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Where to Watch Japanese Dramas Online

Watching Japanese television shows is a great way to study the language and culture.

Today, we’ll be showing you how and where you can watch some Japanese drama shows online, complete with English subtitles.


4 Sources to Watch Japanese Dramas Online

1. Crunchyroll


Even though it has a name that evokes images of a sweet, delicious snack, Crunchyroll is unfortunately, not a type of food.

However, it’s definitely a treat for all Japanese language learners who have a craving for quality dramas. The main focus of this source is anime, but it also offers users a decent number of live action dramas and a couple of Japanese movies. Crunchyroll even has a few anime of their own production.

You can access Crunchyroll from any device with an internet connection by downloading the app, or by reaching it through a web browser.


  • Crunchyroll is very easy to use due to its simple interface, which means you can start enjoying your favorite show in just a couple of clicks or taps. It’s also free to use, but if you opt for the premium option, you’ll gain access to some neat extra features and a larger library of shows.
  • The subtitles are very good and they tend to resemble the original structure as much as possible. Also, there are plenty of dramas available and basically each one brings something new to the table, from different levels of sentence complexity, to special expressions or dialects.


  • One inconvenience that can break your focus is the ever-present ads in the free version. If you want them gone from Crunchyroll, you’ll have to purchase the premium account package and enjoy ad-free dramas.
  • Even though this service offers a decent number of dramas to users with a free account, a few are locked behind a subscription paywall. If you enjoy using Crunchy, consider the Premium subscription.

2. Viki


Viki is just about the top choice for most Asian drama enthusiasts. The main focus is on Korean dramas and variety shows, but they also offer a large library of Japanese dramas, as well as other popular shows from the rest of Asia, including China, Taiwan and the Philippines.

Viki can be accessed through a web browser or by downloading an app for your device.


  • The sheer number of Japanese dramas on this source is really surprising, especially since their main focus is Korean shows. You can also find a movie or two in there and even some anime. On Viki, you also get to watch a few dramas that are usually quite hard to find online legally.
  • The quality of videos is pretty high, which makes understanding the language a bit easier due to the good sound quality.


  • Guess what? This one has ads as well. If you want them gone, you better pay up and get a Viki Pass.
  • I’ve noticed a few technical glitches, like videos that just don’t want to start playing at times. (If you come back after a while, though, the videos often play normally.) Also, for some reason, it might ask you to confirm your birth date from time to time which can be a tad annoying.

3. Amazon Prime Video

Amazon Prime gets you some sweet shipping deals, but more importantly, you also gain access to a fair amount of Japanese drama, some of which are even free to watch.

And if you pair it with Hulu or Netflix, you’ll get to enjoy Japanese drama in ridiculous amounts. (Just don’t forget to sleep and go outside to absorb some vitamin D.)


  • As mentioned above, Prime offers a lot of Japanese drama for viewing, and practically all of them have really good subtitles. You can access it through a web browser on any device, since it supports smartphones as well.
  • Certain shows are Prime exclusives and can only be found on the service, so check out what it offers before you go to other sources.


  • Obviously, the greatest downside is the fact that Prime costs money and there’s no free account option.
  • Another inconvenience is the unavailability of some videos. Sometimes they just aren’t available and that’s that.

4. AsianCrush


AsianCrush is somewhat similar to Viki, although they offer different shows in their libraries and AsianCrush doesn’t have an app. You can watch dramas from all over Asia here, including a decent number of Japanese dramas and movies. You don’t even need to create an account to start watching what you desire.


  • This source doesn’t shy away from controversial shows. In its library you can find shows that touch on the subjects of sexuality, family relations, corruption and discrimination. This is important for us learners because it provides us with a certain cultural perception we usually don’t have as foreigners.
  • AsianCrush is free to use and can be accessed from most of the world.


  • To be honest, the following downside can be interpreted as a benefit as well but for now, it stands here in the cons section: Some dramas are raw. This means they have no subtitles. However, watching dramas like this can also turn out to be quite beneficial.

Bonus Sources to Watch Japanese Dramas

Let’s not forget these few sources that also have something to offer to Japanese language learners:



Viu is available in over 30 countries, including Thailand, Malaysia, Iraq, India, South Africa and other Asian, Middle Eastern and African locations. It’s a great source for drama watching if you live in the countries it covers. Enjoy your favorite shows with subtitles in your native language!



FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

You can try FluentU for free for 2 weeks. Check out the website or download the iOS app or Android app.

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Another source that offers streaming services for people outside of the US and Europe, Iflix is currently streaming in Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Brunei, the Maldives, Pakistan, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Nepal and Bangladesh.

Iflix gives you the option to watch streaming shows or download episodes to watch later. And if you get tired of Japanese dramas, there are plenty of other options on this pick.



For a small fee, you can enjoy watching the best and the latest HBO movies and TV shows wherever you are. A few Japanese movies and shows—like the Japanese version of “Sherlock Holmes,” featuring a female Sherlock—will satisfy your hunger for Japanese drama.


As you can see for yourself, all of these sources are great for improving your Japanese pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary.

Instead of picking the best among them, we suggest you try a few out to get your fix and watch Japanese dramas online.

And One More Thing...

If you love learning Japanese with authentic materials, then I should also tell you more about FluentU.

FluentU naturally and gradually eases you into learning Japanese language and culture. You'll learn real Japanese as it's spoken in real life.

FluentU has a broad range of contemporary videos as you'll see below:


FluentU makes these native Japanese videos approachable through interactive transcripts. Tap on any word to look it up instantly.


All definitions have multiple examples, and they're written for Japanese learners like you. Tap to add words you'd like to review to a vocab list.


And FluentU has a learn mode which turns every video into a language learning lesson. You can always swipe left or right to see more examples.


The best part? FluentU keeps track of your vocabulary, and gives you extra practice with difficult words. It'll even remind you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You'll have a 100% personalized experience.

Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

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