Bookmark this page as we celebrate and list what is deemed to be the Top 20 Best and Highest Rated Japanese Shows on Netflix.
There are a lot of Japanese shows available to stream on Netflix, and you can get everything from drama to comedy to animation and more. Unlike US counterparts, Japanese seasons can be shorter and more concise with their storytelling, making them very binge-worthy and accessible, but with so many to explore, it can be hard to know where to start, so we have attempted, somewhat foolishly, to try and present to you the twenty highest rated Japanese shows currently available to stream on Netflix. To help narrow the search, we only listed live-action shows.
Also, if you are interested in Korean Drama, check out our Top 40 Best Korean Dramas Of All Time list.
Top 20 Best and Highest-Rated Japanese Shows on Netflix
1. Death Note (2006-2007)
A morality tale that offers up moments of horror and reflection, this anime from Tetsuro Araki is iconic and highly regarded by fans of the genre. Light Yagami finds the magical notebook that you can use to condemn people to death and sets in motion the series of events of the story. This would eventually become a live-action movie, but it would seem that some anime should be left in its original pure and perfect form.
IMDB Rating 9.0/10
2. Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995-1996)
26 episodes of classic anime that is often cited as one of the greatest series ever, directed by Hideaki Anno. The thrilling, violent, and gripping story is layered with a deeper meaning that adds depth and substance to its narrative. Set in 2015, the invasion from The Angels must be combatted by 14-year-old Shinji, the only person that can use the tech that can fight the attack. Often referenced and revered by fans, this is a must-see for fans.
IMDB Rating 8.5/10
3. Erased (2017)
Based on the manga of the same name, this touching and sometimes disturbing story follows 18-year-old Saturo, who finds his mother has died, and he now has the power to time travel. Going back in time, he has the power to alter the timeline, but what are the consequences? Thrilling, gripping, and filled with plenty of twists and turns, this 12-episode series is also applauded for staying true to its roots, honoring the source material, and pleasing fans.
IMDB Rating 8.5/10
4. Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories (2016-2019)
Almost like a traditional anthology series, this show has a different character visit the diner that is occupied by a mysterious chef with uncanny cooking skills. Slightly sinister but ultimately satisfying and heartwarming, this incredibly popular show is a must-see.
IMDB Rating 8.4/10
5. Terrace House (2016-present)
This reality show has three men and three women all living together in the same house. If you think this sounds like a Big Brother knockoff, there is, of course, a twist. There is no goal to be in the house, no prize money or ultimate aim, as the guests there are free to leave any time they want.
So in essence, they are only there because they want to be. The housemates get to know each other, becoming friends and often dating, and the show became a sleeper hit, amassing what can only be considered as a cult following. Tragedy would bring the show to an end, with one of the contestants committing suicide.
Other controversies would also arise, including allegations of manipulation of the people involved. We could probably do a whole article on this show, but if you are intrigued, you can check it out for yourself.
IMDB Rating 8.1/10
6. Samurai Gourmet (2017)
This is a twelve-part series that once again features food as a focus. It follows the story of a retired man Takeshi who is wondering how to fill his time. When exploring the neighborhood, he finds a diner he has never seen before. He discovers a passion for food that awakens his inner Samurai. This slice-of-life series is hypnotic and delightful.
IMDB Rating 8.1/10
7. Liar Game (2007)
This gripping and twisted show was a huge hit when released in 2007. The show follows Nao, a young nurse who finds herself a player in the liar game. She receives a case filled with 100 million yen and instructions on the rules of the game. The game is made up of rounds that increase in difficulty each time and land Nao in a dangerous, twisted game where no one is what they seem. The final episode of the season was an incredible three-hour finale, something that had never been done before. The show was a hit and received praise from viewers and critics alike.
IMDB Rating 8.0/10
8. Giri/Haji (2021)
This is a gripping eight-episode crime drama and is unusual as it has a lot of English-speaking characters in it. A detective from Tokyo ends up in London looking for his brother, who has been presumed dead. Mixing the settings of London and Tokyo makes this a show that is great to look at and is perhaps more accessible to viewers in the West. Girl/Haji was co-produced with the BBC but sadly did not receive a second season.
IMDB Rating 7.8/10
9. The Naked Director (2019-present)
There are two seasons of The Naked Director, with sixteen episodes to get through, and it follows the over-the-top story of Japanese adult film director Totu Muranishi. Drama and comedy combine to give the viewer a candid look at the 1980’s Japanese porn industry.
IMDB Rating 7.7/10
10. Alice In Borderland (2020)
Based on a Manga of the same title, this show is a fantasy-based adventure story that finds three gamers trapped in a strange parallel Tokyo, trying to survive against some nasty games. Season 1 and Season 2 have eight episodes each. This popular show was praised for its visuals and cinematography and has scenes of graphic violence.
IMDB Rating 7.6/10
11. Good Morning Call (2026 – 2017)
This is a romantic comedy, Japanese style, and follows the story of Nao and Hisashi, two students that end up having to share an apartment together. However, in the best tradition of rom-com, the two start to fall for each other. This is a light watch, but one of the longer-running shows with 17 episodes in the first season.
IMDB Rating 7.5/10
12. Million Yen Women (2017)
Based on the popular manga of the same name, this is a mystery box of a series that has a unique and quirky premise at its heart. Five mysterious women all arrive at the home of Shin, a struggling novelist, and in exchange for running the household for them, they pay him a million yen in rent. There are no questions to be asked, and slowly the truth about the arrangement is revealed. The show starred Yojiro Noda, who is the lead vocalist of the rock band RADWIMPS, in his first television show.
IMDB Rating 7.5/10
13. Atelier (2015)
The world of high fashion, glamour, and lingerie is explored in this funny and insightful look at the work culture of Japan. When Mayuko is appointed by Emotion, a manufacturer of lingerie, we follow her journey through the high-pressure corporate world. With plenty of shine and sparkle, this coming-of-age story has plenty of drama and focuses on the relationships between the main leads.
IMDB Rating 7.3/10
14. The Journalist (2021)
This gripping drama follows a journalist that uncovers a story involving corrupt officials and government scandals. But her interest has gathered some attention from the powers that be and they want her reporting to stop. The Journalist is a well-tread story that, unfortunately, resonates no matter where you are watching from. The show adds to the intensity when you realize that the events depicted may be based on real-life incidents.
IMDB Rating 7.1/10
15. Switched (2018)
This 2018 six-episode fantasy series, Switched, follows the story of two students that find they have switched bodies. When Zenko commits suicide, Ayumi is witness to the event and passes out. When she wakes, the switch has taken place. With themes of depression and anxiety, this is an intense and disturbing story.
IMDB Rating 7.1/10
16. Japan Sinks: People of Hope (2021)
This slice of sci-fi is made more relevant by the subject matter that it takes on board. Based on a book by Sakyo Komatsu, Japan Sinks follows the protests of the Japanese people against a terrifying government practice of liquefying pollutants. This technique will inevitably end in disaster, and a brave journalist tries to warn them of the dangers, but the powers that be have other ideas.
17. Followers (2021)
In Tokyo, two lives become entwined against the backdrop of the city. A fashion photographer and an aspiring actress are brought together, and the lives of several Tokyo women are explored against a landscape of social media. Fame, media, awards, and shopping all come together in this nine-episode season.
IMDB Rating 6.4/10
18. Fishbowl Wives (2022)
This is another show based on a famous manga and is a drama that follows six different wives who all live in a tower block. Unhappy in their marriages, Fishbowl Wives follows the women as they stray into infidelity. With controversy over the steamy intimate scenes, the show has raised a few eyebrows as it is unusual for Japanese shows to be this explicit. Social media has been all over this show, too, with many people criticizing the themes of abuse against women. If you are not easily shocked, check this out.
IMDB Rating 6.2/10
19. Ju-On Origins (2020)
Here is another scary series that fans of The Ring might want to have a look at. This is a six-episode series filled with all the dread that we experienced in films like The Grudge. The story sees a paranormal investigator who is exploring a haunted home that has a dark and terrible secret hidden in its past. This is all you imagine it will be, with plenty of disturbing imagery and themes to contend with. Ju-On Origins is not for the faint-hearted.
IMDB Rating 6.1/10
20. Re-Mind (2017-2018)
This 13-episode tense thriller has a high concept that is chilling and intriguing. Eleven high school classmates find themselves in a chamber of horrors, trapped in a dining room, and fearing for their lives. As they try to put the details together, they start to deduce this may be revenge for something that has happened in their past. Truths and secrets are slowly revealed in this dark and tense 13-episode thriller.
IMDB Rating 4.9/10
And so here we are, the Top 20 Best and Highest Rated Japanese Shows on Netflix. What do you believe should be on this list? Comment below.
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