On October 28, Delightworks and Sega will bring Sakura Revolution: Maidens In Bloom (Sakura Kakumei: Hanasaku Otome-tachi) to iOS and Android in Japan. The game, which is set in the same universe as the rest of the franchise, will jump a full seventy-one years into the future from the most recent mainline adventure. Indeed, players will explore the formerly steampunk world in the year Taisho 100 (2011 CE). Spiricle power has been replaced a mysterious energy source known as Mirai, and a duo of Combat Revues are brought to blows as they duke it out for supremacy.

Sakura Revolution Gameplay Still

While the title hasn’t been confirmed for a global release as of press time, that has rarely been a real obstacle for fans of the franchise in the past. After all, series fans have soldered mod chips, burned swap discs, and gained a striking familiarity with import retailers during much of the franchise’s earliest days. Bypassing an app store’s region lock is merely the latest hurdle to hop for a chance to explore the world of the Imperial Combat Revue.

This short guide aims to walk fans through the process of pre-registering for (and eventually downloading) games from the Japanese Google Play Store without rooting their device.

What You Will Need

  • A VPN

Free or paid, it doesn’t matter what VPN you choose, so long as you can change your region.

Setting Up A Japanese Gmail Account

Before we begin anything, you’re going to need a Japanese Google account. Without this, you will be unable to download the game via the Play Store.

To do this, we need to do the following:

  • If logged into Gmail, log out, or open a Private Browsing window in your browser.
  • Set your VPN to a Japanese address.

An image of a VPN interface. The region for Japan is highlighted.

  • Navigate to com and click “アカウントを作成” (“Account Sakusei”/”Create an Account”)

Japanese Gmail Setup Screen

  • Click “自分用” (“Jibun-yo” / “For Me”)
  • Fill out the form with the information indicated below.

Japanese Gmail Setup Screen

  • On the next page, click the flag and choose your country. Enter your phone number in the textbox and click the Blue button.

Japanese Gmail Setup Screen

  • Google will send a verification code via SMS. Enter the number into the textbox on the page and hit the Blue button.
  • On the next page, you will be asked to fill out personal information, such as your email, date of birth, and gender. We’ve labeled the details below.

Japanese Gmail Setup Screen

  • On the following page, click the Blue Button
  • The final page is the ToS. Scroll to the bottom and click the Blue button.

And that’s it! You’re now in your Japanese Gmail account. You’ll need this for both pre-registration and for downloads, so keep the information safe in your password manager of choice.

Pre-Registering for Sakura Revolution

Sega has set up a website that allows potential players to subscribe to receive Sakura Revolution app updates, as well as an email newsletter from Sega. You’ll need your Japanese Gmail account for this, so don’t change back to your home region on your VPN just yet.

A textbox prompt with two checkboxes and a submit button.

Return to your Gmail Japan tab. Under the Promotions tab, you should have an email from “noreply@pre.sega-net.jp”, confirming that you are pre-registered for the app. DO NOT DELETE ANY EMAILS FROM THIS ADDRESS. Sega will be using these emails to distribute updates on the app, as well as other relevant materials.

With this information in-hand, you can safely turn off your VPN.

Downloading Apps from Google Play’s Japanese Store

Find A VPN

To download apps on your phone, you’ll need a phone-based VPN. Thankfully, there are numerous free choices on the Google Play Store, including:

Once you have a VPN installed, proceed to the next steps.

Adding Your Japanese Gmail Account to Your Phone

  • Open your VPN, and set your region to Japan, before connecting to the VPN.
  • Open your Settings app, then click “Accounts”, followed by “Add Account”

Prompt from Android's "Settings" App

  • Under the Add an Account screen, tap Google.

Prompt from the "Add An Account" section of Android's "Settings" App

  • Log in with your Japanese Gmail address, then tap “Yes I’m In” when prompted.
  • Tap “I Agree.”
  • While connected to the VPN still, open Google Play. Tap your profile pic, then tap your Japanese Gmail address. Click “Agree”

And that’s it! You are now able to download apps through the Japanese Play Store, via a web browser or the app.

Download prompt for IDOLM@STER Million Live on Android

When using your Japanese account, you must use the VPN to connect to Japanese servers before entering the app store. Once the app is downloaded, though, you won’t need to connect again unless downloading new games.

Conclusion

With your account set up, you should be all set to download Sakura Revolution, or just about any other region-locked game that your heart desires. Whether it’s a fan favorite like IDOLM@STER Million Live or Symphogear, or a quirky spinoff like Fist of the North Star Pachislot, you will no longer be constrained by the barriers of the region lock. Though this isn’t the only way to install Japan-only apps, it offers a reliable solution that doesn’t involve side-loading apps or rooting your device.

Special Thanks

  • Reinesis, for a heads-up on the sign-up page
  • SkeithReviews, for her help in going through the process to set up my own device.