Top 10 Best Japanese Visual Novels to Help You Explore New Worlds and Adventures!

The mundane rituals of ever day life can become tedious, if not stagnant. That's why we always seek out different forms of entertainment to allow us to escape and live out entirely new fantastical versions of ourselves. Visual novels are some of the best versions of entertainment that provide not only beautiful story-telling, but eye-catching art as well. 

We've reviewed the best Japanese Language booksCookbooks and History Books. Now we invite you to explore these best Japanese visual novels as they will truly take you to worlds you could not even imagine!


1. Code: Realize Guardian of Rebirth

This interactive love story brings a whole new meaning to the well-known historical figures you already know and love!

Enter Code: Realize Guardian of Rebirth to venture on a 19th century Victorian journey with five different dashing bachelors all vying for your heart. These men, each taking various approaches to capture your attention, include favorites such as Victor Frankenstein, Arsene Lupin, Abraham Van Helsing, Impey Barbican, and Count Saint-Germain. This realm, embellished by Gothic-Victorian inspired scenery and costumes, will sweep you off your feet in the fairy tale romance you've always wanted! Each choice you make throughout the visual novel will determine your happy ending, each one unlocking secrets of the past and countless aspects of the story. Your decisions also effect your relationship with each of the five men, in turn uncovering their hidden backstories and furthering their love for you. Dare to travel in this whimsical steampunk world of Code: Realize Guardian Rebirth to solve mysteries and fall in love with unlikely heroes!

2. Steins; Gate

The anime Steins;Gate swept the world with its intricate narrative and compelling characters. Now's your chance to dive into the the story and choose the fate of the fictional universe from the tip of your fingertips!

Enter a time-travel based plot that twists and turns at every corner, leaving you unable to predict how your decisions will ultimately play out. The art is absolutely captivating, the story complex, and the voice-acting utterly convincing! Through the use of sending text messages, teenager scientists have created a modified microwave to alter the past. As they continue to experiment on their time-traveling texts, they find themselves involved in a tangled conspiracy involving SERN, a company that failed to recreate time travel, and a man who claimed to have come from a nightmarish dystopian future. Can you choose the correct paths to avoid detrimental consequences? We really love Steins;Gate as it challenges you mentally and emotionally, all while providing beautiful visuals and enticing characters. 

3. Rewrite

Sometimes it's nice to take a break from the high fantasy and plot intensive visual novels and instead immerse ourselves in a more slice of life story!

Rewrite sets the stage in a fictional city overrun with nature, all while still holding specific urban elements we're already familiar with. In this city of Kazamatsuri, you play through a story that on the surface appears simplistic and almost nostalgic. As you continue through the visual novel; however, you discover a much more in depth plot with a pinch of mystery. Praised for well-written character routes, this slice of life with an added science fiction element is sure to keep you both captivated and intent on finishing the overarching plot. The player starts out as second year high school student Koutarou Tennouji who faces very realistic and ordinary struggles such as problems with his club. The struggles that Tennouji face eventually evolve to a much larger scale that trivialize the everyday high school dilemmas. With six personable heroines to interact with, Rewrite has a lot to offer in terms of your clear-cut slice of life decisions to your fate of the human race type of consequences. 

4. Song of Saya

What's great about visual novels is that they can take us beyond our personal problems and take us into a realm that challenges us in ways we could never previously have imagined.

Song of Saya is a prime example of a visual novel that allows us to really explore these types of profound concepts. Such concepts include loneliness, insanity, and even all of the complexities of love. The player enters the life of medical student Sakisaka Fuminori after he has undergone experimental brain surgery following the events of a traumatic accident.  Even though Fuminori survives the ordeal, he is left with a warped reality that views the entirety of the world as some sort of hellish wasteland. From out of the darkness comes Saya, a girl who radiates a beauty that is no where else to find in the protagonists new reality. Together the player must join forces with Saya and maneuver, as well as survive, the natural horrors of the new world and escape from its nightmarish grasp. Lovers of horror and psychological thrillers alike will definitely be enticed by this ground-breaking visual novel. Song of Saya is fraught with themes that involve the mind and disturbing realities, both of which highlight the intense nature of the game. This is one captivating visual novel that you won't put down once you start!

5. Root Letter

Anyone order a slice of life with a twist? Well then, we've got the perfect game for you!

Enter Root Letter and explore a realistically rendered rural town in Japan, complete with blooming cherry-blossoms, stunning temples, and other life-life visuals. Beautiful scenery and nostalgic undertones are not the only things waiting for you in this visual novel. Discover a murder mystery spanning over fifteen years ridden with enigmatic clues and a questionable pen-pal. Each choice leads to one of the five variable endings, all completely different in their story, leaving  lots of room for replaying. Root Letter also provides ample interaction with all sorts of characters, allowing you to really put the pieces together and connect the dots. Can you solve the murder in this beautifully illustrated visual novel? We think this game is a must for anyone who loves slice of life and puzzles!

6. Grisaia no Kudamono-Le Fruit de la Grisaia

A mysterious school home to five girls all with secretive pasts which only you can unlock? Sounds like one interesting journey only this visual novel can offer!

Begin your schooling at Mihama Academy, an establishment that appears all but normal to the average eye. However, as Kazumi Yuuji comes to discover, this school contains more than your every day teachers and students. In this isolated place, only five students attend, all female and all with complicated and dark stories. This changes when Yuuji enrolls in Mihama Academy and sets out to establish relationships which each of the five eccentric girls. Learn their secrets and earn their hearts in this romance story infused with a sentimental school setting. We can guarantee you won't be able to predict the ending to Grisaia no Kudamono-Le Fruit de la Grisaia and that you'll have fun really exploring each of the five heroines unique personalities. Jump on in and save these girls from their isolated and closed-off hearts!

7. Clannad

It's not uncommon for popular anime to have visual novels made after them, but this one definitely takes the prize for best adaption!

Clannad has long been an anime many romance lovers have come to know and love, but now's your chance to play out the story from your perspective. Play as high school delinquent Tomoya Okazaki as he encounters five different girls each with their individual problems to solve. Drama and romance await those who pick up this visual novel and experience the struggles of school and relationships. Six paths are available to the player, but only one true ending exists if you make all the right decisions. This visual novel truly swept the nation upon its release since it offers a great story with remarkable characters to interact and fall in love with. Take a chance with fate and love in Clannad the complete visual novel!

8. Period Cube: Shackles of Amadeus

Get transported to a whole new fantastical realm with monsters and creatures a plenty!

Have you ever wanted to be saved by a knight in shining armor in a mystical land? Well now's your chance in the colorful and whimsical visual novel Period Cube: Shackles of Amadeus. All sorts of adventures await you in this game, along with some very charming heroes. The story begins with a search for clues concerning the whereabouts of the protagonist's brother. The search takes you to the classic Role Playing Game Arcadia, when suddenly you find yourself transported into the game itself, all the perils and danger of the game now actual threats. To get back to the world you know, you discover that you must clear all the levels of the game itself. Battle hordes of enemies and travel through a land you never imagined to be real. Period Cube: Shackles of Amadeus is a wonderful game for romance, adventure, and stunning visuals! Let yourself get lost in this one of a kind game today!
 

9. Fate/Stay Night Game

Every now and then it would be nice to take a break from school and work and instead jump into a fantasy world filled to the brim with intense battles and rewarding quests.

Fate/Stay Night is a story like no other, featuring sorcerers and grand wars, all in search for the historical Holy Grail. This adult game is based off the beloved anime that came before, enchanting viewers with intricate plot and equally as complicated characters. A visual novel such as this is hard to put down, and really challenges the player on an intellectual level. The story, following the Fifth Holy Grail War that involves seven mages of varying types, involves three different routes that could all potentially lead you to the one true ending, or depending on your choices, a dead end. The visuals presented are quite an improvement from the original anime, really cementing the great qualities this game has to offer. Fate/Stay Night will truly transport you to a medieval fantasy world that will captivate you with its profound plot and intense battles!

10. Zero Escape: The Nonary Games

Only nine hours, nine people, and nine doors stand between you and your freedom.

Held captive by a mysterious figure by the name of "Zero", you enter Zero Escape: The Nonary Games having to play the worst game imaginable: the game of life or death. Stuck with eight other individuals, you must solve a series of puzzles to ensure your safety and ultimately your freedom. A visual novel like this will surely keep you on the edge of your seat, making you question every choice you make throughout the game. At first glance, it appears as though the nine characters have nothing in common, but as the game commences it's revealed that they each have been selected for a specific purpose. Elements of horror and science fiction really give this visual novel its unique qualities. Zero Escape: The Nonary Games also takes the time to discuss important and often overlooked adult themes such as mental illness and even kidnapping. With no memory of how you got there or who the other eight individuals are, you must make the right choices and solve the mystery before its too late.