movies, and TV shows in the Japanese iTunes Store as well.) Just follow these easy steps.

1. Get an e-mail address.

You need an e-mail address that is not already being used with iTunes. So if you already have an iTunes account set up, you’ll need to use a different e-mail than the one you’re already using. If you’re in need of a free e-mail account, try

2. Switch stores.

Open up the iTunes Store. If you’re already logged into your account, log your account out. Scroll down to the bottom of the Store. Click the country icon, and change it to Japan.

iTunes Country Icon

All Country Stores

3. Find a free application.

Once in the Japanese Store, search for Weathernews Touch (or any free application). Click the FREE APP button.

Store Weathernews

4. Create your account.

A window should pop up asking you to sign into your account. Click on Create New Account. Then keep hitting “Continue” and fill out all the information. When you get to the billing section, there will be an option labeled “None”, found to the right of all the credit cards.

Create New Account

Create New Account 2

Create Account 3

5. Wait.

Once you fill out everything and submit your information, you’ll have to wait for Apple to send back a confirmation e-mail. This could take a long time. Days even. So if you don’t get it right away, just relax and take a nap.

6) Verify your account & sign in.

Once Apple does e-mail you back, click on the verification link. Afterwards, sign into the iTunes Japan Store using your new e-mail address and download to your heart’s content. When you’re finished with the Japan Store, log out and just scroll down to the bottom and change back to whatever county’s store you were using before.

Bonus: Buying

If for some reason you want to buy something on the store, such as a Japanese movie or music, you can easily add money without a credit card. Just head down to your local 7-Eleven and buy yourself an iTunes gift card. Then log into your Japanese iTunes account and register your gift card.


WARNING: Before posting messages about how it doesn’t work, please read the guide and try again. There is also always the chance that Apple could close this loop hole with an iTunes update. So if you’re reading this and it’s not the year 2009, you should probably try doing a Google search.


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