How to watch Rakuten TV from anywhere

Chances are you’ve already tried to watch Rakuten TV outside Japan. Unfortunately, most Rakuten TV content is geo-restricted which means it cannot be viewed abroad without a VPN. Short for “Virtual Private Network”, a VPN redirects your internet traffic through a remote VPN server (in this case a server in Japan). All of the information sent and received via your device is encrypted in the process, protecting your privacy.

When you use a VPN, your IP address is hidden and you’re provided with an IP address of the VPN service. This allows you to access geo-restricted websites and services as if you were in another country. The best VPNs have servers in many countries around the world ( including Japan) which means you’ll be able to unblock all sorts of content such as Rakuten TV, Netflix and BBC iPlayer.

How to watch Rakuten TV outside Japan with a VPN

Installing and using a VPN is actually very easy. It’s finding a good VPN for Rakuten TV that’s often the hard part (but don’t worry, we’ll help you with this!). Follow the simple steps below to set up a VPN so you can stream movies and catch up with your favorite shows from outside Japan.

Here’s how to watch Rakuten TV online from anywhere:

  1. Choose a VPN provider – we recommend ExpressVPN for Rakuten TV.
  2. Download and install the VPN software for your operating system.
  3. Open the VPN app and connect to a server in Japan.
  4. Navigate to Rakuten’s Japan site and select the content.
  5. The geo-restricted content on Rakuten should now be unblocked (if not, try another server and be sure to clear your cookies for any changes to take effect.

If you don’t have time to read the whole article right now, here’s a quick summary of the 5 best VPNs for watching Rakuten TV abroad:

  1. ExpressVPN: Our #1 choice for Rakuten TV. Unblocks Netflix Japan, has user-friendly apps and excellent 24/7 live chat support.
  2. NordVPN: Best budget VPN. Lots of servers in Japan and worldwide. Excellent at unblocking geo-restricted content and offers a high level of security.
  3. CyberGhost: 20 servers in Tokyo, Japan. Fast and consistent connections as well as top security features.
  4. IPVanish: Use on up to 10 devices simultaneously. Works with Rakuten TV and provides 24/7 support.
  5. PrivateVPN: Very fast servers for Rakuten TV and Netflix Japan. Excellent at unblocking geo-restricted content.

There are many VPNs on the market but not all of them are of good quality. What’s more, some VPNs aren’t able to unblock Rakuten TV outside Japan. We looked for the best VPNs that work with Rakuten TV as well as meet the following criteria:

Criteria for selecting the best VPNs

  • Network of servers around the world (including Japan!)
  • Fast and reliable connections for high quality streaming
  • Unblocks geo-restricted streaming services
  • Strong security with 256-bit AES encryption
  • A strict no logs policy to protect your privacy
  • Fast and efficient customer support, preferably with live chat

What’s the best VPN to watch Rakuten TV outside Japan?

Here’s our list of the best VPNs to watch Rakuten TV outside Japan:

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPNOct 2019unblocks rakuten tvTested Oct 2019

ExpressVPN is the best VPN for Rakuten TV thanks to the high-quality performance it provides. It’s one of the fastest VPNs on the market and this allows for HD streaming of Rakuten TV outside Japan with no buffering or lag. ExpressVPN has multiple servers in Tokyo, Japan (and over 2,000 servers across 94 countries) and we found these to be excellent for unblocking Rakuten TV abroad as well as watching Netflix Japan. ExpressVPN promises 99.9% uptime and this is reflected in its reliable and consistent servers.

One of the numerous reasons why we recommend ExpressVPN is because the apps are fantastic for beginners and experienced VPN users alike. Well-designed and user-friendly, they’re available for desktop and mobile. There’s also the option of browser extensions for added convenience. Although this is an easy VPN to use for Rakuten TV, ExpressVPN offers 24/7 customer support via a live chat feature. We’ve tested the live chat ourselves and found replies to be quick and helpful.

ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands where there are no mandatory data retention laws. What’s more, this VPN service keeps no identifying logs such as your IP address or browsing history. Security features include 256-bit AES encryption, DNS leak protection, a kill switch and split tunneling. All of this combined makes ExpressVPN one of the safest VPNs on the market today. You can even try it out for yourself risk-free because it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

You can use ExpressVPN via the apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS and routers. Browser extensions are also available for Chrome, Firefox and Safari.


  • Excellent at unblocking geo-restricted content such as Rakuten TV and Netflix Japan
  • Very fast and reliable servers with 99.9% uptime guaranteed
  • User-friendly apps make things easy for beginners
  • Extremely good customer support (available 24/7 via live chat)
  • Strong security offering with encryption and a kill switch
  • Can be used with Rakuten on select smart TVs


  • Not the cheapest VPN on the market

BEST VPN FOR RAKUTEN TV:ExpressVPN is our top choice for Rakuten TV. It’s a fast VPN that unblocks most geo-restricted content. Apps are user-friendly while 24/7 customer support is available. You can try it risk-free as it includes a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full ExpressVPN review.

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2. NordVPN

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NordVPN has some 83 servers in Japan – far more than most VPNs. This means streaming Rakuten TV abroad is very easy since there’s always a fast and reliable server available. With over 5,200 servers in 62 countries, NordVPN is one of the best VPNs for unblocking geo-restricted websites and services worldwide. This includes Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu. In our testing of Rakuten TV with NordVPN, we found streaming to be very fast and consistent with no performance issues.

If you’re looking for a VPN that not only works with Rakuten TV outside Japan but is also secure, NordVPN is well worth your consideration. It uses 256-bit AES encryption and offers DNS leak protection as well as a kill switch. What’s more, specialty servers such as Double VPN and Onion Over VPN allow for even greater security should you want it. NordVPN is based in Panama, which has no data retention laws. Overall, we feel this is a great value VPN since it’s fast, secure and can be used on up to six devices.

NordVPN offers apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS and Android TV. Also offered are browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox.


  • 80+ servers in Japan and over 5,000 worldwide
  • Unblocks everything from Rakuten TV to Netflix
  • Fast and consistent connections
  • Plenty of security features including specialty servers
  • User-friendly apps for most major operating systems


  • Some servers are a bit hit-and-miss

BEST BUDGET VPN:NordVPN is fast, reliable and lets you connect up to 7 devices at once. It also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full NordVPN review.

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3. CyberGhost

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CyberGhost is a reliable VPN service that works well with Rakuten TV. It has one of the larger networks of servers with over 3,300 worldwide, 20 of which are located in Tokyo, Japan. With unlimited bandwidth and traffic, CyberGhost offers excellent overall performance. Servers allow for fast downloads and high quality, unbuffered streaming. What makes CyberGhost a particularly good value option is that it can be used on up to seven devices simultaneously. What’s more, it comes with a 45-day money-back guarantee.

As with all of the VPNs we recommend, CyberGhost offers customer support. This is available not only by email but via a 24/7 live chat feature. However, you’re unlikely to encounter many problems with this VPN service thanks to apps that are very quick and easy to use. When it comes to protecting your online privacy, CyberGhost uses 256-bit AES encryption, protection against DNS leaks and has an automatic kill switch. CyberGhost is based in Romania – a country with no mandatory data retention laws – and has a strict no-logs policy.

CyberGhost apps are available for the following: Windows, Android, Mac, iOS and Amazon TV and Fire Stick. Linux and routers must be configured manually.


  • Plenty of servers in Tokyo, Japan
  • Strong performance with unlimited bandwidth
  • 24/7 live chat support
  • Includes a 45-day money-back guarantee
  • Offers Amazon TV and Fire Stick apps


  • No apps for Linux or routers

STRONG ALL-ROUNDER:CyberGhost has 20 servers in Tokyo and is fast, consistent and safe to use. Includes a 45-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full CyberGhost review.

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4. IPVanish

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IPVanish is an excellent VPN for families because it allows 10 simultaneous connections on multiple devices. Aside from offering great value, IPVanish offers plenty of high quality servers. With more than 1,100 servers in 60 countries and several servers in Japan, IPVanish can help you unblock all sorts of geo-restricted content, including Rakuten TV. We found IPVanish servers to be very reliable though you can always get in touch with their 24/7 support if you happen to have any problems.

The apps of IPVanish make connecting to a server nice and easy. You can favorite any server and see its current load as well as automatically connect to the best available server. While IPVanish is based in the US, it states that it has a zero logs policy. So even if customer data was requested by the government, there shouldn’t be any identifying logs to provide. IPVanish uses 256-bit AES encryption, DNS leak protection and a kill switch which cuts your internet traffic should the VPN connection drop, preventing any data leaks.

You can download IPVanish for desktop (Windows and Mac), mobile (Android and iOS) as well as for Amazon Fire TV. Both Linux and routers require some manual configuration.


  • Connect up to 10 devices via a single account
  • High speed, consistent servers
  • Includes all of the essential security features
  • Offers apps for desktop and mobile as well as Amazon Fire TV


  • Based in the US which is in the Five Eyes alliance
  • Only comes with a 7-day money-back guarantee (some VPNs offer 30 days)

CONNECT 10 DEVICES:IPVanish can be used on up to 10 devices simultaneously. Fast and reliable with good security but is headquartered in the US. 7-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full IPVanish review.

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5. PrivateVPN

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PrivateVPN is one of the best VPNs for streaming thanks to its high speed servers. Streaming Rakuten TV abroad with PrivateVPN is easy because it has Japan servers (both physical and virtual), unlimited bandwidth, and no irritating buffering or lag. Overall, this smaller VPN service has approximately 100 servers in 59 countries. It’s able to unblock all sorts of popular streaming services including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and BBC iPlayer.

Aside from coming with a 30-day money-back guarantee, you can have 6 simultaneous connections via a single PrivateVPN account. The PrivateVPN apps are easy to use for beginners while still providing enough advanced options for experienced users. Based in Sweden, PrivateVPN states it has a zero data logging policy. It also provides users with security via 256-bit AES encryption, DNS leak protection and built-in kill switch.

PrivateVPN apps are available for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS. However, manual setup is necessary for Linux and routers.


  • Fast servers and unlimited bandwidth
  • Unblocks many services including Rakuten TV and Netflix Japan
  • Easy-to-use apps for beginners
  • Has a zero logs policy


  • Not as many servers to choose from
  • Live chat is rarely available

GREAT FOR STREAMING:PrivateVPN is fast, making it perfect for high definition streaming. However, it’s a smaller VPN with fewer servers overall. 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full PrivateVPN review.

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Can I use a free VPN to watch Rakuten TV outside Japan?

Many free VPNs don’t work with services such as Rakuten TV, Netflix, BBC iPlayer and ESPN. These services often use anti-VPN software and are able to block many VPNs from accessing their content. Free VPNs tend to stand out more than paid VPNs because they have too many users and too few servers. Thus their IP addresses are quickly flagged. In fact, many free VPNs don’t even have servers in Tokyo to begin with.

If you happen to come across a free VPN that does work with Rakuten TV, there’s still a few reasons why we’d advise caution. For one, free VPNs are in high demand which means the sheer number of users on a server can cause performance issues. This is particularly noticeable on streaming sites where you’ll likely encounter a lot of buffering and lag, not to mention the restrictions on bandwidth that the free VPN imposes.

Aside from letting you watch Rakuten TV abroad, a VPN should help you be safer online. Unfortunately, this is not always the case with free VPNs that often lack crucial security features such as encryption. What’s more, free VPNs typically make money by targeting you with ads that are often spammy in nature. VPNs can also make money by collecting your data and selling it to third parties or selling your bandwidth for use in botnet attacks. All in all, free VPNs aren’t to be trusted.

What can I watch on Rakuten TV Japan?

On Rakuten TV, you can buy and rent a wide range of content such as movies and TV shows. Rakuten TV is available not only in Japan but also in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

According to the Rakuten TV Help Centre, “To have access to our service in one of those countries, you have to be connected from that country. Each of the international Rakuten TV sites work independently of each other and feature different content…”

Some of the content you can watch on Rakuten TV for Japan includes movies and TV shows from Japan as well as foreign content such as from South Korea, Taiwan and the US (Hollywood movies, for example). There’s also plenty of sports content with NBA basketball available (both live and on-demand) as well as other sports such as baseball, football and golf. Other categories on Rakuten TV Japan include anime, documentaries, kids, music (live concerts), adult and live TV.