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Some advice about using Japanese search engines.

Romaji is generally not used on Japanese web pages and will return poor search results. If you don't have a native Japanese operating system on your computer, you will get best results by using something like JWP to write out the request and pasting it into the search box using New-JIS encoding. Kanji search terms work better than 'spelling it out' as well.

Japanese Search Engines and Indexes

Google Japan

If you liked the English version, you'll love the Japanese one. Direct, good searches with the full power of Google.

Yahoo! Japan

As a child of the mother of all index sites, you would expect a superlative performance from Yahoo! Japan. Unfortunately this expectation is only partially fufilled. Yahoo! Japan unquestionably has an immense database - but it has the feel of 'Yahoo's little brother wearing handy downs' in its look and feel. Still a very good source of topically sorted links.

Infoseek Japan

Infoseek's entry in the Japanese search engines market.


""Retrieval loCation by weighted AssociAtion rUle," pronounced "Mo-n-do-u." Using RCAAU you may gain insight into one of the methods of Zen.

Huh? Well, anyway it is a (admittedly somewhat odd) search engine. Not very polished and 'feels' small.
(Japanese and English)


Pretty to the point. Fast without a lot of 'god its reloading the advertising graphics again' you see on so many search engines. I liked the fact that you can list a lot of found pages at once instead of only ten or twenty at a time like a lot of other search engines. Sponsored by Fujitsu Limited. It did a good job even on romaji searches.

BigLobe Search

Not a name I recognized initially, but my test search there produced a lot of good hits fast. I would definitely recommend it.

Nihongo Yellow Pages

Not a conventionel web index, but a virtual yellow pages for Japanese related businesses both on and off the net. Unfortunately it really doesn't sub-divide its information well enough: It consists mainly of long unsorted lists and they are not as picky about making sure that the listings are actually relevant to Japan as they should be. But there are some gems hidden in there.
(English and Japanese)

URL Square List of Search Engines

URL Square is itself a search engine, but what is interesting here is the ease with which it can be made to return a current list of things that look like search engines for Japan. ;-)
(English and Japanese)

Japan Information Network

Run by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (beware of Greeks and bureaucrats bearing gifts), it has lots of links, but the site organization could be better (it suffers from having too many links per page). I recommend the framed version over the non-framed version. It also has a good collection of Japan related statistics.


This is a relatively new site. While they have a search engine, they seem strongest as an index site. Well organized, and the links they have are pretty good. They do still have some strangeness about their URL - sometime you lose the domain name and end up with their IP address (this is very minor). Interestingly, they also mark if english content is available on a link.


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