Japanese high school romance movies  


In Japan, romance manga and anime may be more well-known compared to its live-action counterparts, but that doesn’t make it any less worthy of your time. The film industry has its fair share of lovey-dovey live-action, especially ones about Japanese high school romances. 

We’ve picked 11 Japanese high school romance movies that will bring back memories of your first love.   


1. Love Me, Love Me Not (2020)


Japanese high school romance movies - Love Me, Love Me Not
Image credit: IMDb 

Love Me, Love Me Not is a coming-of-age romance written by manga artist Io Sakisaka, and it was adapted into both an anime film and a live-action movie. Both films were released in theatres in the latter half of 2020. 

The film focuses on an emotional and touching love story between four good friends in high school. A complicated love square occurs between childhood friends Yuna Ichihara and Kazuomi Inui, as well as step-siblings Akari Yamamoto and Rio Yamamoto. 

Japanese high school romance movies - Love Me, Love Me Not
Image credit: IMDb

Yuna has an idealistic vision of love and she falls in love with the prince-like Rio. However, Rio loves Akari, and he naturally feels conflicted after she suddenly becomes his step-sister thanks to their parents’ remarriage. Akari and Kazuomi later develop feelings for each other but are afraid of taking their relationship further due to their own respective reasons. 

Through their encounters, conflicts, and heartbreaks, the four friends will each learn what it means to love and be loved.        

映画『思い、思われ、ふり、ふられ』予告【8月14日(金)公開】
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映画『思い、思われ、ふり、ふられ』予告【8月14日(金)公開】

Video credit: 東宝MOVIEチャンネル

Genre: Romance, Coming-of-age
Length: 2 hours 4 minutes


2. Strobe Edge (2015)


Japanese high school romance movies - Strobe Edge
Image credit: IMDb 

Strobe Edge, also written by Io Sakisaka, tells the tale of Ninako Kinoshita, a high school freshman who has never fallen in love and is new to romantic relationships. Her first love, however, turns out to be a difficult and tricky one because she had to fall for Ren Ichinose – the most attractive and popular student who is already attached and off-limits. 

Japanese high school romance movies - Strobe Edge
Image credit: IMDb

Although Ninako has decided to forget about her feelings for Ren, fate seems to have other plans for the two students as they are thrown into situations that force them to grow closer. Watch to find out how Ninako’s first love will play out after Ren’s best friend, Takumi Ando, is thrown into the mix to make the already complicated situation even messier.     

映画「ストロボ・エッジ」予告編 福士蒼汰が有村架純に“壁ドン” #Strobe Edge #movie
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映画「ストロボ・エッジ」予告編 福士蒼汰が有村架純に“壁ドン” #Strobe Edge #movie

Video credit: maidigitv

Genre: Romance, Coming-of-age, School life, Shoujo
Length: 1 hour 55 minutes
Available on: Netflix


3. My Brother’s Friend (2018)


Japanese high school romance movies - My Brother’s Friend
Image credit: IMDb 

My Brother’s Friend is a hilarious and cute story of how love blossoms between Sota Nishino and Mai Nanase. Mai is the younger sister of Sota’s good friend Yukihiro, and the two got to know each other after Sota visits Yukihiro’s home one day. 

Japanese high school romance movies - My Brother’s Friend
Image adapted from: MOMO Tube 

This romantic comedy will make you cringe so bad and laugh real hard at the awkward interactions between Sota and Mai as they figure out how to act like a couple. Sota and Mai will bring you through a series of “firsts” as they explore the world of relationships. 

Japanese high school romance movies - My Brother’s Friend
Image adapted from: MOMO Tube

Watching this film may evoke memories of your first love as you relate to the initial awkwardness and embarrassing moments between Sota and Mai. From their first date to their first kiss, it will be a cute journey indeed. 

Japanese high school romance movies - My Brother’s Friend
Image adapted from: MOMO Tube

Ryusei Yokohama, who recently acted as the male lead in the popular film Your Eyes Tell, stars asSota Nishino. If Your Eyes Tell sounds familiar, that’s because the movie is an adaptation of the 2011 South Korean film Always, and the theme song was sung by BTS.   

Trailer Ani Tomo
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Trailer Ani Tomo

Video credit: MOMO Tube

Genre: Romance, Comedy
Length: 1 hour 25 minutes
Available on: Netflix


4. Our Meal For Tomorrow (2017)


Japanese high school romance movies - Our Meal For Tomorrow
Image credit: IMDb 

Our Meal For Tomorrow follows the story of the introverted and oblivious Ryota Hayama, as well as the brave and bubbly Koharu Uemura. The two high school students get to know each other on a deeper, personal level after partnering up for their school’s sports event. 

Japanese high school romance movies - Our Meal For Tomorrow
Image adapted from: Asmik Ace

Interestingly enough, their love story revolves around rice – their first encounter involved rice, their dates involved eating rice, they broke up while eating rice, and their proposal was done over rice too. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to say that rice is a crucial element in their relationship and a symbol of their mutual love. 

Japanese high school romance movies - Our Meal For Tomorrow
Image credit: The Movie Database

Our Meal For Tomorrow is a heart-wrenching love story between the two polar opposites, and we get to see the ups and downs in their relationship as they go through high school, college, and eventually adulthood. But, as constant as rice is in their story, so will their love be for each other. 

映画『僕らのごはんは明日で待ってる』予告編
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映画『僕らのごはんは明日で待ってる』予告編

Video credit: Asmik Ace

Genre: Drama, Romance
Length: 1 hour 49 minutes
Available on: Netflix


5. High School Debut (2011)


Japanese high school romance movies - High School Debut
Image credit: IMDb 

High School Debut is about first year high school student Haruna Nagashima and how she intends to make the most of her high school life by “debuting” and getting attached. 

Japanese high school romance movies - High School Debut
Image adapted from: シネマトゥデイ

Her high school debut, however, proves to be an uphill battle because of Haruna’s utter lack of knowledge on how to act like a feminine girl. Later, Haruna’s lifesaver comes in the form of Yoh Komiyama, a popular second-year student from her school, who ends up teaching her how to attract boys and get a boyfriend. 

Japanese high school romance movies - High School Debut
Image adapted from: シネマトゥデイ

How will this love coaching turn out? Will Haruna make a successful high school debut? Love certainly isn’t easy, but it will be worth the fight when you meet the right one.     

映画『高校デビュー』本予告編
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映画『高校デビュー』本予告編

Video credit: シネマトゥデイ

Genre: Romantic comedy
Length: 1 hour 33 minutes
Available on: Netflix


6. Honey (2018)


Japanese high school romance movies - Honey
Image credit: @honey_movie2018 

Honey follows the story of the tender-hearted Nao Kogure, who is as timid as a mouse, and how her life got intertwined with the fierce-looking Taiga Onise, who is a respectful and righteous delinquent. 

During the last year of middle school, Nao had shown kindness to a sad and wounded Taiga. Nao’s simple gesture had greatly touched Taiga, causing him to fall for her despite them not knowing each other. This leads to a surprising confession from Taiga after Nao enrols into the same high school as him. 

Japanese high school romance movies - Honey
Image adapted from: MOMO Tube

Nao and Taiga become friends and slowly get to know each other for who they really are. Follow their story, see their growth as individuals, and watch how Taiga’s sweet gestures, kind understanding, and care towards Nao eventually touches her heart.    

Japanese high school romance movies - Honey
Image adapted from: MOMO Tube

Honey is not just your typical teen romance. Instead, it digs deep into topics such as teenage rebellion, the need for company, as well as the different types of love – sacrificial love, familial love, platonic love, romantic love, and unrequited love.  

Trailer Honey [ Japanese Movie ]
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Trailer Honey [ Japanese Movie ]

Video credit: MOMO Tube

Genre: Romance, School life, Youth
Length: 1 hour 45 minutes


7. Kyou Koi wo Hajimemasu (2012)


Japanese high school romance movies - Kyou Koi wo Hajimemasu
Image credit: Amazon 

Kyou Koi wo Hajimemasu follows two high school students who are both named Tsubaki. Tsubaki Hibino is a self-conscious girl with an incredible talent for hair-styling but zero experience in love. On the other hand, Kyouta Tsubaki is a brave and smart heart-throb in school, but he has a fear of commitment and abandonment after getting hurt in the past. 

Japanese high school romance movies - Kyou Koi wo Hajimemasu
Image adapted from: シネマトゥデイ 

An incident in school causes Tsubaki to attract the attention of Kyouta, and somehow that leads to them dating. But Kyouta’s commitment issues prove to be a great obstacle to their budding love and it will take Tsubaki’s enduring love and her strong resolve to mend Kyouta’s wounded heart.   

Japanese high school romance movies - Kyou Koi wo Hajimemasu
Image adapted from: シネマトゥデイ 

Kyou Koi wo Hajimemasu will show the audience how love can change someone for the better, help one move on from a bad experience, and also stand strong against the test of time. 

映画『今日、恋をはじめます』予告編
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映画『今日、恋をはじめます』予告編

Video credit: シネマトゥデイ

Genre: Slice of life, Coming-of-age, Romance
Length: 2 hours


8. Closest Love To Heaven (2017)


Japanese high school romance movies - Closest Love To Heaven
Image credit: IMDb 

Closest Love To Heaven, literally translated as Today’s Kira-kun, is based on the shoujo manga of the same name. It follows the story of Ninon Okamura and Yuiji Kira, who are neighbours and initially just mere classmates who didn’t interact much with each other. 

Yuiji is diagnosed with a heart problem and is believed to not have much time left to live. This causes him to spend his days frivolously. But deep down, he yearns to lead a long and purposeful life. Ninon later befriends Yuiji and serves as his motivation to create precious memories. Because of her, he starts to believe that there will be a cure that will allow him to prolong his life. 

Japanese high school romance movies - Closest Love To Heaven
Image adapted from: シネマトゥデイ

This is a story of hope and a love that will always stand by your side no matter how uncertain the future may be. Sometimes, love will give you a reason to fight against your illness and continue living, and this will become the first step to finding a cure.  

The film Closest Love To Heaven loosely follows the events from the manga and has made quite a few changes to the plot to accommodate the length of the movie, so do take note of that if you’re a manga purist who can’t stand canon divergence.

映画『きょうのキラ君』予告編
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映画『きょうのキラ君』予告編

Video credit: シネマトゥデイ

Genre: Romance, School life
Length: 1 hour 49 minutes
Available on: Netflix


9. The Graduates (2007)


Japanese high school romance movies - The Graduates
Image credit: IMDb 

The Graduates tells the story of five third-year high school students and how they each spend their time before graduation in order to not have any regrets. The five students are all very different in terms of their personalities, academic prowess, interests, and aspirations.

Japanese high school romance movies - The Graduates
Image adapted from:  J0film 

The movie depicts two different kinds of love stories. The first is a love triangle between the intelligent and goal-oriented Kayoko Akimoto, Takumi Nishi, and Tomizo Sasaki. The latter two are baseball players. 

Meanwhile, a love story starts to unfold between two students – the introverted Kei Shirata and the rocker Kazuya Tsujimoto – who share the same love for music. 

Japanese high school romance movies - The Graduates
Image adapted from: J0film 

With graduation looming near, how will these five students make the most of their last year in high school and end it with a bang? But most importantly, how will their relationships with one another play out, especially since they will all be splitting paths soon? 

「檸檬のころ」 The Graduates (2007) Trailer 予告編
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「檸檬のころ」 The Graduates (2007) Trailer 予告編

Video credit: J0film

Genre: Romance, Drama, Coming-of-age, School life
Length: 1 hour 55 minutes


10. From Me To You (2010)


Japanese high school romance movies - From Me To You
Image credit: IMDb 

From Me To You is a sweet story of how love blossomed for Sawako Kuronuma and Shota Kazehaya. Sawako is a kind-hearted and soft-spoken girl who is easily misunderstood by her peers. Kazehaya is a bright and highly attractive guy who loves sports and is gifted in that area. 

Japanese high school romance movies - From Me To You
Image adapted from: shion 25

Their story starts with a fateful encounter on the first day of high school, when Sawako extends a helping hand to Kazehaya and directs him to the school when he was lost. From that day on, the seeds of love were planted. 

Although the other students stay away from Sawako, Kazehaya treats her like a normal person and enjoys interacting with her. He is the reason for Sawako’s eventual growth as an individual, as he encourages her to find her own voice and speak out her true feelings. 

Japanese high school romance movies - From Me To You
Image adapted from: shion 25

However, their love story isn’t just rainbows and unicorns – they face obstacles in the form of misunderstandings, love rivals, and the lack of courage. Watch to see how Kazehaya and Sawako overcome all odds to finally face their feelings head-on. 

It is a beautiful coming-of-age story that shows us the power of love and the bonds of friendship that come from a place of sincerity.   

Japanese high school romance movies - From Me To You
Image adapted from: shion 25

From Me To You is one of the many notable works starring the late Haruma Miura. It also has an anime adaptation that was produced by Production I.G, and it ran from 2009 to 2011 for two seasons. 

映画『君に届け』予告 出演:多部未華子/三浦春馬
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映画『君に届け』予告 出演:多部未華子/三浦春馬

Video credit: マイシアターD.D. 公式チャンネル

Genre: School life, Romance, Slice of life, Drama, Coming-of-age
Length: 2 hours 8 minutes
Available on: Netflix


11. Haruta & Chika (2017)


Japanese high school romance movies - Haruta & Chika
Image credit: IMDb 

Haruta & Chika, or Haruchika for short, follows childhood friends Chika Homura and Haruta Kamijo. They had been next-door neighbours and playmates until Haruta’s family moved away. But as fate would have it, they are reunited in high school, where Chika wishes to bring back the school’s Wind Instrument Club because of its importance to her. 

Japanese high school romance movies - Haruta & Chika
Image credit: IMDb

Haruta is roped in to help Chika in her endeavour to recruit seven other members so that the club could be officially recognised. However, it won’t be an easy task to complete. 

Japanese high school romance movies - Haruta & Chika
Image adapted from: KADOKAWA映画

Later, the pressure of bringing back the club and Chika’s lack of experience in playing the flute causes her to break down. But Haruta remains by Chika’s side through it all, encouraging and cheering her on whenever she feels the weight of the club on her shoulders. 

Japanese high school romance movies - Haruta & Chika
Image adapted from: KADOKAWA映画

It is a simple and touching story where we see how Haruta cares for Chika, helps her out in every way, and stands by her through thick and thin. Watch this if you want to bust some uwus.

You can watch the trailer here.

Genre: Drama, Music, Romance, Mystery
Length: 1 hour 58 minutes


Japanese high school romance movies to binge-watch


Romance movies always have a way to warm our hearts with the interactions between the leads. Check out the Japanese high school romance movies listed here and figuratively feel like you’re 17 again.

Click here for more Japanese shows we recommend:


Cover image adapted from: The Movie Database, シネマトゥデイ, MOMO Tube, IMDb

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