Best J Dramas That Every Japanophile Will Love (A Top 25 List)  

You may not be able to book a trip to Japan anytime soon, but you can still enjoy a taste of the culture. Japanese dramas, also known as J dramas, are the next best thing. There’s something about the storylines for these series that captures the interest of people all across the world. 

Whether you’re just learning about J dramas or looking for the next series to add to your watchlist, you’ve come to the right spot.

Today, we’re going to let you know the best J dramas that every Japanophile will love. With so many interesting storylines to choose from, you can’t go wrong with a J drama.

On this page, we’re going to talk about the top 25 J dramas. Keep reading to find out what they are.

Why should you watch a J drama?

J dramas have become a lot more popular recently. One of the main things that people like about these drama shows is that the writers don’t drag out a storyline.

Unlike many American dramas, J dramas know when to wrap a storyline up. All loose ends get tied up and the viewers aren’t left wondering about plotholes and unanswered questions.

Most J dramas are intentionally only one season long, which is completely different from the shows people are used to in the US. This allows the viewer to get fully immersed in the story as each episode goes on, but satisfied with how it ends.

Another unique aspect of watching J dramas is getting to see what an exaggerated version of Japanese lifestyle and culture is like.

From the way people decorate their homes, to their clothing styles, and everything else that is unique about Japan. 

Top 25 J dramas that every Japanophile will love

Are you looking for a J drama to watch? Below are the top 25 J dramas that people can’t get enough of. 

1: Million Yen Women

One of the top Japanese mystery series on Netflix is Million Yen Women. Find out what happens when a struggling novelist is offered one million yen in rental fees from 5 mysterious women even though he never listed a room for rent.

There’s one catch though, the novelist isn’t allowed to ask any questions.

As secrets uncover, the mystery has viewers hooked until the end.

2: Hana Yori Dango

Hana Yori Dango is a drama that tells the story of four popular male students who are known for their wealth and good looks.

They are also some of the biggest bullies in school with no fear of consequence.

Their latest victim gives these boys a run for their money as she clashes with the leader of the pack. 

3: Erased

Erased is a series based on a popular manga book. This story follows a manga artist who is able to travel back in time.

He used this power to stop accidents and other fatalities from occurring. When his mother is murdered, the only way he can fix the present is by going back in time to save 3 children from the past.

4: Gokusen

Are you in the mood for a fun and quirky drama? Gokusen may be the right pick for you.

This story centers around a young woman who wants to become a teacher but gets assigned the rowdiest class in the entire school.

Did we mention that she’s also the heir to a criminal organization? This popular series also has a movie adaptation.

5: Absolute Boyfriend

In this drama from 2008, a woman who is tired of trying to find her ideal mate decides to order a boyfriend off of the internet.

The next day an android robot that is programmed to be her perfect boyfriend arrives on her doorstep.

This could be the perfect solution, except the woman is also starting to fall for her co-worker. 

6: Switched

If you’re a fan of movies like Freaky Friday and The Change-Up, you may enjoy Switched.

This drama follows the story of a popular student who switches bodies with her less popular classmate.

When she tries to tell people what happened, nobody will believe her.

To make her situation even more complicated, the classmate refuses to switch back.

7: Atelier/ Underwear

This drama takes place at a lingerie company called Emotion. While the fashion designer who created this company wants to put priority around beautiful and sensual pieces, the new intern wants to create more functional lingerie.

This leaves a conflicted intern struggling between choosing her beliefs or her dream job.

8: Perfect Crime

This riveting drama centers around a woman who is having an affair with her married boss.

To make things more complicated, her work partner who will do anything to get to the top catches them having an affair. 

9: Great Teacher Onizuka

This drama is actually an adaptation of an anime. The story follows a former gang member who begins working at a school as a gardener.

After a situation, he becomes a teacher for a troubled class. This series is a feel-good comedy that sprinkles in a dash of trouble.

10: Hanzawa Naoki

Hanzawa Naoki is one of the most popular J dramas in Japan, and the story revolves around a bank loan.

When a banker’s name is sabotaged over a 500 million yen loan, he must clear his name and prove that he is not the one to be messed with.

During his journey to get to the bottom of the truth, he uncovers more than expected.

11: Mischievous Kiss: Love in Tokyo

Mischievous Kiss follows the story of Kotoko, a young student who struggles with her confidence.

She doesn’t feel as pretty as the other girls in her school and her grades are not very impressive.

When she’s assigned to live with one of the popular boys in her grade, she breaks down his tough exterior and shows him what real love is.

12: Samurai Gourmet

Samurai Gourmet is a unique story about a retired businessman who starts drinking heavily.

He decides that he wants to live out his fantasy wandering samurai.

This samurai persona inspires the man to freely eat and drink as much as he wants and takes him on a journey of discovering delicious new foods.

13: Unnatural

Unnatural is a 10 episode series that is about a pathologist who wants to unravel the causes of unnatural deaths.

With several cases to get to the bottom of, each character will be haunted by their past as the mystery unfolds.

14: Good Morning Call

Nao is a young student who is excited to rent her first apartment. However, she quickly realizes she has been scammed and the landlord leased the apartment to another student as well, the handsome Hisashi.

The students agree to share the apartment, but feelings between the two could make things complicated.

15: One Litre of Tears

One Litre of Tears is based on a true story and one that will have you reaching for tissues.

Young Aya is diagnosed with a disease called spinocerebellar degeneration, which eventually prevents her from moving.

This tale follows her story from when she was diagnosed to when she no longer had control of her body.

16: Many Face of Ito

In Many Faces of Ito, a screenplay writer convinces four different women to share their stories of love and life. However, she soon discovers each of these women is dating the same man, Ito.

17: Good Luck

Good Luck is a story about a pilot named Hajime and the ups and downs of his relationships. From conflicting relationships with co-workers and a possible romantic connection with a mechanic.

18: Liar Game

Kanzaki Nao must play an all-or-nothing game when she receives 100 million yen. She must avoid her opponent’s tricks so she completes the game and stays out of debt.

19: Hibana Spark

An aspiring stand-up comedian who is having no luck with his career meets a successful comedian and goes under his wing. As the two form a friendship, they also inspire each other’s comedy.

20: Code Blue

Code Blue is a medical drama that follows a medical team that uses helicopters to travel to patients in need of care.

21: Your Home is My Business! Counterattack

This story follows a real estate agent who becomes a little bit too involved in her clients’ lives. She will do anything to make a sale.

22: BG Personal Bodyguard

A bodyguard who lost his job protecting a soccer star hides his identity. He joins a new program and becomes a VIP bodyguard.

23: 99.9 Criminal Lawyer

A struggling lawyer who seeks truth and justice gets offered an opportunity from a major law firm. 

24: Princess Jellyfish

A shy woman is having trouble coming to terms with her illustrating talents. Her love of jellyfish inspires her to break out of her shell and meet new people.

25: My Boss My Hero

A 27-year-old heir goes undercover as a 17year old to earn a high school diploma.

He ends up gaining more than an education in this heart-warming drama.

How To Learn Japanese By Watching J Dramas

My fascination with Japan began several years back at a roadside bonsai stand while on vacation. I became more interested in the where and why's more than the trees themselves. My love of Bonsai led me to further research my interest in the gardens where they originated from and the places and people that surrounded those little trees. My curiosity was well rewarded upon visiting Saitama where the National Bonsai Museum was located and Omiya Village the bonsai mecca for lovers of this ancient art form. Exploring many towns and villages and even making my way to Japan's furthest southern prefecture of Okinawa. I hope to share my love of this wonderful and exotic place with all those who want to know more about Japan.