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How to Watch Japanese TV in the US and Abroad

How to Watch Japanese TV in the US & Abroad With a VPN in 2024: Stream Japanese TV Channels

You don’t need to miss out on content from your favorite Japanese TV channels while traveling. Read on to find out how to watch Japanese TV in the U.S. and abroad with the use of a VPN.

Kit CopsonSandra PattisonEugenie Tiu

Written by Kit Copson (Writer, Briefing Editor)

Reviewed by Sandra Pattison (Writer, Editor)

Facts checked by Eugenie Tiu (Editorial Assistant)

Last Updated: 2024-01-25T10:22:01+00:00

All our content is written fully by humans; we do not publish AI writing. Learn more here.

Key Takeaways: Watch Japanese TV Online

  • You can watch Japanese content for free on various sites including TVer, TV Tokyo and Nittere Free (Nippon TV). Alternatively, you can use a streaming service like Hulu Japan, Netflix, TELASA or Amazon Prime Video.
  • If you’re outside Japan, you can use a VPN to change your IP address to a Japanese one and start streaming online content from Japan.
  • ExpressVPN, NordVPN and Surfshark are the best VPN services for watching Japanese TV from overseas. 

When you travel overseas, finding online content to stream from your home country can seem challenging. Don’t despair — with a bit of know-how, you can stream Japanese TV content from anywhere. In this guide, we’ll explain how to watch Japanese TV in the U.S. and abroad with a VPN.

If you’re spending some time abroad, you might find that several of the sites you use to watch Japanese TV online are blocked in the country you’ve traveled to. This happens because streaming sites and services enforce regional restrictions — also known as geoblocks — to ensure that only those in Japan can access them.

By connecting to a reputable VPN like our number one recommendation, ExpressVPN, you can get a Japanese IP address and watch Japanese TV channels online from wherever you are. This guide includes a tutorial on how to do this, so stay tuned for more.

How to Watch Japanese TV in the US: Where Can I Find Japanese Content Online?

The good news is that you’re sure to be spoiled for choice in terms of the streaming services you can find Japanese content on. One option is Hulu Japan, which you can access from outside Japan with a VPN.

TELASA is another Japanese streaming service with on-demand TV content, and it has a two-week free trial. Just bear in mind that some Japanese streaming services may have payment restrictions, which means it’s possible that you’ll need a Japanese payment method to sign up. You may also need to enter a Japanese address and zip code.

Fans of anime can sign up for Crunchyroll, which is widely available and offers a free trial. If you have an account with streaming giant Netflix or Amazon Prime Video, you can access the Japanese libraries on these services with a VPN — we’ll show you how to do that farther down.

How Can I Get Japanese TV for Free?

You can watch Japanese TV for free by accessing a TV channel’s website. These often host live or on-demand TV content, and some official sites will direct you to another website to watch content. If you’re outside Japan, you can connect to a Japanese server on a VPN to gain access.

We’ve tested out some of the most popular Japanese TV sites and compiled all the information into the below table. Please note that free websites are typically ad-based. 

ChannelContentVPN RequiredEnglish SubtitlesNotes
Nittere FreeOn-demand TVAlso known as “Nippon TV”
TVerTV Asahi
TV Tokyo
Fuji TV
Nittere Free
Japanese postcode required
TV TokyoVariety TVSome content available via TVer
TBSVariety TVN/A
Abema TVLive TVN/A
NHK World-JapanTV shows
Japanese TV
*Content in various languages
TV Japan LiveVarious local channels*N/A
*Some content is in English

If you’re looking specifically for anime series, refer to our guide on where to watch Anime for free. We have compiled a list of platforms that can be your potential options for watching your favorite anime shows without needing to pay.

How Does a VPN Help You Unblock Japanese Content Online?

TV websites are often geoblocked, which means you can only access them in countries that have the distribution rights for the content. For example, you need a VPN to access streaming site TVer from outside Japan because it’s only available in Japan; the same goes for many of the websites listed above.

Another factor to take note of is that major streaming platforms like Netflix have different libraries, and these are country-specific. For example, if you’re in the U.S., you will have access to the U.S. Netflix library when you log in. The U.S. library may host some of the same content that you can get on Netflix Japan, but some content will be unavailable or different.

When you connect to a virtual private network (VPN) server, the software sends your data through an encrypted tunnel to make you anonymous and changes your IP address to one in the country you connected to, thereby giving you access to online content in that country. Therefore, if you want to access geoblocked Japanese content, you’ll need to connect to a Japanese server.

How to Watch Japanese Shows & Movies on Netflix

Changing your Netflix library is very simple — all you need to do is connect to a VPN server in the country with the library you want to access to, in this case, a Japanese server. Then, you can log in to your Netflix account as normal to stream Japanese TV shows and movies. Bear in mind that the subtitle and audio options may vary.

The great thing about this is that you don’t need to limit yourself to just one Netflix library — VPNs have servers in a wide variety of countries, so you can explore the multitude of international content on offer simply by connecting to different servers.

How to Watch Japanese Channels Online With a VPN

You can start streaming Japanese TV content with a VPN on any site or streaming platform you want but, for the purpose of this tutorial, we’ll be using TVer — which hosts content from various channels — as an example. We’ll also use our top streaming VPN recommendation, ExpressVPN.

  1. Get a VPN

    Sign up for a plan on a reputable VPN’s website. If you’re not sure which VPNs are worth your time, check out our recommendations farther down. ExpressVPN is our top recommendation.

    get expressvpn
  2. Download and Install the VPN

    When you’ve signed up, follow the prompts to download and install the VPN. If you can’t see any prompts, look for a “download” tab on the website.

    download expressvpn
  3. Connect to a Japanese Server

    Open the VPN’s app and select a Japanese server. Hit the “connect” button.

    expressvpn japan
  4. Open TVer

    Open TVer or the site you want to access and start streaming Japanese TV content.

    tver play

The 3 Best VPNs for Watching Japanese TV

To make sure you can start watching Japanese TV from overseas without a hitch, you’ll need a secure and reputable VPN with Japanese servers. Here are our top recommendations if you’re feeling a bit stuck.

1. ExpressVPN

expressvpn japan server
ExpressVPN offers a diverse selection of Japanese servers and a smooth user experience.


  • Unblocks Japanese sites 
  • Easy user experience
  • Excellent security 


  • Expensive

To get straight to the point, ExpressVPN is an all-around excellent VPN for accessing Japanese television sites, thanks to its watertight security, consistency and ease of use. Even complete beginners are guaranteed an easy ride with this provider, so we highly recommend ExpressVPN in particular if this is your first experience with a VPN.

In short, when it comes to streaming, we greatly appreciate a hassle-free experience, and that’s what ExpressVPN offers. There is one caveat, though: ExpressVPN is one of the most expensive providers in the business. Nevertheless, we think you can’t go wrong with it.

ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, and you can check out our full ExpressVPN review to find out more about why we consider it to be the best provider out there. 

2. NordVPN

nordvpn open japan
NordVPN is another secure and consistent service that comes at a fair price.


  • Affordable long-term plans
  • Intuitive desktop app 
  • Impressive speeds


  • Fiddly mobile app 

NordVPN is our second recommendation because it’s got fantastic speeds (check out our best fast VPN post for more on this) and a nifty desktop interface with an easy to navigate world map design. You can change servers in a single click, which is great for saving time. NordVPN is also an affordable alternative to ExpressVPN if you opt for a long-term plan.

NordVPN comes in at second place on this occasion because its mobile app interface can be awkward to navigate. It’s still an overall solid service, though, so consider giving it a go with its 30-day money-back guarantee.

Our NordVPN review and NordVPN vs ExpressVPN articles have more extensive information if you want to dig deeper into our top two recommendations. 

  • *The prices are charged in the first billing cycle only. Renewal prices vary.
  • Unlimited GB
  • 6
  • Yes

3. Surfshark

surfshark japan server
Surfshark has a cheap two-year plan and offers unlimited simultaneous connections. 


  • Cheap long-term plans 
  • Diverse Japanese servers
  • Unlimited device connections


  • High latency in the U.S.

Surfshark is a pocket-friendly VPN with a diverse selection of servers in Japan. It has some very affordable plans (long-term) and offers unlimited simultaneous connections, which is perfect for those who want to use it on several devices and share it with multiple people. Surfshark is also one of the fastest VPNs, so it’s a solid streaming VPN overall.

Just beware that Surfshark’s latency in the U.S. is pretty high on average, so it might not be the best option for gaming. If you want to try it out risk-free, Surfshark is another provider with a 30-day money-back guarantee, and you can peruse our Surfshark review for more information.

Surfshark Starter
  • Unlimited GB bandwidth, Unlimited devices, Secure VPN, Ad blocker, Cookie pop-up blocker. Plans renew: $231.75 for one year, $417.15 for two years
  • Unlimited GB
  • Unlimited
  • Yes

Can I Use a Free VPN to Watch Japanese TV Online?

If you’re new to VPNs, it can be hard to tell which ones are legit. It’s important to do your research, though, because some free VPNs aren’t private or secure. For streaming Japanese TV and using services like Netflix Japan, we recommend Proton VPN, a secure free service with Japanese servers.

Proton VPN gives you unlimited access to its free servers, but your options are limited to Japan, the Netherlands and the U.S. If you’d like to explore more streaming sites from around the world, you may be better off going with one of its paid plans or one of the providers mentioned above. Check out our Proton VPN review to learn more.

Final Thoughts

There’s no need to let geoblocking stop you from enjoying TV Japan-style. You can easily watch Japanese TV shows and use Japanese streaming services from anywhere with a reliable VPN that has Japanese servers, such as ExpressVPN.

Have you chosen a VPN to access Japanese TV sites? If so, which one and how has your experience been? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading. 

FAQ: Stream Japanese TV From Anywhere

  • You can watch Japanese TV shows online on geoblocked Japanese TV sites in America by using a virtual private network (VPN). The VPN you use should have Japanese servers.

  • You can find free Fuji TV content on TVer, a Japanese streaming site. If you’re outside Japan, you can connect to a Japanese VPN server to get access.

  • There is a wide variety of free Japanese TV sites, but you can also get paid subscriptions with sites like Hulu Japan and TELASA. Netflix and Amazon Prime Video also have Japanese libraries full of TV shows and movies — you can change to the Japanese library by connecting to a Japanese server on a VPN.

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