The Most Popular Game in Japan: Ranking the Nation's Gaming Phenomenon

Choose the game you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Jun 16, 2023 10:18 (Updated on Dec 5, 2023 08:02)
Welcome to StrawPoll, where your opinion truly matters! Today, we're on a quest to uncover the most popular game in the Land of the Rising Sun – Japan. With thousands of video games originating from this gaming paradise, we need your help to rank the absolute best. Will it be the thrilling adventures of Pokémon, the intense battles of Street Fighter, or the strategic world of Final Fantasy? The power to decide is in your hands! Cast your vote now, or suggest a hidden gem that we may have missed. Be a part of this exciting journey and let's discover together which game reigns supreme in the hearts of gamers across Japan. So, what are you waiting for? Dive into our interactive ranking and make your voice heard!

What Is the Most Popular Game in Japan?

  1. 1
    This franchise has been a cultural phenomenon in Japan since its release in 1996. It is a video game, anime, manga, and merchandise franchise that has captured the hearts of millions of Japanese people of all ages.
    Pokémon is a popular anime series that follows the adventures of a young trainer named Ash Ketchum and his loyal Pokémon companion, Pikachu. The series is set in a world where humans catch and train creatures called Pokémon to battle each other. Ash aspires to become a Pokémon Master by capturing and training different Pokémon species, battling Gym Leaders, and competing in various Pokémon leagues and tournaments. The series is known for its captivating storylines, memorable characters, and the underlying theme of friendship and determination.
    • Genre: Adventure, fantasy, action
    • First aired: April 1, 1997
    • Original network: TV Tokyo
    • Number of seasons: 23
    • Number of episodes: 1,135 (as of September 2021)
  2. 2
    This action role-playing video game series has been extremely popular in Japan since its release in 2004. It has a large fanbase and has helped boost sales of the Nintendo Switch in Japan.
    Monster Hunter is a massively popular action role-playing game franchise, developed and published by Capcom. It immerses players into a fantasy world where they take on the role of hunters and engage in epic battles against various gigantic monsters. The main objective of the game is to track, hunt, and slay or capture these monsters, obtaining valuable materials to create powerful weapons and armor along the way. The series is known for its cooperative multiplayer gameplay and challenging quests that require strategic thinking, teamwork, and skill. The Monster Hunter franchise has become a cultural phenomenon in Japan and has gained significant international recognition.
    • Genre: Action role-playing game
    • Platform: Various (Nintendo, PlayStation, Xbox, PC)
    • First Release: March 11, 2004
    • Main Series Titles: 16
    • Sales: Over 70 million copies
    Monster Hunter in other rankings
  3. 3

    Dragon Quest

    Yuji Horii
    This role-playing video game series has been popular in Japan since its first release in 1986. It is known for its distinctive art style, music, and gameplay.
    Dragon Quest is a highly popular Japanese role-playing video game series. It is known for its captivating storylines, turn-based battles, and charming characters, capturing the hearts of millions of players. The series takes place in a fantasy world where players embark on epic quests to defeat evil forces and save the realm.
    • Genre: Role-playing
    • Platform: Various consoles and handhelds
    • First Release: May 27, 1986
    • Latest Release: December 4, 2020
    • Number of Main Games: 11
    Dragon Quest in other rankings
  4. 4

    Final Fantasy

    Hironobu Sakaguchi
    This role-playing video game series has been popular in Japan since its first release in 1987. It is known for its immersive storylines, memorable characters, and stunning visuals.
    Final Fantasy is a popular video game franchise developed and published by Square Enix. Created by Hironobu Sakaguchi in 1987, it has become one of the most iconic and influential role-playing game series in the world. The game features a mix of fantasy and science fiction elements, with each installment introducing a unique world and narrative.
    • Main Characters: Characters like Cloud Strife, Tidus, and Lightning are widely recognized and cosplayed.
    • Distinct Aesthetics: Each game in the series has its own distinct art style and character designs, providing a diverse range of cosplaying options.
    • Extensive Lore: The franchise boasts a rich and extensive lore, with detailed backstories and world-building that fans enjoy exploring through cosplay.
    • Weapon Replicas: Cosplayers often recreate the iconic weapons seen in Final Fantasy, such as Cloud's Buster Sword or Squall's Gunblade.
    • Elaborate Costumes: Final Fantasy characters are known for their intricate and detailed costumes, making them a favorite choice for skilled cosplayers.
    Final Fantasy in other rankings
  5. 5

    Super Mario

    Shigeru Miyamoto
    This video game franchise has been popular in Japan since its first release in 1985. It is known for its colorful graphics, catchy music, and fun gameplay.
    Super Mario is a beloved Japanese video game franchise that features the adventures of Mario, a plumber-turned-hero, as he embarks on various quests to rescue Princess Peach from the villainous Bowser. The games primarily revolve around platforming, where players navigate Mario through different levels, avoiding obstacles, defeating enemies, and collecting power-ups.
    • First Release Date: September 13, 1985
    • Genre: Platformer
    • Number of Games: Over 200 titles
    • Main Protagonist: Mario
    • Main Antagonist: Bowser
  6. 6

    Yokai Watch

    This video game franchise has been popular in Japan since its first release in 2013. It is similar to Pokémon but with a focus on Japanese yokai spirits.
    Yokai Watch is a popular game in Japan that revolves around a young boy named Keita Amano who discovers a mysterious watch that allows him to see and communicate with yokai, supernatural creatures from Japanese folklore. With the watch, Keita must solve yokai-related problems and help them with their requests. The game combines elements of role-playing, adventure, and puzzle-solving.
    • Platform: Nintendo 3DS
    • Genre: Role-playing, Adventure
    • Release Date: July 11, 2013
    • Number of Games: Over 20
    • Main Characters: Keita Amano (Nathan Adams), Whisper, Jibanyan, Komasan, USApyon, etc.
  7. 7

    Fire Emblem

    Shouzou Kaga
    This tactical role-playing video game series has been popular in Japan since its first release in 1990. It is known for its strategic gameplay, memorable characters, and romantic storylines.
    Fire Emblem is a tactical role-playing game (RPG) series that originated in Japan. It focuses on strategic battles between turn-based units on a grid-based battlefield. Each game in the series features a unique story and characters, often set in a medieval fantasy world. Fire Emblem games are known for their challenging gameplay, deep character development, and permadeath feature, where fallen units are permanently lost. The series has gained a dedicated following and has become one of the most popular video game franchises in Japan and worldwide.
    • Genre: Tactical role-playing game
    • Platform: Nintendo consoles (primarily)
    • First Release: April 20, 1990
    • Total Games: Over 16 mainline titles (as of 2021)
    • Main series: Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light
    Fire Emblem in other rankings
  8. 8
    This life simulation video game series has been popular in Japan since its first release in 2001. It is known for its relaxing gameplay, charming characters, and customization options.
    Animal Crossing is a popular life simulation video game series developed and published by Nintendo. The game revolves around the player character, who becomes a resident in a village filled with anthropomorphic animals. The main objective is to live a peaceful virtual life, engaging in various activities such as fishing, bug catching, fossil hunting, gardening, and interacting with the villagers. The game has a real-time clock and calendar, with different events and activities occurring in sync with real-world time.
    • Platform: Nintendo Switch
    • Release Date: April 14, 2020
    • Genre: Life Simulation
    • Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
    • Art Style: Cute and vibrant
    Animal Crossing in other rankings
  9. 9
    This third-person shooter video game series has been popular in Japan since its first release in 2015. It is known for its colorful graphics, catchy music, and unique gameplay mechanics.
    Splatoon is an action-packed online multiplayer game developed and published by Nintendo. It was first released for the Wii U console in 2015 and quickly gained popularity in Japan and worldwide. In Splatoon, players control characters known as Inklings, who can transform between human-like forms and squids.
    • Genre: Third-person shooter
    • Platform: Wii U, Nintendo Switch
    • Game Modes: Online multiplayer, single-player campaign
    • Ink Color: Inklings can cover the environment with colored ink, each with its own team color (orange, blue, green, pink, etc.)
    • Team-based battles: Two teams compete to cover the most territory with their ink within the time limit
  10. 10
    Street Fighter
    空練 · CC BY-SA 3.0
    This fighting video game franchise has been popular in Japan since its first release in 1987. It is known for its iconic characters, intense gameplay, and competitive scene.
    Street Fighter is a legendary fighting video game that has achieved immense popularity in Japan and around the world. It revolutionized the genre with its fast-paced gameplay and iconic characters.
    • Release Date: August 30, 1987
    • Genre: Fighting
    • Platforms: Arcade, various home consoles, PC
    • Number of Playable Characters: 10
    • Player Mode: Single-player, multiplayer

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Ranking factors for popular game

  1. Number of players
    The number of people actively playing the game can be a strong indicator of popularity. This can include both online and offline players.
  2. Game sales
    Look at the number of copies the game has sold, including physical copies, digital downloads, and in-app purchases. This can give a good sense of how popular the game is among consumers.
  3. Online presence
    Analyze the online presence of the game, including social media followers and engagement, as well as discussion on forums and other online platforms. High online presence can indicate a strong interest in the game among the wider community.
  4. Professional eSports scene
    If the game has a thriving professional eSports scene in Japan, with regular tournaments, competitions, and events, then it is likely to be a popular game.
  5. Mainstream media coverage
    Observe the extent of the game's coverage in mainstream media, such as television, print, and radio. Popularity in mainstream media can often reflect the game's overall popularity in the country.
  6. Word of mouth
    Pay attention to recommendations and conversations about the game among friends and family, as well as online reviews. Strong word of mouth can indicate a high level of interest in the game.
  7. Awards and recognition
    Games that have received awards and recognition, such as "Game of the Year" titles, are often highly popular and widely respected.
  8. Longevity
    The longer a game remains popular and played, the more likely it is to be considered a top game in the country.
  9. Access and availability
    Games that are easy to access, either by being free or inexpensive, and widely available across a range of platforms and devices, may have higher popularity levels as they can be played by a wide range of people.
  10. Cultural and historical relevance
    Consider any game connections to Japanese culture or history. Games with strong cultural ties may resonate more with the Japanese audience and contribute to their popularity.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular game in Japan. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or game is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 176 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each game once every 24 hours. The rank of each game is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most popular game in japan

Japan is a country that is well-known for its love for gaming. With a thriving gaming industry and a population that is highly engaged in gaming, it is no surprise that Japan is home to some of the most popular games in the world. From classic arcade games to cutting-edge console and mobile games, there is no shortage of options for Japanese gamers. But what is the most popular game in Japan? In this article, we will explore the top games that are ruling the hearts and minds of Japanese gamers.

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