5 Best Japanese Horror Dramas

Trick or Treat: the best Japanese dramas to spend a terrifying Halloween at home.

5 Best Japanese Horror Dramas

Previously in another article I talked about Japanese horror cinema, which has become known worldwide in recent years, especially since The Ring and Ju-On. Even those with no special interest in Japan know of some of its scariest movies.

Horror stories have been told in Japan since Edo and Meiji periods, with numerous terrifying folk tales and ghost stories. Already then the word Yokai existed to refer to spirits and monsters from another world (like ogres or demons). And before the movies appeared, there were already horror stories in Kabuki and Noh plays (forms of traditional Japanese theater). So with that long tradition, it’s no wonder that there are so many Japanese horror movies out there that are true gems for horror lovers. There are also several anime that touch this genre. However, contrary to what you might think, there are not many Japanese horror dramas for the moment.

But the fact that there are not many series does not mean that the ones that exist aren’t good. This year with the covid-19 many Halloween parties have been canceled, and it’s probably not a good idea to go from house to house with strangers to collect treats. But a good alternative may be to spend Halloween night at home watching scary movies and series. If this is what you are thinking, and you are looking for recommendations on which movies or series to watch, here are 5 best Japanese horror dramas to spend a spooky Halloween, including mystery and psychological thriller series!

*Please note that this article contains affiliate links.

1. JU-ON: Origins

JU-ON: Origins
Photo: JU-ON: Origins on Netflix

I talked about Ju-On in the article about the best Japanese horror movies, since it’s an essential saga and a classic among fans of Japanese horror. This year Netflix Japan has made an original series based on this saga of films and it and has had a good acceptance, quickly becoming one of the most watched series in recent months.

The Netflix series is a bit far from the original films, but they have one factor in common: the haunted house and the curse. Years ago there was a brutal and horrible murder in the house. The spirit of a woman seeking vengeance remains in the house and coursing every person that enter the house.

2. Crow’s Blood

Crow’s Blood
Photo: Crow’s Blood on Hulu

It has been 20 years since the first Dolly clone sheep was born and science has evolved, reaching the point of being able to regenerate human organs. This is a breakthrough for humanity and offers many possibilities, but it also comes at a price. Death is part of life, but when we lose someone we love and are not ready to say goodbye, can we regenerate their bodies and bring them back to life? Are humans trying to play God and recreate life or be immortal?

A mysterious new student named Maki Togawa arrives at International Dolly Girls College. Shortly after her arrival, strange and horrible things begin to happen, which seem to be related to Maki. Kaoru Isozaki, another college student, discovers that Maki was killed in a hit and run but her father, Dr. Akihito Seto revived her with an experimental regenerative procedure developed by an American scientist. But Dr. Seto was unaware of the side effects and ended up turning Maki into patient zero of a new contagious virus that is easily transmitted through kissing. At first this virus seems positive, since it allows women to regenerate as many times as necessary, but it has a horrible side effect.

3. Re:Mind

Photo: Re:Mind on Netflix

Eleven classmates from high school wake up to find themselves sitting at a long table in a large dining room in an old European-style room, their feet chained to the floor so they can’t run. They discover that what is happening to them could be related to the disappearance months before of another classmate, named Miho. They start to think about how to get away from there, but then the girls start to disappear one by one. While they fear for their lives and suspect that one of them might be behind what is happening, they also realize that they share a checkered past with Miho.

4. Death Note

Death Note
Photo: Death Note on Hulu

Death Note is a famous manga that after its success was adapted to anime and then to live action. Although it is a short manga if we compare it with other successful series such as Naruto or One Piece, its popularity hasn’t been extinguished, which has made it have various adaptations, both in movies and in dramas. Netflix made its own adaptation with foreign actors, but the film wasn’t very well received by fans who didn’t like at all. However, the Japanese adaptations were well received by fans.

Light Yagami is one of the best students in all of Japan, but he thinks that this life is boring and the world a rotten place full of bad people. One day he finds an abandoned notebook whose cover is written “Death Note”. According to the instructions on the back of the notebook cover, if you write the first and last name of a person whose face you know, that person will die of a heart attack. At first Light doesn’t believe it to be true, but almost out of boredom he decides to try it one day and discover that it’s real. It’s then that Light decides to become the God of the new world who plans to build and kill all the “rotten” people. Later he meets Ryuk, a shinigami (Japanese god of death) who dropped his Death Note to the Earth because he was bored. As Light begins to kill more people the police start to worry, and Light catches the attention of a famous detective who calls himself “L”. Will L manage to stop Light, or will Light end up killing L? The battle between two geniuses from Japan has begun.

You can currently find the series on Hulu.


Photo: Death Cash on Hulu

Yuka Minami looks like a normal college student but she has a special ability: she can see other people’s deaths. One day Yuka’s friend dies suddenly and something strange surrounds her death. There are 10,000 yen bills lying around her friend’s lifeless body and the bills have black spots. Since then, more people around Yuka die mysteriously. Yuka will join Detective Takeshi Wakamoto to try to solve who is behind these mysterious deaths.

You can find some of these titles in Hulu Japan. Try the free trial month of Hulu and discover this movies and many more!

I hope you enjoyed my terrifying list! 👻 🎃 If you are looking for more recommendations, like movies or anime, check these articles too.

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Written by

From Barcelona to Tokyo. Coffee & Adventure lover🌏☕️ 

I started to like Japan because of the anime, music and doramas, but after my first trip to the country I found what I love the most: traveling around, the culture and history. I have travelled a lot in Japan, but I still have many places to discover that I want to share with you🙋🏼‍♀️ Let’s discover Japan together!


Also, as a foreigner living in Japan for over 6 years I understand what kind of things are difficult when you move here and I want to help other people in the same situation that I have in the past.