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Guide: How to access the Nintendo Switch eShop from any region

by Oliver BrandtMarch 30, 2017

You might have heard by now that the Nintendo Switch eShop is region free af. One of the most incredible developments that came with the Switch was the move to a region free ecosystem. This means you can buy and import games from anywhere in the world, regardless of release date. More incredible still, is that you can have access to any eShop in the world, right at your fingertips.

It’s incredibly easy to set up, though the process can take a bit of time and it can be a bit difficult to know what to do next, so we thought we’d put together a guide.

Just as a quick note, it seems like Nintendo has prevented 99% of credit and debit cards from working on foreign eShops. However, it is possible to buy eShop cards from other regions, so that’s probably your best bet if you want to buy games from a different region’s eShop.

First off, you’ll need to open up a web browser on your PC or tablet and navigate to accounts.nintendo.com. If you’re already logged into an account, simply log out by clicking on your user icon in the top right hand corner of the page. Once you’re logged out, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the big button labelled “Create a Nintendo Account.”

Next, you’ll want to click the button on the right labelled “Create your Nintendo Account.”

Fill in the details, making sure you use an email address that isn’t already tied to a Nintendo Account. Near the bottom of the page, you’ll find a dropdown for country/region; simply select the country of the eShop you want to access. We picked Japan, because Japan gets all the cool stuff.

Once you’ve filled out all the details and agreed to the terms and conditions (which I’m sure you definitely read), click the “Create account” button. Don’t close the page just yet! You’ll be sent an email to the address you used to sign up for the account containing a 4-digit code used to verify your account. Simply enter the code into the box and click the confirm button. And that’s it! Your account is created, but you still need to get it onto your Switch.

On your Switch, you’ll want to open up the settings app and navigate to the “User” section. Click the “Add New User” button underneath all the profile pictures.

Go through the steps of setting an icon and a nickname for the account. We suggest picking a nickname that is easily identifies the account as being from another region.

You’ll then be prompted to link a Nintendo Account. Click the “Sign In” button and the console’s browser will pop up asking you to sign in. Click “Sign in using an email address or Sign-In ID” and enter the details of the account before clicking the big “Sign in” button.

You may be faced with a page filled with a foreign language you might not know, a check box, and a button. The text is telling you that you need to enter your password again, and the check box is asking if you’d like to save the password so you don’t have to enter it in the future.

After this, you might be directed to another page filled with a wall text and graphics, telling you about the paid online service, due to hit later this year. Simply scroll down to the bottom of the page and hit the big glowing “OK” button to continue.

You’re done! Now all that’s left is to hit home, open up the eShop, select the account you just created and…

… voila! Welcome to the eShop of another region.

It’s worth noting that this comes with a couple of caveats. Firstly, credit and debit cards from your region won’t work in a foreign region’s eShop, no matter what. If you want to purchase games in another region’s eShop,you’ll have to find a way to buy an eShop card from that region. Secondly, when you have accounts from more than one region on your Switch, the news section tends to get a bit bloated with notifications from regions that won’t necessarily be important to you, and they might not be in a language you understand either. It is possible to turn news off but it’s all or nothing; if you turn news off, you won’t get news for your region either.

One final point of note is that you can change the region of your existing account, but we strongly recommend that you don’t. Your eShop balance won’t carry over, and you won’t be able to use credit/debit cards or eShop cards from your region either. On top of that, DLC is region locked,so any physical game carts from your region won’t be able to access DLC bought from the eShop of another region.

But hey, at least the option is there.

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About The Author
Oliver Brandt
News Editor, sometimes-reviewer, and Oxford comma advocate. If something's published on Vooks, there's a good chance I looked over it first. I spend way too much on games and use way too many em dashes.
  • Egg roll
    March 30, 2017 at 5:04 pm

    I’ve just bought a physical copy of I am Setsuna from Japan. When the DLC for the game is eventually released I imagine the only way to access it would be from the Japanese eShop, though the DLC will be released in other regions?

  • Heywes
    March 30, 2017 at 7:25 pm

    It was the same on the Wii U. I made a UK account and did this and bought several games not released in Aus and and could play them with any account on my Wii U.

  • Cam
    March 31, 2017 at 5:45 am

    Whilst it’s region-free the UX seems to be poor on a digital/physical import (more so digital). Like Egg roll mentioned, what happens with DLC on imported titles? I’m assuming updates/patches to games will be pushed to you regardless of country once the game has registered data on your system? Also, do you need to swap profiles to be able to play games bought from different countries?

    So many questions!

    • Gavin
      March 31, 2017 at 2:50 pm

      Don’t need to swap profiles to play. All games on the system are accessible to all users on that system. Same as with PS3 for instance.
      DLC must match the region of the original game.

      So does anyone know which region has the cheapest prices?

  • Mike
    April 1, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    Dont get a japanese account. It clogs your news feed with rubbish.

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