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Top 5 streaming services in Japan - Bored of Netflix movies? Amazon Prime, Disney+, U-NEXT, dTV and more!

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So you've picked out your favorites from Netflix, watched them all, and are now so desperate for something to binge on that you've almost finished season 1 of Bling Empire.

Before you regret wasting any more of your time on painfully bad TV, why don't you take a look at some of the other services available here in Japan?

Check out my top 5 below, which also includes some Japanese streaming services for those of you looking to get more into Japanese TV and film or to just fine tune those Japanese skills!

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U-NEXT



Free trial: YES - 31 days! Start your free trial here!

Monthly subscription: 2,189 yen (including VAT)

Key points:

Super new releases (you essentially pay to view these with points allocated every month)

A wide range of e-books, including novels and manga, in addition to movies and TV shows

Create up to 4 accounts with a single subscription

Overview:
Bit on the pricey side as streaming services go, but definitely worth checking out the free trial to see what they have to offer. You effectively get points worth 1,200 yen every month to pay for new release "rentals", which covers a chunk of the subscription fee.

Personally, I like the selection of brand new movies available, and as a Walking Dead fan (am I the only person still watching?) enjoyed that the most recent season was available here before any other streaming service in Japan (including Netflix)!

Additionally, there is a lot of Korean drama and Japanese idol stuff, for those of you who are into that sort of thing!

Amazon Prime

Free trial: YES - 30 days!

Monthly subscription: 500 yen (including VAT) - if you pay annually this comes down to 408 yen a month.

Key points: 

A competitive abundance of titles despite its low price

A number of popular original works.

Free shipping, unlimited music and other Amazon Prime benefits included in plan.

Overview: 

I swear every film I have watched on Netflix can be found on Prime. I don't find the app particularly user-friendly but this seems to be improving little by little.

Prime has the slight annoyance that you get a commercial prior to a title starting (although this is easily skipped), but if you are already an Amazon member then this is definitely the streaming service for you! Any titles that are not available will almost certainly be available to rent on the same platform for a small fee of 100 to 300 yen.

I know I am extremely late to the party, but I am also currently enjoying the fact that every episode of Game of Thrones is available to watch!

dTV

Free trial: YES - 31 days!

Monthly subscription: 550 yen (including VAT)

Key points: 

Over 120,000 titles, consisting of movies, dramas, anime, music videos, karaoke, and more!

Becomes even cheaper if you also subscribe to the dTV channel or DAZN (live sports streaming service)

You can use d points to pay for the service.

Overview: 

dTV is run by NTT Docomo, however you can use this service regardless of your network provider. The fact that you can pay with d points may appeal more to Docomo users, though. (what else were you using them for??)

dTV is one of the most popular streaming services in Japan, and includes a lot of domestic titles you are unlikely to find on the likes of Netflix. A very reasonably priced route into a bunch of original Japanese TV.

Website: dTV

Disney +

Free trial: YES - 31 days!

Monthly subscription: 770 yen (including VAT)

Key points: 

All of the Disney, Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel and National Geographic you could ever wish for!

The latest original Disney films and shows not available anywhere else.

☆ Free access to Disney DX for other exclusive digital content.

Overview: 

Once you get past the rather awkward sign-up process (you have to create a Docomo account, in order to then create a Disney account), there is a somewhat limited, but very much high-quality line-up of titles.

If you are not particularly keen on Disney, Pixar or Star Wars, then this service is probably not for you, but it is surely a god-send for anyone looking to entertain their kids!

I thoroughly enjoyed Soul and the Mandalorian series on Disney+, and would recommend signing up even if it is just to check these out!

Website: Disney+

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Paravi

Free trial: YES - 2 weeks!

Monthly subscription: 1017 yen (including VAT)

Key points: 

Jam-packed with popular dramas and variety shows from TBS, TV Tokyo and WOWOW!

Has one of the largest library of domestic titles in Japan.

☆ Anything from the latest dramas to popular films and shows.

Overview: 

You will find a bunch of foreign titles, including Korean dramas, however it does not differ from other services hugely in this respect.

Paravi's biggest selling point is its impressive variety of Japanese shows. I personally stumbled upon this service when, after looking everywhere and almost giving up, finally stumbled upon the popular Japanese drama Hanzawa Naoki which is available in full on Paravi!

Domestic favorites such as Yū wa Nani Shi ni Nippon e? (Why did you come to Japan?) and Matsuko no Shiranai Sekai are also available here!

Website: Paravi

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