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Social media in Japan – complete guide

In this guide, we introduce the most popular social media platforms in Japan and advise the best online marketing practices for each platform.

Social media in Japan: facts and trends

Before we delve into each social media platform, here are some facts about social media in Japan.

  1. Social media penetration is relatively low (81%) compared to the rest of the world, because of Japan’s ageing population.
  2. As of September 2023, there are 102 million active social media users.
  3. Japan is the only country where Twitter is the most popular social networking platform.
  4. The majority use LINE for messages, not WhatsApp.
  5. Blogging platforms are among the top visited websites.
  6. Influencer marketing is still on the rise on Instagram and TikTok.
  7. Facebook is the LinkedIn of Japan, mainly used for business networking.

Now that you can see that Japan is different to most Western markets let’s take a closer look at the social media scene in the Japanese market.

Top social media platforms in Japan

Based on monthly active user MAU numbers, the most widely used social media platforms in Japan are LINE and YouTube.

The top social networking platforms are LINE, YouTube, and Twitter.


Japan’s most popular messaging app, LINE, has over 95 million monthly active users in the country and 187 million globally.


Categorised as a super app and similar to the Chinese app WeChat, LINE has many features other than messaging, such as a newsfeed, a cashless payment system, a games library, TV streaming, digital comics and an e-commerce platform.

What is more, famous for its animated stickers, LINE even has retail stores that sell official character merchandise. 

LINE in Japan – summary:

– LINE  is the most popular messaging app in Japan;
– There are many users across all age groups, which is  evenly split between men and women;
– It can reach 76% of the Japanese population;
– Close to 20% of smartphone users only use LINE for social media;
– Businesses can promote their product or service on LINE with an Official Account and via LINE Ads;
– LINE coins can be purchased to buy stickers and themes within the app.

For further information about LINE, its users and its implications for digital marketing, please refer to our other articles:

Why LINE is the most popular messenger app in Japan →
How to use LINE Ads for businesses targeting mobile users in Japan →


The popularity of YouTube in Japan is undeniable. The video-sharing platform had over 62 million monthly active users as of October 2018.

According to Alexa, almost 5% of all traffic comes from Japan, ranking the country in 3rd place for number of visitors on YouTube.

What is worth noticing is that top YouTube channels in Japan are mostly Japanese, with many famous Japanese YouTubers such as Hajime (8.65M subscribers) and HikakinTV (8.45M subscribers).

A platform once dominated by Japanese pet videos is now full of content that gives insight into the real opinions of the Japanese people

YouTube in Japan – summary:

– YouTube is the most-used social media in Japan;
– Japan comes in 3rd place globally for the number of YouTube visitors;
– Most users are in their 40s and 50s.


A platform known to be dwindling in users and tweets worldwide is still experiencing massive popularity in Japan.


Regarding users, Japan is second after the USA, with 48.45 million users. Similar to LINE, the catalyst for Twitter’s popularity was the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, where people needed an up-to-date source of information and means of communication. Twitter saw a 33% increase in Japanese users that year.

However, the secret behind Twitter’s popularity may be attributed to the use of aliases on anonymous accounts. As Reuters mentions, we also believe that this allows Japanese users to express their opinions freely, making Twitter a great platform to collect market data on products and services. 

Twitter in Japan – summary:

– No.1 social networking platform in Japan with 48.45 million users;
– Japan is the only country where Twitter is the no.1 social network;
– There are many anonymous users;

– It is great for social listening by market researchers;
– 140-character tweets can convey a more detailed message in Japanese than in English and other languages.


The most popular social networking platform for younger generations is Instagram.


According to Instagram, there are 33 million users on their platform in Japan. Their largest audience is 18-29, spending over 100 million hours on Instagram monthly.

Impressively, Japan comes in first place globally for the number of daily stories at 7 million per day. The engagement rate on Instagram is also extremely high in Japan, placing them second to Greece at 4.93%. In addition, Japanese influencers have high engagement rates in every influencer category.

Instagram in Japan – summary:

– Most popular for users in their 10s and 20s;
– Highly engaging users;
– Great for brands to use influencer marketing;
– World’s largest volume of monthly stories.


The world’s most popular social networking platform is not the most widely used in Japan.


However, it still has 26 million users, with most of them in their 20s and 30s. An interesting feature of Facebook in Japan is that people have been using the platform mainly for business networking. This explains why LinkedIn has had a slow uptake in Japan. 

Facebook in Japan – summary:

– Users in their 20s and 30s;
– Used for business networking;
– Great for B2B marketing;
– Easy ad targeting and insights.


This is a video-sharing service in Japan that ranks 12th on Alexa’s Top Sites in Japan.


Aside from uploading videos and video live streaming, Niconico have other services such as news, blogs, affiliate and advertising. 


Once a clone of Snapchat, SNOW is a selfie camera app owned by Naver, LINE’s parent company.


They have selfie-centric filters, stickers and AR tailored towards a younger audience. 2016, the app raised $50 million from SoftBank Group and Sequoia China.


The relatively new video-sharing platform, TikTok, already has 9.5 million monthly active users in Japan.


With most users in their 10s and 20s, this app is used by many influencers in Japan to create video content for other platforms. In fact, their successful expansion into Japan can be accredited to influencers such as Kyary Pamyu Pamyu


This is a social networking platform which is known more for its blog service. As you can see on SimilarWeb’s top websites in Japan, ranks 18th compared to 38th for

It’s worth mentioning that blogging has long been popular in Japan, with the Japanese language coming in first place for most blogged languages in 2007. It may be the anonymity of blogging that attracts many Japanese users.

Using social media in Japan for businesses?

Let’s work together!

With over 102 million social media users in Japan and many platforms to choose from, creating the right content for the appropriate platform is important, depending on your product, service and target audience.

Hiring social media marketing experts for the Japanese market is a fool-proof and efficient way to reach customers in Japan.

Our team at DMFA provides comprehensive social media marketing services in Japan and other countries in Asia-Pacific region.

Simply fill in the form and our team will get back to you as soon as possible →

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