All over the world, people love to watch Japanese TV. Whether you’re interested in anime, J-dramas, sports, or music, Japan has a wonderful selection on television content which is enjoyed internationally. However, if you do not live in Japan then it is not always easy to find a place to watch Japanese TV channels online.
The problem is that many websites which offer the ability to stream Japanese TV shows only work within Japan. If you try to use these sites from somewhere else in the world, you’ll get an error message. However, there is a way to watch these websites even when you are not in Japan by using a VPN. Read on to learn more about how to watch Japanese TV outside Japan.
Where To Stream Japanese TV Online
There is a big range of Japanese TV shows and channels, with content that covers dramas, news, music, sports, current events, reality TV, and much more. Some of the most popular channels are NHK, which focuses on news content, and other channels like TV Asahi, TBS, TV Tokyo, and Tokyo MX, which cover entertainment, dramas, and current events. There is also the popular Fuji TV network, which has a large number of both premium and regular channels covering sports, drama, anime, and live TV.
If you live outside of Japan, then you might want to try using a streaming service like Streema to watch Japanese content. Alternatively, you can use Netflix Japan to watch a massive range of Japanese-exclusive content, including animes which aren’t available on Netflix in other countries.
If you access the sites from within Japan then you’ll be able to stream the videos with no problems, but if you access the site from another country then you’ll get an error message and you won’t be able to play the videos. This is called region locking.
How Does Region Locking Work?
The key to geographical content restrictions, or region locking, is your IP address. This is a unique string of numbers which is assigned to your device whenever you connect to a network. Contained inside this string of numbers is code that identifies where in the world you’re connection from. From this information, streaming websites will decide whether or not they will serve content to your device, based on regional copyright restrictions.
Let’s look at an example: if you live in France and try to access the American Netflix, your French IP address will flag the website to redirect you to Netflix France instead. Why does this happen? It mostly has to do with copyright and licensing. Netflix may deem it too expensive to justify securing rights to stream French-language content in an English-speaking country (or visa versa).
Ge0-blocking is by no means limited to Netflix, and is in fact employed by a wide range of services including Hulu, the BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime Video. Unfortunately, websites featuring streams of Japanese TV are no exception.
Get Around Region Locks With A VPN
Fortunately, there is a way for users to get around region locks and watch content from anywhere in the world, and that is to use a virtual private network. A VPN is a piece of software that you install onto your device, and which encrypts all of the data that your device sends over the internet.
The encrypted data is then sent to a server in another location – in this case, in Japan – where the data is decrypted and passed on to its original destination. This means that when your VPN is connected, you can use the internet as usual, but with one key difference: you will be assigned an IP address corresponding to the location of the server instead of your actual location, masking your true IP address.
The upshot of all of this is that when you use a VPN to connect to a server in Japan, you will be assigned a Japanese IP address. Then, when you visit a Japanese TV website, it will read your traffic as coming from a location inside Japan, and treat you like a local user. This method allows you to watch Japanese TV as well as to access Japanese news sites, social media sites, and other Japan-only websites.
Other Reasons To Use A VPN
As well as letting you watch Japanese TV, there are several security advantages to using a VPN that you should be aware of:
- Improve your privacy. Prevent your ISP or your government from spying on your internet activities or reading your messages by encrypting your data so that no one can read it.
- Beef up your security. Sending unencrypted data of the internet puts you at risk for identity theft, phishing, vishing, and other types of hacks and scams. Encrypting your data prevents bad actors from accessing it.
- Share files safely. If you participate in file sharing such as using torrents to download movies or music, then you are at risk of being targeted by law enforcement. To avoid being prosecuted or hit with a fine for copyright infringement, use a VPN to encrypt your traffic and keep your downloading secret and private.
- Get around censorship or website blocks. If there are some websites which are blocked or censored in your country, then you can use a VPN to access these sites easily. By routing your data via a server in another country, you can accessed blocked sites and use the internet more freely.
Our Recommended VPNs To Unblock Japanese TV
Seeing all of the advantages of a VPN in addition to the ability to watch Japanese TV from anywhere in the world, it’s clear that a VPN is very useful to have. However, now you have to choose the right VPN provider. Although you might be tempted to use a free VPN to save money, this is not advisable as free VPN providers have a history of behaving unethically and actually make you less safe by selling off your data.
Instead, you should choose a reputable paid VPN provider that meets all of the key requirements of a VPN:
- Servers in Japan so that you can connect to one of these servers and get a Japanese IP address, which allows you to watch Japanese TV content.
- Fast server connections so that you can stream videos in high definition without being slowed down by your VPN and without experiencing buffering or slow loading issues.
- Excellent security features to keep your data safe and private, like the use of strong 256-bit encryption and a no logging policy.
- Support for many different operating systems so that you can use your one VPN subscription to simultaneously protect all of your different devices.
Taking all of these factors into mind, here are the VPN providers that we recommend for international users who want to watch Japanese TV online:
1. ExpressVPN – Best In Class
ExpressVPN is a hugely popular VPN with users of all kinds thanks to its combination of fast connections, excellent security, and high ease of use. In terms of servers, the massive network covers more than 2000 nodes in 94 countries, including two locations in Tokyo for unblocking Japanese TV websites. The connections are super fast, definitely earning the “express” name, so you won’t have any problems with buffering or lag when streaming.
ExpressVPN’s security suite encompasses strong 256-bit encryption to keep your data safe, and a no logging policy so you can be confident that your data will never be recorded or shared with a third party. Additional options include an IP address checker, DNS leak protection, and an automatic kill switch. Using the software couldn’t be easier, with dedicated versions available on Windows, Mac OS, Linus, Android, iOS, game consoles, smart TVs and even browsers like Chrome, Firefox and Safari.
Read our full ExpressVPN review.
2. NordVPN – Most Features
NordVPN offers nothing if not options. For proof, you only have to look at their server network, which eclipses the competition with over 4900 servers in 62 countries. Included in these numbers is an array of specialty servers, which are optimized for applications like onion over VPN, P2P, anti-DDoS, double VPN encryption, and even dedicated IP. There’s even a unique CyberSec option, which you can toggle on to filter out ads and block malware.
For users trying to watch Japanese TV abroad, NordVPN offers robust connection speeds, cloaked by impenetrable 256-bit AES encryption. With the industry’s best no-logging policy, you’ll never have to worry about leaving a trail of evidence for ISPs or copyright trolls to pick up and nail you on. NordVPN provides these features and more within an attractive user interface, featuring an interactive server map. Dedicated software is available on Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iOS, Chrome OS, Android, or Windows Phone.
Read our full NordVPN review.
3. CyberGhost – Easiest To Use
While CyberGhost holds a wide appeal on the VPN market, it is especially well suited to first-time users. Instead of bombarding you with configuration options, CyberGhost simply asks you to tell it what you want to do online. This can include “unblock streaming sites”, “protect my wifi connection” or “browse anonymously”. Once you’ve made your selection, your VPN software will do the rest, automatically optimizing the settings to the task.
This simplicity belies a robust core of security features, including industry-standard 256-bit AES encryption, a massive server network over 2800 strong in 60 countries, and a strict no-logging policy. For users looking to watch Japanese TV, it’s also easy to manually connect to one of the four servers located in Japan. With dedicated apps available for all major platforms (including iOS, Android, Windows, Mac OS, and so many more), you’ll never be left without CyberGhost’s incredible online protection.
Read our full CyberGhost review.
If you want to watch Japanese TV online, whether it’s anime, music videos, dramas, or news, then you might run into problems if you are based internationally. Many streaming sites for Japanese content only work within Japan, and give error messages if you try to access them from another country.
This is due to a process called region locking, in which websites examine the IP address of visitors for location information and customise the content that it visible according to their location. But there is a way to get around these region locks and to watch Japanese TV from anywhere, and that is to use a VPN. A VPN works by encrypting your data and sending it via a server located in Japan, so it appears as if you are browsing from Japan even when you are actually located elsewhere. This is a quick and easy way for international users to watch and enjoy Japanese TV from anywhere.
Have you tried out any of these VPNs? And which is your favourite Japanese TV channel? Tell us about it in the comments below!