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Entertainment, Media and Television for Expats in Japan

Submitted: March 2014

When you move to the home of karaoke, you can expect to have a lot of entertainment options. If you are prefer a quieter evening out with a relaxing meal, you can consider using the resources below to find some of Japan’s best restaurants:

Unfortunately, if you are a wannabe John Travolta or having been watching way too many Step Up movies (and practising!) you will be most displeased to learn that dancing in some Japanese nightclubs is prohibited. This will depend on whether the club has a special permit which allows for dancing and is dependent on its floor space. For clubs that can offer its guests the option of dancing, please refer to the link below:

To read more about this interesting policy, please refer to the article below:

For a wider selection of interesting and entertaining activities, including the world renowned karaoke, please see the links below:


Media and Television


There are 6 national networks in Japan: Japan Broadcasting Corporation, Nippon News Network (NNN), Fuji News Network (FNN), All-Nippon News Network (ANN) and TV Tokyo Network / TX Network (TXN). These are public stations.

There are also a number of cable and satellite television providers. These include:

The average monthly costs of cable and satellite television can range from ¥3,000 (30USD) to ¥8,000 (80USD). If you choose satellite television you would need to install  a tuner and a satellite dish at an added cost. For more information generally on these options, please refer to the links below:

In order to watch television, you must first pay a receiving fee (television license). Citizens of the United Kingdom may be all too accustomed  to this added burden but for those of you who are unfamiliar with idea of paying for a television license, this license is mandatory for all persons in possession of a television set. You will be required to purchase this license for your household and you only need one even though you may have multiple sets. You will need to contact NHK when you install a television set in your home. The cost of this receiving fee is  ¥4,440 (43USD) for 2 months or ¥24,650 (240USD) for 12 months for satellite television  and  ¥2,550 (25USD) for 2 months or ¥14,160 (140USD) for 12 months for terrestrial broadcasts:

You can make these payments at post offices, convenience stores or set up a direct debit.

You should be aware that if you plan to bring your television set from home, the video format used in Japan is NTSC as opposed to PAL and SECAM which are used throughout Australia, other Asian countries, Western Europe and many Eastern European countries. It should also be noted that the voltage used is 100V which differs greatly from many other countries. In this regard, bringing a television set from your home country may be a troublesome exercise. You should also remember that in Japan you may be able to get much more advanced models for cheaper prices.



When you move to a new place, it is always important to keep updated on the current currents in that country.

The most read newspaper in Japan is the Yomiuri Shimbun. Other popular national newspapers are Asahi Shimbun and Mainchi Shimbun. These newspapers are in Japanese, however you can consider The Japan Times, which is the most popular English language newspaper.

You can use the resource below to find online versions of some of Japan’s newspapers. You can make your selection based on language as well as topics covered:

If you prefer having a physical copy of the paper, you can always subscribe to have them delivered to your home (https://club.japantimes.co.jp/en/faq.html)  or visit a local shop nearby.



Listening to the radio is interesting way to keep updated on current events as well as learning about Japanese culture. There are a number of commercial stations which are available nationally as well as what is referred to as “community stations” which are local to a particular region or prefecture.

For a list of Japanese radio stations which you can stream online, please refer to the links below:



Moving to Japan

If you are considering moving to Japan or are soon to depart, you can find helpful information and advice in the Expat Briefing dedicated Japanese section including; details of immigration and visas, Japanese forums, Japanese event listings and service providers in Japan.


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