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:
- NordVPN – Easiest to set-up and use
- IPVanish – 7 day money back guarantee
ExpressVPN – Fast streaming with no buffering
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 NordVPN 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 NordVPN as my example but you can adapt these steps with the other VPN services as they all work similarly.
- Visit the NordVPN website, choose a subscription length and sign up for their service.
- Go to the VPN Apps section of their website and download the correct app for your type of device.
- Install and open the app.
- Login with your account details.
- Go to ‘Settings‘ -> ‘Advanced‘ and enable ‘Obfuscated Servers‘.
- From the Obfuscated Servers section select Japan.
- If required press the ‘Connect‘ button.
- Once it's connected visit your favourite Japanese TV streaming website or use their app.
What Japanese TV can I watch?
When you're connected to the VPN app from NordVPN 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.
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 NordVPN.
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.