How to watch Japanese TV in the UK: Beginner’s Guide

Japanese female and white male watching TV

Ah, Japan, the land of Anime, Mount Fuji, Matcha, ABK48, Shinkansen, Cherry Blossom and a whole host of other intriguing Japanese cultures.

While Japan has given the world a lot, much of its TV remains inaccessible, especially if you’re in the UK. So if you’re a lover of Japanese culture or you’re Japanese and you’re travelling or living in the UK then your choice of Japanese TV is pretty much non-existent.

Like most other countries, Japan has a selection of online streaming services but these are only accessible in Japan and if you try to visit their websites or use their apps then you’ll be blocked from viewing. Much like if you try to access UK services such as iPlayer outside the UK.

You’ll find them blocked because of geo-restrictions meaning only those in Japan can watch. However, by using a ‘VPN’ app, you can avoid these geo-restrictions allowing you to watch Japanese TV in the UK and below I’ll be showing you how.

What is a VPN and how does it work?

A VPN is an app that protects your online privacy. One of the features which allows you to watch Japanese TV in the UK is letting you disguise your location so you seem like you’re in another country.

VPN apps are available for all types of devices and cost just a few pounds per month, although it’s common for them to charge you in US Dollars.

Because online privacy is huge these days, it means there’s a lot of choice of VPN apps and many companies sell them. However, it’s worth noting that not all support Japan and many don’t work for Japanese TV.

Where can I get a VPN?

With so many options choosing a VPN to watch Japanese TV is not only confusing, it’s time-consuming and through trial and error can be quite costly.

I’ve been testing a whole range of VPN apps with Japanese TV services. Some were good, some bad and some didn’t work at all.

In the end I concluded that the following three are the best for the job.

Best VPN to watch Japanese TV:

  1. ExpressVPN – Fast streaming with no buffering
  2. IPVanish7 day money back guarantee
  3. NordVPNEasiest to set-up and use

If you find one of the above doesn’t work to your liking then let me know so I can keep this list updated.

To watch Japanese TV in the UK you just need to pick one. My favourite is ExpressVPN but you can choose any as they all work.

Watch Japanese TV in the UK

How to watch Japanese TV in the UK

There’s just a few simple steps to get watching Japanese TV and below I’ve rounded them up.

Follow the steps below, I’m using ExpressVPN as my example but you can adapt these steps with the other VPN services as they all work similarly.

  1. Visit the ExpressVPN website, choose a subscription length and sign up for their service. You can get 3-months free on the 12-month package saving 49% off the standard price.
  2. Go to the Products section of their website and download the correct app for your type of device.
  3. Install and open the app.
  4. Login with your account details or activate it with the activation code.
  5. Press the ‘Choose Location‘ button.
  6. Then press ‘All‘.
  7. Then ‘Asia Pacific‘.
  8. Finally ‘Japan‘.
  9. If required press the ‘Connect‘ button.
  10. Once it’s connected visit your favourite Japanese TV streaming website or use their app.
ExpressVPN Windows application connecting to Japan.

Connect to Japan on ExpressVPN to watch Japanese TV.

What Japanese TV can I watch?

When you’re connected to the VPN app from ExpressVPN or one of the other services you can access any Japanese TV website or app and watch without restriction.

There’s a mix of both free-to-air and subscription services you can access.

Some of the best to try include:

If you’ve got a Netflix account then you can often access Japanese Netflix merely by connecting to the VPN app and visiting the Netflix website or using their app. However, using Netflix can be a little unreliable.

Have a search around the internet as you’ll be able to use any other Japanese TV websites or apps.

What devices can I watch Japanese TV on?

The three VPN services recommended all offer apps for a full range of devices.

So you can watch Japanese TV on your phone, tablet, computer or laptop.

It’s even possible to watch on an Amazon Fire TV because they provide VPN apps for these devices too.

This will allow you to watch Japanese TV on your actual TV. You’ll need to use a built-in web-browser such as ‘Internet’ (formally Silk Browser) or download FireFox to watch.

In Summary

If you’re after watching Japanese TV in the UK to learn the language, immerse yourself in the culture or if you’re Japanese and living or travelling in the UK then thankfully it’s easy.

For this, you’ll need a VPN app. There are thousands of companies that sell them but my tested and recommended choice is ExpressVPN.

Visit their website and sign up for their service (remembering their 12-month package is cheapest) then download their app.

Then connect to Japan and enjoy streaming as much Japanese TV in the UK as you want.


Ready to get a VPN? Try our recommended VPN service provider.

  • Watch any Japanese TV network
  • Very easy to set-up and use
  • No cable subscription needed

Christopher Seward

Author: Christopher Seward

After 25 years of using the internet, Christopher launched one of the very first VPN comparison websites in 2013. An expert in the field his reviews, testing and knowledge have helped thousands of users get the correct VPN for their needs.


  1. Avatar Ray Pope

    Dear Sir,
    I am interested in using my internet connection to watch ( and learn) Japanese.
    I already subscribe to a VPN from “AVAST” Can I use my AVAST to watch Japanese TV?
    Thank you and regards,
    Ray Pope

    • Hi Ray,

      We haven’t tested AVAST ourselves. Connect to their Japanese servers and head over to one of the Japanese streaming sites to see if it works. Would be great to hear how you get on.

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