fbpx

How many seasons of midnight diner are there? (and which order to watch)

There are 5 seasons of the Japanese TV show “Midnight Diner”. 

But it can be a bit confusing, because seasons 4 and 5 were released under a slightly different name “Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories” and were called “season 1” and “season 2”.

This is especially off putting if you are trying to watch through everything sequentially on a platform such as Netflix because “Midnight Diner and “Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories” are listed as two separate programs.

If you are trying to figure out how to watch Midnight Diner on DVD check here.

What is the correct order to watch the Midnight Diner seasons?

So to be clear, if you want to watch Midnight Diner through sequentially this is the order you watch:

  • Midnight Diner Season 1
  • Midnight Diner Season 2
  • Midnight Diner Season 3
  • Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories Season 1
  • Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories Season 2

Clear as mud right?

This begs the question:

Why did Midnight Diner change its name (a little bit)?

The first thing to note is that there is a two-year break between the production of Midnight Diner seasons 1-3 and Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories.

The show switched over from the Japanese production company MBS (Mainichi Broadcasting System) from 2009 to 2014 to Netflix for 2016 – 2019, after the multinational American company purchased the show.

The show got the modification from Midnight Diner to Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories in the process. There is a focus more on the customer stories in the Netflix produced seasons that is more pronounced than the original. So it is likely that the new name reflected the emphasis that the producers were going for.

Will there be a Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories Season 3?

As of the end of 2021, there was no announcement of a new season of Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories being made. 

This doesn’t mean that the show has necessarily been “canceled”, we can still hold out hope that the show is just on break or taking a little hiatus. Come back Master!

Differences Between Midnight Diner and Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories

Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories is more high-spec in production values than the original three seasons. The picture is sharper, and colors brighter. Not surprising, given the might of the Netflix behemoth behind it.

That being said, a lot of people complained that the scriptwriting wasn’t as good in the Netflix produced seasons. 

You also find that the character of the “Master”, which is the central person that really drives the series along and ties everything together, isn’t quite as prominent. There is more of a focus on highlighting the stories of those that come into the Master’s famous-in-an-underground-way shop.

Midnight Diner music

Midnight diner has always been renowned for it’s wonderful, off-beat folk music. Starting with  the Midnight Diner opening theme Omoide by Tsunikichii Suzuki, the show also prominently featured songs including SueMarr’s ikiataribattari, and songs by up-and-coming artist Kimie Fukuhara.

We like the music to Midnight Diner so much that we went ahead and made a list of every song used in the Midnight Diner Soundtrack.

Are there Tokyo Stories Movies?

In addition to the five Midnight Diner seasons produced, there have been two theatrical feature films made. The first, Midnight Diner was made in 2014 and the second Midnight Diner 2 in 2016.

The 2014 movie poster looked like this

 And the 2016 poster:

Are there other non-Japanese seasons of Midnight Diner?

There was a short run of a Korean version of the Midnight Diner program, English title Late Night Restaurant, which aired in 2015 and was moderately successful. 

A universally canned version of the show was aired in China in 2017, but failed to make an impact with the public.

There was also a Chinese film version of Midnight Diner made in 2019.

What is the show Midnight Diner all about anyway?

The Japanese netflix show Midnight Diner is a show that follows the story of a restaurant owner, played by Kaoru Kobayashi, who owns a small diner in Tokyo that serves a variety of Japanese dishes, sake, beer and plum wine. The diner is open 24 hours and provides the customers with comfort food.

The restaurant owner,  who everyone calls “Master”, takes care of his customers, even when they are not present in his diner, by being their friend and listening to their heartaches. 

You could say that “Master” also serves as something of a psychiatrist to his customers.

It’s hard to say what exactly the main message of Midnight Diner is. It changes depending on who you ask.

It could be described as a cross between a food review show and a travelogue. But it does not fall neatly into either category. The show has been responsible for introducing a Western audience to such classic Japanese dish selections as Omelette Rice, Butter Rice, Pork Miso Soup, Soup With Soju and sauteed yam. 

Some describe it as a kind of cooking school where you can learn Japanese cooking tips in drama format. Others see it as a restaurant drama. And others think it’s simply a comedy show.

But whatever way you look at it, it’s definitely one of Japan’s most unique shows.

What is the setting of Midnight Diner?

Setting

The Izakaya where the diner is located is in Shinjuku, Tokyo. It is open from midnight to 7 am and popular among Shinjuku’s busy and diverse nightlife.

Is there a real Midnight Diner in tokyo?

No, there is not a real “Midnight Diner” in Tokyo. The Midnight Diner is a fictional place that originally appeared in a Japanese manga series created by mangaka Yoshinori Natsume. 

There are many different restaurants that open late at night in Tokyo, and indeed throughout Japan, that are small late night bars where more or less colorful characters congregate. You can find these restaurants, to name a couple of examples, in Shibuya and Shinjuku. 

What are the Midnight Diner episode run times?

An episode of midnight Diner is usually going to cost you, in the most positive way, around 30 minutes of your life.

Who is behind this site?

I’m Peter Joseph Head. I lived in Japan for four years as a student at Kyoto City University of the Arts doing a Masters Degree, have toured the country six times playing music and speak Japanese (JLPT N1). I’ve written songs in Japanese and have released several albums through Tokyo label Majikick Records. You can hear my music at my bandcamp page:

ピータージョセフヘッドです。4年間京都市立芸大の大学院として日本に住み、6回日本で音楽ツアーをし、日本語能力試験で1級を取得しました。要するに日本好きです。

僕の音楽はBandcampで聞けます。

e7319a946f928d455f2a4c9abc7c687c