How to watch Abema TV

Abema is geo-blocked outside of Japan for licensing reasons. If you want to keep watching Abema while traveling abroad, you’re going to need the help of a VPN. We explain how to use a VPN to watch Abema abroad, plus the best VPNs for streaming abroad.

If you have ever tried to stream Abema on vacation, you will have received the following error message:

お住まいの地域ではご視聴できません

Abema geo error

This roughly translates in English to “Not available in your area.” These regional blocks are frustrating because much of the content available to stream on Abema.tv is free. Luckily, you can use a VPN for Abema to stream your favorite shows on vacation from anywhere in the world.

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) works by concealing your actual location. When you connect to a VPN server in Japan, you receive a Japanese IP address. This tricks AbemaTV into believing you are within Japan. As a result, you can stream any geo-restricted Japanese services.

A VPN also handles your DNS requests and encrypts your internet traffic. This prevents anyone from tracking what you do online. As a result, you can use a VPN to unblock Abema within Japan if your employer or school has blocked Abema, for example, you can use a Japanese VPN server to stream Abema as if you were at home – and nobody will be the wiser.

TV platforms like Abema work hard to block VPNs. This means you must pick carefully. Luckily, we have tested the market and found VPNs that work. In this guide, we will explain how to use a VPN to watch Abema abroad, and we will recommend the best VPNs for Abema.

Best VPNs for Abema:

  1. NordVPN: The best VPN for Abema. 80+ servers in Japan. Super-fast speeds and unlimited bandwidth. Servers optimized for torrenting. Lots of advanced privacy features. Strict no-logs policy. 24/7 live chat support. Risk free, 30-day money-back guarantee.
  2. Surfshark: Best budget option for Abema. Unlimited simultaneous connections. Perfect for large families. Works with Abema, Netflix, iPlayer, and tons of international services. 24/7 support included. Fastest VPN in our latest tests. Robust encryption and a no logs policy.
  3. ExpressVPN: 3,000+ servers in 94 countries. Fast speeds for streaming Abema and Netflix. Secure AES encryption and a kill-switch. 24/7 support. No logs. Beginner-friendly apps.
  4. CyberGhost: Over 7,000 servers in 90 countries. 50+ servers in Japan. Works with Abema, Prime Video, Disney+ and Netflix US. Connect up to seven devices simultaneously.
  5. IPVanish: Unlimited bandwidth to stream Abema without buffering. Connect all of your devices at once. Zero-logs policy. Robust AES-256 encryption. Servers in 50+ countries, including Japan. 24/7 live chat support.
  6. PrivateVPN: Very fast server speeds. Works to stream Abema, Netflix, Disney+, DAZN, and more. User-friendly apps with plenty of advanced privacy features. Robust AES encryption. Accepts Bitcoin.
  7. AtlasVPN: A fast and reliable VPN with servers in 44 countries, including Japan to watch Abema in Korea. WireGuard protocol for the best speeds.

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How to watch Abema online from anywhere with a VPN

Once you have picked a VPN with Japanese servers that work with Abema, setting it up is very easy. Just follow the steps below to unblock Abema on holiday, at work, or in school:

Here’s how to stream Abema abroad using a VPN:

  1. Start by signing up with a VPN service. As you will see from this guide, we particularly recommend NordVPN because it is the best service to stream Japanese TV.
  2. Download and install the VPN’s app onto your devices. You will find that it has apps for desktop, mobiles, and other platforms.
  3. Launch the VPN app, login, and connect to a server in Japan. This will allow you to stream Abema anywhere that it has been blocked (both in Japan or abroad)
  4. Go to AbemaTV and select the show or movie that you want to stream. It should now play without restrictions!

If Abema is still blocked, clear your browser’s cookies and cache and refresh the page. Alternatively, get in touch with your VPN’s customer support to find out which Japanese server is optimized for streaming.

Best VPNs for Abema

Not all VPNs have servers in Japan that work with Abema, and not all those that do are fast enough to stream in HD. What’s more, many VPNs fail to provide the privacy features you need to use the internet without being tracked.

At Comparitech, we only recommend the best possible VPNs for any given task. To do this, we use a data-based testing methodology to recommend VPNs. Below, you can see the primary criteria we used to recommend VPNs for Abema. For more information about how we test VPNs, follow the link above.

  • A global server network, including servers in Japan.
  • Lightning fast servers and unlimited bandwidth for streaming.
  • Reliable apps with robust encryption and advanced features, such as a kill-switch and obfuscation.
  • Protection against DNS, IP or WebRTC leaks.
  • A watertight no logs policy to protect your privacy now and in the future.
  • User-friendly apps for desktop computers, mobile devices, and other platforms.
  • Outstanding value for money.

Use the summaries below to pick one of the best VPNs for Abema:

1. NordVPN

NordVPN Feb 2023 works with AbemaTested Feb 2023

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux
  • Background FireTV

Website: www.NordVPN.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

NordVPN is our top pick for various reasons. It has over 80 servers in Japan that are perfect for streaming popular services like Disney+, DAZN, Prime Video, Netflix, and Abema. Plus, it has servers in 59 countries that work to access geo-restricted content from all over the world.

NordVPN’s servers are optimized for HD streaming, which means they are fast enough to stream HD content without buffering. The VPN also has its proprietary NordLynx protocol, which gives it some of the fastest VPN speeds on the market.

If you want to stream Abema at work or in school, NordVPN is ideal. It provides secure apps for all platforms with DNS leak protection, a kill-switch, and obfuscation. These privacy features ensure you never leak data outside of the secure VPN tunnel.

NordVPN also provides OpenVPN connections with military grade AES encryption. This ensures that no ISP, local network administrator, or government snoop can monitor your web habits. Plus, NordVPN has a watertight no-logs policy.

Need help? You can contact its 24/7 live chat support. However, NordVPN is easy to use on all devices thanks to its custom apps, so you shouldn’t have issues. That said, it has more advanced features than just about any other service! You can test NordVPN yourself thanks to its 30-day money back guarantee.

Pros:

  • Over 80 servers in Japan to stream Abema on holiday or at work
  • One of the fastest VPNs available for streaming
  • Strong encryption and a no logs policy
  • Kill-switch, obfuscated servers, DoubleVPN, and servers optimized for torrenting
  • Apps for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Linux and Android

Cons:

  • Uses advertising IDs on mobile to track purchases

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

BEST VPN FOR ABEMA:NordVPN is our #1 choice. A highly secure VPN that works reliably with Abema and other popular Japanese services. Connect up to 6 devices simultaneously. Lots of advanced privacy features. No logs policy. Risk-free 30-day money back guarantee.

Read our full NordVPN review.

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2. Surfshark

Surfshark works with AbemaTested Feb 2023

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website: www.Surfshark.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

Surfshark is an excellent option for anybody on a budget. The VPN has only been around since 2018, but it has quickly risen to be a consumer favorite. It has over 3,200 servers in 65 countries including Japan, and it works to stream Abema, Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Disney+, DAZN, and just about anything else you can think of.

Surfshark has superb apps for all platforms that come with a kill-switch, ad blocking, malware protection, obfuscation, and 256-bit AES encryption (OpenVPN protocol). Despite all these features, subscriptions are very cheap. Best of all, it allows an unlimited number of connections. That means you can share a single subscription with family and friends.

Your privacy is assured thanks to DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC leak protection and a strict no logs policy. It even has a NoBorders feature to get around especially strict geo-blocking and censorship.

Finally, where speeds are concerned, Surfshark is excellent. Thanks to its WireGuard implementation it was recently found to be the fastest VPN on the market. If you have any questions you can contact its 24/7 live chat support agents. An incredible all-rounder that you can test risk-free thanks to its 30-day money back guarantee.

Pros:

  • Connect an unlimited number of devices with a single subscription
  • Fully featured apps with leak protection, a kill-switch, and obfuscation
  • Throws in a free Smart DNS service
  • Secure no logs policy
  • Servers in 60+ countries, including Japan

Cons:

  • Some servers are faster than others

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

BEST BUDGET VPN:Surfshark lets you use the VPN on an unlimited number of devices. Fastest VPN for streaming. Lots of advanced features. Secure no logs policy. Works to stream over 20 Netflix regions. 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full Surfshark review.

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3. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN works with abemaTested Feb 2023

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website: www.ExpressVPN.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

ExpressVPN is well-known as one of the most subscribed VPNs in the world. It is popular due to its high-speed servers in 94 countries around the world, including Japan. This allows you to bypass censorship or geo-restrictions no matter where you go.

What’s more, thanks to its proprietary Lightway protocol, this VPN provides exceptionally fast speeds for streaming Abema, DAZN, Disney+, and other streaming services that are popular in Japan, and that may have been blocked by your employer or school. Plus, this VPN works with over two dozen Netflix regions, Hulu, iPlayer, HBO Max, and just about anything else you can think of.

ExpressVPN protects your network traffic using 256-bit encryption, DNS leak protection, and a kill switch that cuts your net should the VPN connection drop. It is also a solid no-logs VPN, that only ever analyzes non-identifiable aggregated data to ensure the VPN is running at optimum levels.

Support is available 24/7 via live chat or email. And this VPN allows five simultaneous connections, which is usually enough for most users (though admittedly is pretty low compared to many VPNs nowadays). Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, and iOS systems, and you can install it manually on select routers.

Pros:

  • Super-fast Lightway protocol for HD streaming
  • Great for unblocking Abema and other Japanese platforms
  • High-end security features with outstanding privacy protections
  • Strong no logs policy
  • Works with Netflix US and 20+ other regions

Cons:

  • Slightly more expensive than its rivals

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

STREAM ABEMA ANYWHERE:ExpressVPN makes it easy to watch Abema and other Japanese services on holiday. Exceptional speeds. Strong enough privacy and security features to stream Abema at work. Kill-switch and obfuscation. 30-day money back guarantee.

Read our full review of ExpressVPN.

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4. CyberGhost

CyberGhost works with abemaTested Feb 2023

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website: www.Cyberghost.com

Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS

CyberGhost VPN is a provider based in Romania that we highly recommend for beginners. The VPN has apps for Android, iOS, Windows, Linux, and macOS – and all those apps are uncomplicated and easy to use.

Despite having fewer advanced features to worry about, this VPN has everything you need to gain online privacy from your ISP, local network admins, and government snoops. This means you can unblock Abema at work or in school without anybody finding out.

Cyberghost has 6,900 servers in nearly 90 countries around the world. This includes 53 servers in Japan to stream popular platforms like Hulu, DAZN, Abema, Disney+, and iPlayer. Plus, CyberGhost makes streaming easier by highlighting its streaming servers in its apps, and it works with Netflix too!

While this VPN is well-suited to beginners, it still has important features like 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, automatic malware-detection, and ad-blocking. You can also connect up to seven devices at once. This makes it a great all rounder, that is ideally suited to the majority of house-hold consumers.

Finally, CyberGhost  has a no-logs policy, so you can stream safely without worrying about third parties acquiring details about your activities. Well worth testing using its generous 45-day money back guarantee.

Pros:

  • Over 50 servers in Japan to get around geo-restrictions.
  • Very easy to use on all devices
  • Low cost subscriptions
  • Use the VPN on upto 7 devices simultaneously
  • Works with iPlayer and Netflix

Cons:

  • Fewer advanced options than some competitors

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

SUPERB VALUE:CyberGhost is very easy to use. Excellent value for money. Superb speeds and reliability. Great for unblocking Abema and other Japanese platforms. Comes with a 45-day money back guarantee.

Read our full CyberGhost review.

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5. IPVanish

IPVanish works with abemaTested Feb 2023

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website: www.IPVanish.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

IPVanish is a popular choice for streaming because of its high-speed connections and far-reaching server network. It has around 20 servers in Tokyo, to let you watch Abema and other Japanese TV services without any buffering or lag.

IPVanish may have fewer servers than some of its rivals, but it’s proprietary network is neatly spread across over 50 countries, and helps to protect your privacy whether you use the net at home or on public WiFi. Although IPVanish does work to access some popular services like Netflix US, NBC, and Showtime, it is worth noting that it doesn’t work with all popular streaming platforms.

Luckily, the VPN has a 30-day money back guarantee, so you can test it yourself with any streaming platform to see if it works. Best of all, IPVanish has no connection limits, which makes it perfect for families or people who want to protect a large number of devices. It also makes it a superb option if you are going on holiday in a big group and all want to be able to use Japanese banking services or TV services while away.

Security is assured thanks to IPv6 and DNS leak protection, as well as 256-bit encryption. There is also a kill switch, XOR obfuscation, and a no-logs policy to ensure your activities can’t be traced back to you.

Pros:

  • 20 servers in Japan to stream Japanese TV
  • Fast enough to stream Abema without buffering
  • No logs policy and robust AES encryption
  • Apps for all platforms
  • Works with Netflix US

Cons:

  • Apps don’t work in China
  • Based in the US

Our score:

4 out of 5

UNLIMITED CONNECTIONS:Large proprietary network of servers. Allows an unlimited number of connections. Fast speeds to stream Abema and other Japanese services. Strong privacy features, including AES encryption and a kill-switch. 30-day money back guarantee.

Read our full IPVanish review

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6. PrivateVPN

PrivateVPN works with abemaTested Feb 2023

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website: www.PrivateVPN.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

PrivateVPN is a consumer-favorite VPN. It has servers in 63 countries, including Japan. That makes it a great option for streaming Abema and other Japanese services.

PrivateVPN’s popularity comes from its ability to unblock streams. It works with Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, and about two dozen Netflix regions – to name a few. This kind of accessibility is impressive considering the relative low cost of a subscription.

Users can connect up to 6 devices with a single subscription, which is enough for most power users. And it has apps for all popular platforms, to ensure you can gain privacy and online security whether at home or on public Wi-Fi.

PrivateVPN keeps your digital footprint secure with 256-bit encryption, a no-logs policy, a kill switch, and protection against both IPv6 and DNS leaks. It also has obfuscation and SOCKS5 proxy, making it a good all rounder for torrenting.

Finally, live chat is available most of the day, though admittedly it is not quite 24/7. Despite this we found it to be an excellent level of support, with agents able to remotely install or configure the software for you, if necessary.

Pros:

  • Super-fast Japanese servers
  • Servers in 63 countries
  • Works with Abema, Disney+, Prime Video,  Netflix, and more
  • Strong security and privacy features
  • No logs policy

Cons:

  • Live chat isn’t available 24/7
  • Fewer servers in each country compared to competing services

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

EXCELLENT PRIVACY FEATURES:Fast speeds for streaming and torrenting. Servers in 63 countries. Japanese servers work with Abema. Connect up to 6 devices on the same account. No logs policy. Kill-switch. 30-day money back guarantee.

Read our full PrivateVPN review.

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7. AtlasVPN

Atlas VPN works with abemaTested Feb 2023

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Background FireTV

Website: www.atlasvpn.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

AtlasVPN is a provider that was launched in 2018. Since then it was acquired by Nord Technologies, which put it in the jurisdiction of Panama. This has seen the VPN apps improve and its server network increased, and users can expect to continue seeing these improvements going forward.

The VPN has apps for all devices that come with the WireGuard protocol, a kill-switch, split tunneling, malware filtering, and ad blocking. Servers are located in over 40 countries, including servers in Japan to watch Japanese TV and Abema from Korea. In addition, this VPN works to access Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and other popular international services.

AtlasVPN also allows unlimited simultaneous connections, which means you can share your account with friends and family. Perhaps the main drawback is that live chat is only available for subscribers. So if you want to ask questions before buying a subscription, you will need to email them. You can compare it to our other recommendations by using its 30-day money-back guarantee.

Pros:

  • Offers servers in 44+ countries, including Japan
  • Works well with Abema and other Japanese TV services
  • Also works with Netflix US and other services
  • Kill-switch on desktop and mobile apps
  • Allows torrenting

Cons:

  • Fewer server locations than some of our other recommendations

FAST FOR STREAMING:AtlasVPN is a great choice for streaming. Has servers in Japan that work with Abema and other Japanese TV platforms. Has strong privacy and security features. Easy to use and reliable.

Read our full AtlasVPN review.

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Abema VPN FAQs

Can I use a free VPN for Abema?

No. Although searching on app stores for free VPNs will bring back results, we strongly recommend against using these services. 

Free VPNs are massively over subscribed, which means the few servers they have are congested. To cope with this, free VPNs often engage in bandwidth throttling. This further reduces the performance of already-sluggish servers and makes the VPN terrible for streaming.

In addition to slow speeds, we have yet to find reliable free VPNs that have servers in Japan that work with Abema and other popular services. So, even if you did find a free server in Japan, it is highly unlikely to work with popular streaming platforms.

Performance issues aside, free VPNs must be treated with high levels of skepticism. Running a VPN is expensive because of the constant server costs involved. This means that the VPN must make money somehow.  

Free VPNs create an income by monetizing your data and tracking your online habits. As a result, using free VPNs will cause you to be served more ads, and will cause your data to be disseminated to third parties such as data brokers. 

Free services have also been found to lie about the level of protection they provide, to have badly implemented (or no) encryption, to suffer from severe leaks, and even to contain spyware. This makes using free VPNs a massive risk to your online security and privacy.

Why is Abema blocked outside of Japan?

The content that AbemaTV shows on its streaming platforms has been licensed from copyright holders and content producers. Those licensing agreements strictly forbid Abema from broadcasting its content anywhere but Japan.

To enforce those contractual obligations, AbemaTV restricts the content on its website by automatically tracking user IP addresses. Unless you have a valid Japanese IP address, the service will serve you an error message that explains the content is unavailable.

Luckily, it is possible to use a VPN to get a Japanese IP address while on vacation or traveling for work. That means you can easily access Abema to stream your favorite shows while outside of Japan.

Is it legal to stream Abema on vacation?

Getting around geo-restrictions is not considered illegal in most jurisdictions, because it does not involve doing anything but streaming content you would usually be able to watch at home anyway. 

That said, piracy is considered a fairly serious violation in Japan when compared to some other countries. With this in mind, despite the fact that you are not file sharing and are not engaging in any kind of piracy, you may still feel more at ease using a highly secure VPN with robust encryption and privacy features – like the ones recommended in this guide. 

A reliable VPN prevents you being tracked, which means that Abema will not know you are streaming on holiday. All things considered, using a secure VPN to unblock Abema is safe and we have never seen evidence of anybody getting in trouble.

What can I watch on Abema TV?

Abema is a Japanese over-the-top (OTT) streaming service that provides access to a wealth of content. It primarily functions as an online television network, with numerous channels that broadcast news, sports, entertainment, anime, documentaries, movies, and more.

Below, we have included a list of some popular channels available on Abema:

  • AbemaNews
  • AbemaSPECIAL
  • AbemaSPECIAL2
  • AbemaGOLD
  • K WORLD
  • Anime LIVE
  • Everyone's Anime
  • QUEST by Discovery
  • MTV HITS
  • HIPHOP
  • AbemaRADIO
  • Fighting (格闘)
  • SPORTS
  • Keirin (競輪)
  • Fishing (釣り)
  • Shogi (将棋)
  • Mahjong (麻雀)
  • Overseas AbemaNews

What else can I do with a VPN for Abema?

As soon as you connect to a VPN server in Japan, you can access any geo-restricted services from abroad. This includes internet banking and other services that may have been restricted for security reasons.

Connecting to a Japanese IP address, you appear to be back home. This means you can use your regular TV and streaming services, as well as anything else that has been geo-blocked.

You can also use a VPN to pretend to be elsewhere in the world. This can let you bypass any censorship imposed by the Japanese government or regional blocks imposed by foreign services. 

Below we have included a list of some of the things you can do with a VPN:

The privacy provided by a VPN can also allow you to unblock any online services that have been blocked while in Japan. If any local network such as a public hotspot, rental residence, office Wi-Fi, school, etc, has blocked Abema or any other service you can use a Japanese VPN server to regain access.

A VPN could even improve your connection speeds if your Japanese ISP is engaging in bandwidth throttling. So, if your internet seems too slow, it is worth trialing a VPN from this guide with its money back guarantee.