• Life & Culture

What is Japan’s Fastest Internet Speed?

person's hands typing on a laptop

Japan benefits from some of the highest connectivity levels in the world, with its internet usage and adoption overtaking that of the US and continuing to grow exponentially year-on-year. The country is also a leading player when it comes to technological advancements and research, holding multiple records in recent years for data transmission and internet speeds.

In this article, we look at Japan’s fastest internet speed records and average internet speeds across the country. We also outline the technology and infrastructure they have used to achieve this and the future implications this is likely to have for Japan and the rest of the world’s internet usage.

Japan’s internet speed records

Japan has had many notable achievements when it comes to its internet speed and data transmission capabilities in recent years and holds the current world record.

What is Japan’s fastest internet speed record?

The current record speed held by researchers at Japan’s Network Research Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) demonstrated a fiber data transmission speed of 1.02 Petabits (PBs) per second. This was achieved using extended fiber-optic cables over a distance of 32 miles.

A Petabit is a unit used to measure volumes of data and is equivalent to one million Gigabytes (GBs). To put this into perspective, the speed achieved is around 100,000 times faster than the 5G connections the majority of the population currently have access to on our mobile phones and other devices, and would allow for ‘10 million channels of 8K broadcasting per second’. You can read more about their record and the technology involved in NICT’s May 2022 press release.

This recent record set by Japan’s NICT is especially significant due to the methods and technologies used to achieve this, as the optic fibres utilized are also compatible with conventional cable infrastructure. It’s all well and good records being set in a laboratory by researchers, but achievements like this that utilize accessible technology show real signs of potential adoption into the internet technology available to everyday users.

The currently-held record by Japan follows on from their previous record set a year prior in 2021, also at 1 Petabit per second, however, this used technology and equipment that wouldn’t have been suitable for adoption or compatible with manufacturing processes.

These repeated and steadily improving achievements not only demonstrate the magnitude at which the country’s internet and data transmission technology is advancing, but they also highlight the potential for future internet speed capabilities worldwide.

What is the average internet speed in Japan?

Japan’s overall average internet speed is 42.77 Mbps. Research into average internet speeds around the world has placed Japan as the fifth fastest internet speed globally.

Of course, it’s important to note that the average internet speed can vary considerably depending on the region. Below are the average speeds in the past 12-month period for various regions in Japan, based on tests taken from a range of devices, operating systems and browsers:

Understanding Japan’s advanced internet infrastructure

As a country, Japan and the NICT have access to and have developed advanced internet technologies that allow them to achieve these record data transmission speeds. We’ll take a look at what these technologies involve and what they will mean for regular internet users in the future.

Fiber-optic cable networks

To secure Japan’s current fastest internet speed of 1.02 Petabits per second, researchers used fibers 32 miles long to transmit the data. What’s groundbreaking about this recent achievement is that these fibers are compatible with Japan’s existing cable infrastructure. Japan’s current fiber-optic commercial internet connections use optical fiber transmission windows known as L and C multi-core fiber (MCF) bands to transport data long distances at record speeds.

Recent research extended this bandwidth by introducing an S-band in its efforts to achieve their record speeds, which had the same cladding diameter (0.125mm) as the currently adopted standard optical fibers.

This innovation is therefore suitable to be incorporated into the country’s existing cabling technologies and has a high likelihood of being adopted commercially and enabling internet connectivity to evolve beyond the current 5G services available.

fibre optic wires glowing blue

Japan’s fastest internet service providers

For those who have just moved to Japan or are planning to switch internet providers to make the most of the cutting-edge speeds and technology the country has to offer, it can be overwhelming to find the best service provider.

As mentioned above, Japan’s residents can benefit from fiber-optic internet connections, which are the fastest and most popular option to choose. There are many providers to choose from, with the best option for you depending on various factors like your internet usage and general habits, the type of building you will be residing in, whether it’s a house or an apartment, and your phone contract provider.

For example, prices may be higher for buildings with fewer existing internet connections, so it’s likely to cost more for a house than a large apartment building with many residents.

There are two types of internet providers in Japan that you may come across:

  • Network operators, who are in charge of lending you the fiber-optic cables and any other hardware required to connect and use your devices
  • Internet service providers (ISPs), who are in charge of providing the internet service

More often than not these days, ISPs provide both of these services so you will only need one contract, but it is important to check before signing any agreements.

Some of the most popular fiber-optic ISPs to consider in Japan which is known for their fast speeds include:

  • FLET’S Hikari (フレッツ光). This is a broadband service offered by the network operator NTT, which is the largest telecommunications company in Japan. This ISP has the largest coverage area across Japan whereby many buildings will already have lines set up and ready for use making your internet go-live timeframes a lot shorter. Due to being offered by NTT themselves, they are renowned for providing one of the most reliable and fast internet connections with speeds of up to 1Gbps.
  • Au Hikari (auひかり). This ISP uses KDDI as its network operator, another of the largest telecommunications companies in Japan, and also has a broad coverage area with stable and fast connections of up to 1Gbps. It’s worth noting that this ISP is not available to those in the Kansai area.
  • 5-Nuro Hikari (NURO光). This ISP is renowned for its speed, providing up to 2Gbps, and is ideal for those with higher internet usage, however, it is only available in certain areas of Japan (Kanto, Kansai, Tokai and Hokkaido). The timeframes for setup are known to be longer than other providers and it is also not available for those in buildings with more than eight floors. This ISP uses Sony as its network operating system.

Ultimately, the right choice for you will depend on your priorities. If you are looking for the fastest possible internet speeds in Japan, you should consider ISPs that offer the highest maximum speeds. If you are looking for lower costs or need your internet setup in a smaller timeframe, you may want to opt for ISPs that already have lines set up in your building and the local area.

internet wires plugged into system


The key takeaway from Japan’s current fastest internet speed is that the technology used to achieve this is applicable and accessible for future integration into existing internet and data transmission infrastructures. This means that everyday internet users in Japan and other countries will likely be able to benefit from these advancements and astronomical speeds not too far in the future, particularly if Japan’s research and development continue to progress at the same rate of success.

We hope to have provided some valuable insights into Japan’s fastest and average internet speeds, how the country is able to benefit from such high speeds and what to consider when choosing an ISP in Japan.

Browse our other articles to learn more about living in Japan or getting set up once you’ve made the move. If you’re interested in experiencing Japan first-hand, get in touch to find out how you can discover all the country has to offer whilst earning a living.

About the Author

Brian McDonough is a consultant at Interac, Japan’s largest provider of ALTs (Assistant Language Teachers). Originally from the US, Brian has lived in Japan for over 25 years, giving him a unique perspective on the cultural differences and challenges people face when moving to Japan. He has first-hand experience of working in Japan as an American.