The Penguin Guide to Jazz states "Cannonball in Japan is another live show in a favourite location: the group play well enough, but it won't enrich any who have other Adderley records". The Allmusic review stated "Japanese live albums are almost always a delight. Respectful audiences and high-fidelity recording equipment usually combine to make terrific-sounding records of strong, intense performances. Julian "Cannonball" Adderley's fantastic live document In Japan is no exception. Recorded in August 1966 in Tokyo, In Japan features the alto saxophonist at the peak of his career. Backed by his best band -- cornet player Nat Adderley, electric pianist Joe Zawinul, bassist Victor Gaskin, and drummer Roy McCurdy -- Adderley runs through a fairly standard set but does so in anything but a workmanlike way".