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Last Updated on May 16, 2022 by Jella Erhard

Best Japanese dramas to watch on Netflix

Discover the best romantic Japanese dramas to watch on Netflix & VIKI in 2020 that are so cute and creative they will get you hooked on J dramas in no time.

While watching a classic show from the past always have its nostalgic vibes we’re lucky to say that the recent years were productive and many creative and entertaining dramas came to life.

You’ll find here the best J romance drama recommendations from fantasy romance, history to mysteries and dramas. We’ll show you the most fun slice of life series as well as some darker shows and even some unique and quirky ones that will surely surprise you.

No matter if you’re a hardcore love lover or just someone who enjoys an occasional romance story you’ll find here something to put on your watch list.

While watching Japanese dramas is a whole lot of fun they also help you get to know the culture better and even help you learn or improve your Japanese language skills. You can check out our post on the best books for Japanese learners where you’ll also find other fun language learning resources that’ll help you learn Japanese faster and easier.

Best Romantic Japanese dramas to watch on Netflix & VIKI in 2020

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21| Winter, Grasping Love  | 2017

Winter Grasping Love is a beautiful Japanese romance drama from 2017. It is a short series with seven episodes, each an hour long. If you are looking for a hint of winter love, this show with twists, broken hearts and finally fulfilled love, will be one you’ll surely enjoy watching.

The dramas lead is Hikaru Ikeuchi (Kana Kurashina) who is a designer and is happily engaged to her fiancé Kota Okukawa (Shohei Miura) only until her long-gone ex-boyfriend shows up.

Things become complicated, Hikaru’s life changes in an instant.

Winter Grasping Love is a very entertaining Japanese drama with a hint of winter magic.

20| When One Day I Will Sleep (Itsuka, Nemuri Ni Tsuku Hi) | 2019

High School girl Morino Hotaru is struggling with her feelings as she is secretly in love with Otaka Ren for almost five years. She’s been trying for a long time to gather the courage to finally tell him about her feelings.

If you love Japanese romance dramas about high school, then you are about to watch one of the most interesting and spooky ones.

On a school trip though, their bus crashes and Hotaru finds out from a man dressed in black called Kuro that she is dead. Kuro is the grim reaper telling the girl that she has 19 days left to make amends or her soul will be entrapped forever.

Hotaru as devastated as one can be trying to settle three things that stop her soul from being free.

When One Day I Will Sleep is one of the best Japanese high school romance fantasy dramas in 2019.

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19| Hoping to Give You a Big Hug Tonight | 2018

Hoping to Give You a Big Hug Tonight? also, known as Can I Give You a Hug Tonight? is a fun and a little messy Japanese romance drama.

There are a number of lovebirds, couples and of course, everyday issues the characters are dealing with. If you enjoy slice of life dramas then you should check out this one for sure.

Saeki Riko is attending a women’s college and is doing quite bad when it comes to love. Nothing seems to work out right and usually, she is the one screwing things up.

Her life is about to change significantly thanks to the appearance of her first love, Shuji.

Hoping to Give You a Big Hug Tonight is a feel-good, fun Japanese romance drama 2018 entertained us with.

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18| Osaka Loop Line | 2016

If you have been to Osaka before, then you know how great places the Osaka Loop Line connects. If you watch the Osaka Loop Line you’ll get to see how this train links great people together as well.

This fantastic show is certainly among the best Japanese romantic comedy-dramas. With each episode having a different story and people in focus, you will get a lot of fun exploring romance, friendship, and family.

With living characters and very funny moments, this series will most likely be everyone’s favorite straight away. There are four parts with ten episodes each to extend the fun with a few hours.

Osaka Loop Line is one of the most entertaining Japanese dramas to watch in 2020.

17| Aino Mating Agency Inc | 2017

What wouldn’t most of us do for love? The prospect of finding your match for life is probably worth everything and anything. Or can you put a price on finding the one?

Well, former ethnology professor Aino Hingo seems to have found the value of that precious life-changing moment.

Hingo partnered up with Sister Elizabeth to establish a matchmaking agency that proved to be the most successful one in the world. They have a 100% success rate with all couples eventually getting married.

The price may sound steep, (2 Million JPY=$18K), but isn’t it worth the money for Hingo’s outstanding services if that result in happily ever after?

Aino Mating Agency Inc is a hilarious Japanese romantic comedy-drama that will make you want to look for the one while also having a few laughs.

16| My Long Awaited Love Story | 2016

Love often comes when we would least expect it. Some people are not even looking but others have given up after a long and hopeless run of tries.

Riko Shirono is not interested in finding the one, she is satisfied with life as it is. Despite love not being her priority, her life revolves around love. She is a love simulating game designer, therefore she is always thinking about love.

One day, she is hired by a large app developing company to assist with a game. The CEO of that company, Soichiro Kurokawa is very bad at making women fall in love with him.

He asks Riko to help perfect his game in order to seduce a lady of his desires.

Things get pretty complicated after that.

My Long Awaited Love Story is an enchanting Japanese drama you will want to re-watch on rainy days.

15| Overprotected Kahoko | 2017

Overprotected Kahoko is a hilarious Japanese romance drama 2017 produced. There is nothing said more often than “opposites attract each other.” Maybe because of that, the two soon to be lovebirds of this series are showing that love is unpredictable.

Nemoto Kahoko has been spared by her mother and by the age of 21 she still hasn’t ever done any chores or had to take any responsibility. She is rather spoiled and quite fragile. Her mother does everything for the young university student, who doesn’t know it is not normal.

One special day he meets Mugino Hajime, who comes from a completely different background. They are quickly developing feelings for each other, but naturally, things are never quite that simple.

Overprotected Kahoko is one of the best Japanese Romantic comedies from 2017.

14| Good Morning Call | 2016

This successful romantic comedy was adapted in a number of other countries, we also included the Korean Version in our best Korean dramas list.

Yoshikawa Nao’s parents left the city to take over her grandfather’s farm countryside. She has rented a flat to continue attending her school. It turns out the estate agency pulled a scam on her and the flat was rented to another person as well.

To her surprise, the other tenant is the popular and handsome boy from her school, Uehara Hisashi.

To avoid losing money they decide to give their co-living a try and things end up to be much more than they would have anticipated.

Good Morning Call is one of the best Japanese high school dramas. There is a season 2 as well, so more fun is guaranteed.

13| Love and Fortune | 2018

If you are looking for Japanese dramas with English subtitles to watch on Netflix, then you should check out Love and Fortune.

It is a bit of a controversial Japanese romance drama about high school student Yumeaki, who has a rather unlikely admirer.

Wako Taira is in her thirties and she feels life isn’t kind to her. Everything is dull, her relationship brings no joy to her. In the attempt of escaping from all that makes her unhappy, a young and handsome boy becomes her heart’s desire.

As forbidden as it is because of the age gap, the young but mature and handsome boy doesn’t make her situation easier.

If you want to watch Japanese dramas online on Netflix, Love and Fortune is a little dark and painful, but great drama for sure.

12| Love and Hong Kong | 2017

Love and Hong Kong is one chaotic -in a good way- Japanese drama that is short but definitely one messy but entertaining series to watch.

The story takes us to Hong Kong, where documentary director Yamada Kenta is trying to find a talented actress called Elie.

As he is on the lookout for the girl, there are plenty of surprises and mix-ups with a local man and a girl who is here to meet her newfound love.

With great visuals and eventful minutes, these four episodes will pass so quickly, you barely notice it was gone.

Love and Hong Kong is a great short Japanese romance drama series for adventurous types.

11| My Little Lover (Minami Kun No Koibito) | 2015

If you are in search of really quirky and entertaining Japanese romance dramas then you are at the right place because My Little Lover is that… and some.

Handsome and studious Shunichi Minami has lost touch with his first love and good friend Chiyomi Horikiri after his father disappeared.

Horikiri has a serious fight with her parents when discussing her future plans with them. After leaving home to take a walk in the rain, she wishes to be little again. The universe seems to have misunderstood her wish and turns her about 15 cm tall.

By chance, Shunichi sees the tiny girl and picks her up and that’s when their story begins.

My Little Lover is one of the best Japanese romantic comedy drama series you can watch on VIKI.

10| The Many Faces of Ito | 2017

When things aren’t working out well, we all need to find something to be happy about and be appreciative of. Yazaki Rio is doing her best to remain happy despite many things that haven’t really been working well for her.

She is due to finally catch a break and get one of her scripts picked up after a successful one five years ago.

Things are going to change on the romance front just when she would expect the least. She is fouled by a man called Ito, who is actually very handsome but seems to be cold-hearted.

The Many Faces of Ito is one of the most captivating Japanese romance dramas 2017 produced.

9| Million yen Women (1,000,000 yen no Onnatachi) | 2017

Million Yen Women is about Michima Shin’s incredible story and is full of mystery, delightful humor and overall has a unique mood. Shin is a washed up writer, who doesn’t have many people in his life. His father is awaiting sentence for multiple murders including Shin’s mother.

Living in solitude in a quite large house, his days are pretty gloomy.

His solitude is disturbed when five strange women knock on the door saying they were invited to live with him for only one million Yen a month.

Them living in the house comes with a couple of rules; Shin is not allowed to enter the ladies’ rooms or ask any questions.

Million Yen Women will be your new favorite Japanese drama you can watch on Netflix with English subtitles and a bit of darkness.

8| Mischievous Kiss: Love in TOKYO | 2013

Mischievous Kiss: Love in TOKYO is a Japanese romantic comedy that’s based on the popular manga with the same title. It was so successful that many other production companies adapted it in a number of Asian countries.

The story is following the charming but a bit slow high school girl Kotoko Aihara falling in love with her schoolmate Naoki Irie. When she finally musters the strength to tell him how she feels, Irie rejects her.

Thanks to fate and a terrible disaster; a meteorite hiting Aihara’s house, the two cross paths again.

If you are in the lookout for fun and heartwarming Japanese romance dramas about high school students, then this show is surely going to be of your liking.

Due to its popularity, there are two seasons and a special to ensure more fun.

7| Takane and Hana | 2019

This great Japanese romantic drama was also based on a manga. Hana Nonomura helps out her parents by jumping in the meeting with the wealthy Tkane Saibara. Hana’s sister was supposed to be there to discuss the terms of their arranged marriage.

The two get off to a rough start because Hana cannot stand the man’s rude behavior. She doesn’t take it for long nor keep her disliking to herself.

Despite finding out that Hana is not the girl he was supposed to marry, he begins to pursue her. He intends to slowly make Hana fall in love with him by taking her out to expensive restaurants.

Takane and Hana is among the best Japanese high school dramas 2019 entertained us with.

6| Coffee & Vanilla | 2019

Here is another fun and heartwarming Japanese romance drama from 2019 that will make you fall in love with love.

Pretty university student Risa Shiroki has plenty of offers by eligible boys, but she reserves herself for true love. One day fate reaffirms her approach to life by sending a handsome businessman, whom she falls in love within an instant.

The two seem to have a great chance of living happily ever after, but the kind and caring Hiroto Fukami’s dark past catches up with him.

Coffee & Vanilla is a great new Japanese drama that was brought to screen based on the anime with the same title.

5| The Flower and the Beast | 2018

The Flower and the Beast is one of the best Japanese romance dramas about high school that also gives you a bit of slice of life feeling. At our youth, we all had tough days especially when it comes to love. As great as it can be to fall in love, sometimes it is rather excruciating.

Transfer student Kumi is fitting in quite quickly thanks to the friendly and helpful Hyo, who is also very handsome. After falling in love with him, Kumi even has her first kiss with him.

Soon her heart is destined to break as it turns out, the boy is famously going around girls and lets them down. Not being able to help her feelings, Kumi is in terrible pain.

This Japanese romance drama makes our list because it is a good series to help young viewers cope with their feelings.

4| You’re My Pet (Kimi Wa Petto) | 2017

You’re My Pet is one of the most peculiar Japanese romantic comedy dramas you can find.

The story of Sumire Iwaya is going to make you laugh, cry and sigh “aw” from time to time.

Iwaya is having a rough patch; her boyfriend just broke up with her and she had to take a step back at her career as well. She is an editor at a well-known newspaper but got demoted.

One day, on her way home, she finds a man in a box, who somehow reminds him of her childhood dog, Momo. She takes him in as a pet, which the man, Takeshi doesn’t oppose at all.

Their relationship is rather friendly, or pet-master-like that shows true love and caring.

This is a cheerful and kind of weird Japanese drama with some fun scenes and a lot of elevated moments.

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3| In Time With You (JP) | 2019

Following the success of the Taiwanese drama series, it was adapted in Japan as well.

Careerist Mitari Yo finds the most joy in her job working for a shoemaker. Over time she has proved to be worthy of promotions and everything goes as she planned. Or at least in her career. The romantic aspect of Yo’s life doesn’t provide much to be joyous about.

Her best friend Ishida Ren has been beside her since high school and he always offered a shoulder to lean on.

On Yo’s 29th birthday they place a desperate wager on getting married before turning 31 and things may just change for the better.

In Time With You or I don’t Love You Yet Japanese drama is a great series about friendship and never giving up on love.

2| Pretty Proofreader (Jimi ni Sugoi! Kôetsu Girl Kôno Etsuko ) | 2016

Kouno Etsuko could be a great role model to most of us; she’s dedicated with her eyes on the goal constantly. She wants to become an editor of the fashion department of a prestigious magazine.

After getting hired, she is placed to be one of the proofreaders, which by far doesn’t fill her with satisfaction.

Etsuko doesn’t give up easily and maintains the mentality of “dress for the job you want” resulting in standing out of the proofreading crowd.

She also goes far beyond her duties to land the desired promotions as soon as possible.

Pretty Proofreader is one of the best Japanese comedy dramas with a strong female lead who wouldn’t give up on her dream, not even for love.

1| Sumika Sumire (Sumi ka Sumire) | 2016

Kisaragi Sumi had sacrificed all her youth for her loved ones. She took care of her grandmother, then her parents and without even noticing she turned 65.

Thinking back on her life, she is proud of being loyal and caring, however, she didn’t really enjoy what youth is for. She has never been with a man or had any friends.

She determines to make up for the lost time, she makes a wish and luckily for her, someone or something listened to her words. Sumi is young again, she gained her youth back and now heads to college to live life to the fullest.

Her adventures lead to many interesting and funny moments as the naive 65-year old girl explores the world that has changed plenty since she was out there.

Sumika Sumire is one of the best Japanese fantasy romantic comedy dramas from 2016.

Thank you for reading!