25 Best Japanese Dramas to Watch

Japanese dramas

Japanese TV series are referred to as dramas (ドラマ) or terebi dorama (テレビドラマ, derived from the English “television drama”). Major streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime promote and produce more Japanese dramas, which is why the younger generation is increasingly interested in them. 

It’s easy to fall in love with any Japanese drama, so be ready whether you’re looking for a new Japanese TV drama to pass the time or want to try something new.

List of The 25 Best Japanese Dramas to Watch Online

1. Hoshi Furu Yoru ni (“On A Starry Night”)

25 Best Japanese Dramas to Watch Online

  • Streaming On: Viki (Rakuten), TVer, Apple TV
  • Audience Rating: 9.3/10 (Viki, Rakuten)

It is the best Japanese drama on Netflix. The touching story of Shu and Maki, whose unwavering friendship is tested by the highs and lows of life in their close-knit community, is told in “On a Starry Night.” The drama follows Shu and Maki as they navigate life’s challenges in their close-knit community, delving into themes such as love, dreams, and the ties that bind people together. 

2. Brush Up Life

Best Japanese Dramas to Watch Online

  • Streaming On: TVer, Hulu
  • Audience Rating: 8.5/10 (IMDb)

Another best Jdrama is “Brush Up Life” which documents middle-aged salaryman Mitsuhiko Hasegawa’s inspirational journey through a pivotal period. Amid a midlife crisis, Mitsuhiko decides to pursue his long-dormant dream of becoming a painter. The program delves into Mitsuhiko’s artistic journey of self-discovery and self-realization as he transitions into a later career stage. 

3. Yûgure ni, te wo tsunagu (“Hold My Hand at Twilight”)

25 Best Japanese Dramas to Watch Online

  • Streaming On: TVer, Viki (Rakuten)
  • Audience Rating: 7.8/10 (IMDb)

This is among the best Japanese romance movies. The story of grief, connection, and the paranormal unfolds in the engrossing novel “Yûgure ni, te wo tsunagu” around Rinko, a young woman struggling with the profound loss of her mother.

Rinko makes an amazing connection with an enigmatic young man who is grieving along the journey. Because of their special ability to see the shadows of deceased souls, they set out on a mission to assist these lost souls in finding closure and transitioning to the afterlife.

Suggestive Read: Best Chinese Dramas to Watch Online – List

4. The Makanai: Cooking For the Maiko House

25 Best Japanese Dramas to Watch Online

  • Streaming On: Netflix
  • Audience Rating: 93% (Rotten Tomatoes), 7.9/10 (IMDb)

In this engaging series, we explore the life of Haru, a strong young woman employed as a makanai, a menial kitchen helper, in the fascinating setting of a Kyoto geisha district.

The show centers on Haru’s goals of becoming a chef in his own right and advancing through the ranks while gaining the respect of the maiko (apprentice geisha) who lives in the house. It is one of the Best Japanese dramas to watch

5. Ninja ni Kekkon wa Muzukashi (“Marriage Is Difficult for A Ninja”)

25 Best Japanese Dramas to Watch Online

  • Streaming On: TVer
  • Audience Rating: 7.3/10 (IMDb)

“Ninja ni Kekkon wa Muzukashii” is a humorous and endearing look into the world of contemporary ninjas. Get ready for an incredible journey. In this Japanese drama, we meet Kaori, a woman with an amazing career who longs for a straightforward married life despite her unusual line of work.

The drama centers on her humorous attempts to balance her ninja responsibilities and the difficulties of dating and falling in love in a society where deceit and secrecy are the norms. 

6. Outsider: Metropolitan Police Department

25 Best Japanese Dramas to Watch Online

  • Streaming On: TVer, Abema
  • Audience Rating: 7.1/10 (IMDb)

The gritty Japanese detective drama “Outsider” will hook you in no time. Through the eyes of the unconventional yet by-the-book Detective Yusuke Oshita, we are thrust into the complex world of Tokyo law enforcement and all its messy complexities.

Yusuke’s commitment to eliminating corruption frequently pushes him to the breaking point. Equipped with brave moral principles and unwavering perseverance, he relentlessly fights not only criminal organizations in the underworld but also systemic injustice that is deeply ingrained in the highest echelons of the Metropolitan Police Department.


7. Hyakumankai Ieba Yokatta (Why Didn’t I Tell You a Million Times?)

  • Streaming On: Netflix
  • Audience Rating: 7/10

The moving Japanese drama “What Could I Have Told You a Million Times?” shattered our hearts as we walked alongside Fuyuko, a devoted single mother faced with an incurable diagnosis. With her remaining days now tragically short, she embarks on an agonizing mission to secure her young daughter Rui’s future before she dies.

During her travels, Fuyuko connects with people from her past and discovers intricate layers of unresolved relationships and feelings. 

8. Dai Byoin Senkyo (This Hospital Is Like A Birdcage)

25 Best Japanese Dramas to Watch Online

  • Streaming On: TVer, Hulu
  • Audience Rating: 6.3/10

Through the eyes of devoted nurse Maki, the moving Japanese drama “This Hospital Is Like A Birdcage” presents an intimate but challenging portrait of people with mental illness.

Maki accepts a position at a distinctive mental health facility that is described as a “birdcage”—a secure and reassuring but limiting environment. Maki and her medical team deal with complicated patients inside these walls who have been scarred by trauma, brilliance, and occasionally danger. Along the way to recovery, they experience heartbreaking setbacks and thrilling breakthroughs together.

9. 3 Nen A Gumi: Ima Kara Mina-San Wa (“Mr Hiiragi’s Homeroom”)

Best Japanese Dramas to Watch Online

  • Streaming On: Netflix
  • Audience Rating: 7.4/10 (IMDb), 8.6/10 (MyDramaList)

“3 Nen A Gumi: Ima Kara Mina-San Wa,” a psychological school drama. Ten days before graduation, Mr. Hiiragi, the homeroom teacher, gathers all 29 of his students in class 3-A and holds them captive. 

The subject of his final lesson was the death of a student who had passed away a few months earlier. Until the truth is known, no one can graduate. With just ten episodes, this is an intensely brief but compelling watch.

10. Kazoku Game (“The Family Game”)

Best Japanese Dramas to Watch Online

  • Streaming On: Dailymotion
  • Audience Rating: 7.6/10 (IMDb), 8.6/10 (MyDramaList)

Every character in this 2013 family-focused TV drama embarks on an enigmatizing and endearing journey. The Numata family hires Yoshi Moto, an eccentric home tutor, to help with their second son. His nontraditional teaching strategies start to impact the student and his family positively.

Suggestive Read: Top 25 Kdramas to Watch on Hotstar

11. Mystery To Iunakare (“Don’t Call It Mystery”)

25 Best Japanese Dramas to Watch Online

  • Streaming On: Viki (Rakuten)
  • Audience Rating: 7.7/10 (IMDb)

Mystery to Iunakare, an online stream of the same name’s manga, is currently accessible. It centers on Kuno Totono, a student who enjoys solving mysteries, who was recently detained by the police on suspicion of killing a classmate.

This is a compelling series that should be on everyone’s to-watch list. The episodes are a true murder mystery, and the plot leaves many unanswered questions.

12. 1,000,000 yen no Onnatachi (“Millon Yen Women”)

Best Japanese Dramas to Watch Online

  • Streaming On: Netflix 
  • Audience Rating: 7.5/10 (IMDb)

A failing author who takes money from five different women to help him pay his rent is the subject of this Japanese mystery drama series.

The women are enigmatic characters who volunteer to assist the author on the condition that he never inquires about them or their way of life in return. However, the discovery of a dead body makes the author wonder if the women were involved in the murder.

13. Tokyo Joshi Zukan (“Tokyo Girl”)

25 Best Japanese Dramas to Watch Online

  • Streaming On: Prime Video
  • Audience Rating: 8/10 (IMDb)

The Best Japanese drama of all time “Toyko Joshi Zukan,” popularly known as “Tokyo Girl,” is currently streaming on Amazon Prime. It chronicles Aya’s journey from when she moved to Toyko at 23 until her late 40s.

Aya faces difficult circumstances and must adapt to the diverse values and perspectives of the large city. We get to watch Aya navigate her way through her career and romantic relationships as she moves around the glistening city’s neighborhoods.

14. Itazura Na Kiss: Love in Tokyo (“Mischievous Kiss: Love in Tokyo”)

  • Streaming On: Viki (Rakuten), Crunchyroll
  • Audience Rating: 9.3/10 (Viki, Rakuten), 4.2/5 (Crunchyroll), 7.5/10 (IMDb)

The anime series of the same name has been remade five times, with a lot of comedic appeal in this romantic Japanese drama.

It depicts the life of Kotoko Aihara, a poor student who feels her appearance leaves much to be desired and is in love with the brilliant and popular Naoki Irie. This is a lighthearted JDrama with lots of plot twists, perfect for lovers at heart. Currently accessible via Amazon Prime streaming.

Suggestive Read: Top 25 Kdramas to Watch on MX Player

15. Hana Yori Dango (“Boys Over Flowers”)

Hana Yori Dango

  • Streaming On: Viki (Rakuten)
  • Audience Rating: 9/10 (Viki, Rakuten), 8/10 (IMDb)

Another best Japanese drama from the Japanese drama list is this. This drama has been adapted into Korean and Chinese and is considered a classic in Japan and globally. Four attractive kids from wealthy backgrounds are introduced in the series’ first episode. They are well-liked at school and use bullying and flaunting their wealth to establish their power over other pupils.

Their most recent victim is a timid girl who argues with the group leader. The Japanese romance drama Netflix show takes many significant turns as mischief, romance, and misunderstandings appear. Presently accessible on Netflix. 

16. Boku No Ita Jikan (“The Hours Of My Life”)

  • Streaming On: Amazon Prime
  • Audience Rating: 8.1/10 (IMDb)

Boku No Ita Jikan, currently available on Amazon Prime, is an extremely moving and emotional watch. Sawada Takuto is a typical university student who one day finds out she has Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS.

He tries to live each day to the fullest despite having little time left. You really should add this poignant drama to your watchlist.

17. Ichi Rittoru No Namida (“One Litre of Tears”)

  • Streaming On: N/A
  • Audience Rating: 8.7/10 (IMDb)

This poignant TV drama from Japan is based on an actual event. Aya Kito is a happy young woman who has been tragically diagnosed with spinocerebellar degeneration, a condition that gradually impairs her movement until it causes her to become completely paralyzed.

The program chronicles her life from the time of her diagnosis until she completely loses control over her own body. You will cry after each episode, so it is worth watching.

Suggestive Read: Best Korean Dramas to Watch on Netflix

18. Zettai Kareshi (“Absolute Boyfriend”)

  • Streaming On: Apple TV, Viki (Rakuten)
  • Audience Rating: 7.3/10 (IMDb), 8.8/10 (Viki, Rakuten)

A science-fiction Japanese romance drama series based in Japan is called Zettai Kareshi. Similar television shows, like “Are You Human Too?”, are becoming constantly popular. You can stream Zettai Kareshi (also known as Absolute Boyfriend) on Hulu TV.

The leading character of the show is Riiko: A single woman who has given up on finding love and has decided to get herself a boyfriend. The next day she is surprised to see a humanoid robot at her doorstep.

19. Hanzawa Naoki

  • Streaming On: N/A
  • Audience Rating: 8.4/10 (IMDb), 4.8/5 (Amazon UK)

This action drama will soon be available on streaming services. At a large corporate bank where he works as a loan manager, Hanzawa Naoki decides to become involved in corruption and malpractice.

He must use his financial awareness, understanding of human nature, and improvisational abilities to forge connections with some unlikely allies and stay one step ahead of his formidable opponents. 

20. Bambino!

  • Streaming On: Dailymotion
  • Audience Rating: 7.2/10 (IMDb)

You can still watch this older Japanese action drama online, which debuted in 2007. It centers on Ban Shogo, a confident, gregarious young man from Fukuoka who travels to Tokyo to hone his Italian cooking abilities.

After a year of employment at a neighborhood Italian restaurant, he still has much to learn. He must establish himself with the upscale eatery’s highly competitive, quick-thinking staff.

21. Code Blue

25 Best Japanese Dramas to Watch Online

  • Streaming On: N/A
  • Audience Rating: 7.5/10 (IMDb)

This is the best Japanese drama on Netflix with three seasons of fantastic action.  The show centers on four recently assigned doctors as they develop and learn from various medical scenarios that require them to quickly think through and act upon life-saving options. This is one for fans of medical dramas and the excitement of a fast-paced television show.


22. GTO: Great Teacher Onizuka

  • Streaming On: Dailymotion
  • Audience Rating: 7.5/10 (IMDb)

The GTO anime is a fantastically adapted series for Japanese television. The plot centers on Onizuka Eirkichi, a gang member who applies to work as a part-time gardener at a school.

But then something happens, and he has to take on the role of class advisor for the school’s most troublesome young people. A classic comedy and some feel-good drama ensue, along with lots of fun and mischief. obtainable via Peacock TV streaming.

23. Gokusen

  • Streaming On: BiliBili
  • Audience Rating: 7.3/10 (IMDb)

An older Jdrama that is enjoyable to watch is Gokusen. This drama also centers on a teacher assigned to a problematic class. At first, Kumiko finds it difficult to command her class and win their respect, but she finally manages to lower the barrier and establish personal connections with each of them.

Plot twist: She is, in fact, a Yakuza gang heir. See how she balances the two remarkably disparate aspects of her life and whether she decides to prioritize her family or her career by watching. An additional movie that was produced after the series aired is accessible on Netflix.

24. Ouroboros

  • Streaming On: BiliBili
  • Audience Rating: 7.2/10 (IMDb)

Hulu TV has this compelling Japanese thriller available for viewing. The narrative revolves around two orphans, Ryuzaki and Danno, who as young children witness the murder of an orphanage staff member. They testify before the police, but the case is soon closed, and both of them harbor suspicions of their own.

After fifteen years, Danno has become the head of an organized crime gang and Ryuzaki is now a decorated police officer. Together, they seek the truth about the murder they saw as kids and expose the extent of police corruption.

25. My Boss, My Hero

25 Best Japanese Dramas to Watch Online

  • Streaming On: YouTube
  • Audience Rating: 8.1/10 (IMDb)

“The Yakuza’s Guide to Babysitting” is a brand-new Japanese series on Netflix is an action comedy that premieres on Netflix and chronicles the hilarious mishaps of 27-year-old underachiever Sakaki Makio. Get ready to laugh.

The naive Sakaki, the apparent heir to a well-known Yakuza crime family, would much rather play elaborate pranks and fiddle with toys than work in the “family business.” However, his conventional father issues a warning: either graduate from high school or your younger brother, who is more mature, will take over.

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This list of Japanese dramas doesn’t end here. There are several Japanese dramas for Adults if you are looking for them. Indeed, Japanese dramas are a class apart. You’ll adore their romantic comedy leads, cheer on the underdogs, and watch the thrillers on the edge of your seat.

There is something for everyone and every interest, whether you’re new to Japanese dramas or searching for a new one to add to your watch list. Also, there is a New Japanese Drama 2024 list which you will find interesting if you have watched these series already.  

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Explore, learn, write - An creative writer getting to explore the tech view who feels it is a digital adventure. With good experience in SEO writing still she says to be a beginner in learning.

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