Japanese Search Engines: Most Popular Search Engines in Japan

Is your business planning to enter Japan market? Then, did you know that Japan is another country like China, South Korea and Russia where Google does not have 90% of the search engine market share?

So, what’s the most popular search engine in Japan? – Google and Yahoo! Japan are the most popular search engines in Japan. 

In this post, we will discuss the market share of Japan search engines and give you a hint on which platform should you choose to promote your products and expand your business in Japan.

Let’s dive in.

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Japan’s Search Engine Market Share

When looking for the market share and the popularity of Japanese search engines, you will see a variety of sources with different data. However, no matter which source, you will agree that Google and Yahoo are the most popular Japanese search engines.

According to StatCounter, the most popular search engine in Japan is Google which reached 74.59% market share in January 2021. Also, Japanese are more willing to use Yahoo on mobile device than desktop. Here is the full data on Search Engine Market Share in Japan for 2021 by StatCounter.

GoogleYahooBingOther
All74.59%19.36%5.63%0.4200%
Desktop73.66%13.74%12.06%0.5400%
Mobile75.60%23.89%0.20%0.3100%
Tablet71.55%24.71%3.08%0.6600%

According to Statista, when asked people “which search engine have you used in the past 4 weeks?”, 75% Japanese have used Google and 62% Japanese used Yahoo. In this case, we can assume that many Japanese use both Google and Yahoo.

According to VALUES, Google has the top numbers in unique users with an estimation of 114 million. Yahoo Japan is ranked 4th with 93 million users, which is approximately 27% less than Google Japan.

Yahoo! Japan – Japan’s No.1 Web Platform

Yahoo! and SoftBank formed Yahoo! Japan in January 1996 to set up the first web portal in Japan. Yahoo! Japan went live on April 1, 1996.

Yahoo! Japan’s web portal is the most visited website in Japan until, and its internet services are mostly dominant in the country.

Yahoo! Japan

Although Yahoo! JAPAN may not have the greatest search engine market share, through its various apps and services you can reach 88% of all smartphone users and 67% of all PC users in Japan. With over 100 services, ranging from Yahoo! JAPAN News (no.1 online news website in Japan), Yahoo! JAPAN Shopping (top 3 marketplace in Japan) to Paypay (no.1 smartphone payment system in Japan), most Japanese internet users (there were specifically 79.5 million users in April 2020) interact with a Yahoo! JAPAN service every day.

Specifically, Yahoo! Japan provides popular original content and other services including:

  • Yahoo! Japan Auctions (ヤフオク!)
  • Yahoo! Japan T-Point
  • Yahoo! Premium
  • Yahoo! Bookstore
  • Yahoo! Japan News
  • Yahoo! Japan Mail
  • Yahoo! Japan GeoCities
  • Yahoo! Japan Toto
  • Yahoo! Shopping
  • Yahoo! Travel
  • Yahoo! Roko
  • Yahoo! Box
  • Yahoo! Mobage
  • Yahoo! Wisdom Bag
  • Yahoo! Browser
  • Yahoo! Japan GyaO

As widely known, Yahoo Japan uses Google’s algorithm, so the search results in Yahoo is similar to Google. However, it should be noted, there may be differences in the search results pages due to Ads, local Maps packs, News items, and more.

Yahoo! Japan SERPs

Google – Japan’s No.1 Search Engine

Google is a technology company that is known for its minimalistic search engine platform, as well as offering other services such as Gmail, Google Drive and Hangouts, etc. It dominates the search engine market globally, with the exception of China, Russia, South Korea, and Japan.

Google’s mission is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”. It indexes billions of Web pages, so that users can search for the information they desire, through the use of keywords and operators. Google has also employed the Web Search technology into other search services, including Image Search, Google News, the price comparison site Google Product Search, the interactive Usenet archive Google Groups, Google Maps. 

Google Japan

Which Japan Search Engine Should You Focus On?

Which search engine should you focus on? The question comes up. Google still has the largest share in any case and devices, and Yahoo! Japan is the most popular website in Japan.

From an SEO point of view, there is no problem if you have optimized for Google because Yahoo! has been using Google search technology since 2011. However, for paid search ads (PPC ads), the ads display tools are different. As a result, there are differences in what ads are displayed. You should treat them differently and both of them are very important.

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