Registering .jp Domains for Cheap

Greg Lane

If you’re targeting a Japanese audience, a .jp domain can be an easy way to indicate that the service is intended for Japan and Japanese web users. .jp domains can be registered by anyone, anywhere and are administered by Japan Registry Service (JPRS).  JPRS only deals with registrars that are incorporated in Japan, so if you are using a service like Godaddy or Namecheap, then they are going through a Japanese registrar – which is why .jp domains typically cost $US100 or more through these sites.

As usual, if you want to get cheap, you have to go local.  Competition in recent times has pushed the prices down considerably.  For 1 year, you will typically pay about 2,700 to 3,000 yen.  This is much more expensive than the $US10 for .com domains, but a lot better than the 6 to 7,000 yen it used to cost a few years ago.

Since there is little price difference amongst the budget providers, you should probably make your decision based on other factors – probably most important is ease of use.  Here are a few options and some comments on each.

Star Domain

1 year: 2,780yen

Star Domain has a relatively simple and well designed registration and management system.  Like most of the cheaper registrars, you need to buy credit first and then use it to register a domain.  The interface is mainly text based and therefore something like the translation feature of Google Chrome should work quite well.

This is the registrar that I prefer.

http://www.star-domain.jp/

Onamae.com



1 year: 2,990yen

Onamae.com has been around for a really long time (in internet years) and is just a bit more expensive than Star Domain.  Unfortunately it suffers because they try to offer everything else in addition to domain registration (hosting, remote desktop, blah, blah) through the same site.  The designer has also gone a bit over the top with javascript and stylised images, so it’s not going to work very well through a translate tool if you can’t read the Japanese.

I can’t comment on the domain management interface because I haven’t registered a domain through them.

http://www.onamae.com/



Value Domain

1 year: 2,990yen

This is the registrar I used to use before I discovered Star Domain.  While they are similarly priced to Star Domain, the major downfall with this service is their incredibly complicated menu system.  Also the support is quite poor.  One time when I accidentally paid twice through their payment gateway, they refused to refund the double payment as they were a ‘low service’ company!  The interface is almost entirely text based, so no barriers for the translate tool in Google Chrome – except the original Japanese is hard enough to work out so I’m sure it won’t make much sense in English either.

https://www.value-domain.com/

If you’re looking to register a .co.jp domain, then you’ll need to have some kind of Japanese corporation.  You don’t need to have a Kabushikigaisha (KK), .co.jp registrations are also open to LLPs and LLCs.  Make sure you choose a good domain though as you are only permitted a single .co.jp domain per entity.  The registration process is also a little trickier.

If you don’t speak or you can’t handle Japanese, then you’d be best to go through a more conventional domain registrar such as 101domain.com which offers .jp domains (but not .co.jp domains) from US$52/year.

 

Photo credit: Original Mount Fuji Image by Ivan Walsh


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14 Responses to “Registering .jp Domains for Cheap”

  1. Wekabeka

    Thanks for the article! I’m a Tokyo based blogger and I want a .jp domain name for my (yet to migrated) wordpress.org blog. Buying the domain name looks easy enough, but do you know if they have a blog migration service?

    • CheapoGreg

      Hi there, Do you mean wordpress.com? WordPress.com is the hosted service while wordpress.org is the one which you need to set-up yourself. Unfortunately it’s not quite as simple as getting a domain and transferring your blog, you will need to organise hosting for your site as well. Although the cheapest .jp domains are available in Japan, you can host your site anywhere – there are plenty of cheap hosting providers like Site5, Godaddy etc. Some of them may migrate the blog for you for free. If managing your domain and site separately sounds like too much of a challenge then you might want to either stay with wordpress.com or go with a higher cost offering that provides more support.

  2. Great article, I was thinking of getting a .jp with godaddy.com as I am already a customer though the ones you mentioned seem cheaper, although godaddys .jp is like 7000 yen as they are not a registrar of .jp but their .com is $9.99 and their ultimate webhosting has unlimited webspace, emails, SSL etc for $7US per month. Their support is responded within the hour which is what is good. My question is in regards to Star-domain and the others you mentioned. Do they accept foreign Visa cards from the states and Australia for example, how good is their level of support? did you have any issues with them so far? what do you think of KDDI or NTT webhosting and how do they compete against godaddys webhosting for example (if your aware) Hope to talk soon, would be good to hang out in Japan some time too, where are you from? email me some time.

    • CheapoGreg

      Hi Ronin,

      There is a bit of a compromise with these cheap hosts – ie. no English support so you should be either reasonably comfortable with your Japanese or know someone who is. I can’t say about foreign credit cards because I’ve never tried it. In general, Japanese payment gateways are a bit hit and miss with credit cards from foreign banks – even if they say they accept Visa, Mastercard etc. They do accept Paypal though. Also there is no automatic charging of your credit card for renewals, so you have to make sure your account is charged before the billing date arrives. Easy to overlook sometimes.

      The only major issue I’ve had with them was when installing an SSL/TLS cert on my machine. Approval for the cert is sent to the technical admin email – in this case a star domain email address was automatically registered as the technical contact. They changed it for me, but I couldn’t change it through their admin panel – so it’s not quite as fully featured as something like Godaddy.
      I don’t use any shared hosting so I can’t comment. I prefer Linode and AWS. Support with Linode is excellent and they have a data center in Tokyo so there is super low latency – but I’d only recommend either of these if you know how to set-up and configure your own web server.

      Greg

  3. Great article! Just what i needed! I live in Japan and am making peaceofcode.com into Japanese and setting up a sales staff, support staff and all the related documentation, etc. My Japanese is lousey becuase my wife spoils me with her handy dandy translation skills.

    I was curious if Japan has any payment gateways like stripe.com with a good API?

    • CheapoGreg

      Sadly, there’s nothing like Stripe in Japan. Most start-ups go with Paypal to start with – which is pretty unsatisfactory. I have integrated something called J-payment once in the past, but it was for a Japan based international site and we had to take it out when we realised they only handle yen and Japanese credit cards. They’re one of the cheaper options, but they still lock you into a one year contract for a few thousand yen a month and you have to give them 3 months notice to cancel. The industry is really in need of disruption but there are also a lot of regulations that slow things down – apparently for stopping money laundering. Meanwhile everyone is disadvantaged and the money launderers just find a way around the regulations anyway. Good luck with setting up the Japanese site!

  4. Can you also suggest a web hosting service in Japan? If I register a domain using star-domain, which hosting service shall I use? Or the star-domain provide hosting service?

    • CheapoGreg

      Whoah, don’t know how I left your comment unanswered! Sakura Internet is pretty popular. Although I’d recommend a host outside Japan. The ping time from the US West Coast is fine unless you are doing something that requires no latency. Digital Ocean is great and if you want something in Tokyo then Linode and AWS are good options. These are all VPS/instances though so lots of set-up required.

  5. TokyoGaijin

    Is it possible to pay at the conbini? If not how do you recommend making a payment for a domain registration? I have credit cards from the US but would rather pay via the conbini. What options are there?

    • CheapoGreg

      Sorry for the horribly slow reply. What did you end up doing?

  6. I try to buy at onamae.com but the problem is that, even when they have a list of countries, when you go to the next step… the registration fails because you are not from Japan!!!

  7. Did anyone registered at stardomain?
    I understood that they are asking to buy some prepaid stuff at netowl, only then we can start to buy a domain. Is this corret?

    • CheapoGreg

      Stardomain is part of Netowl. You pre-pay the amount for the domain and then you register it. Make sure you actually CAN register the domain before you waste your money. Although they’re cheap and relatively easy, I’ve had a bad experience with Stardomain. I wanted to transfer a domain from my account to a client who also had an account at Stardomain but they couldn’t do it! I had to transfer or cancel the domains I didn’t want and then change the login information so I could give it to my client. Ridiculous.

  8. Peter McArthur

    Thanks! That’s a big help for me trying to set up a website for my church. I’d have probably paid about twice as much for my domain name without this article.


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