JRPG as a genre title is mostly useless these days. It was useful at a point in time when the majority of RPGs coming from Japan shared a similar design motif, but with the success of games like Dark Souls and Dragon's Dogma it is quickly becoming obsolete. Now the term leads to confusion. These games don't share much in common at all with what many know as JRPGs. That label to many people including myself implies several distinct qualities.
The game will most likely have anime inspired graphics. The main focus of the game is the story. The main character (usually young) will eventually be joined by a varied cast of characters most with at least a partially developed backstory. Character growth over the course of the game. The theme of good versus evil. A grand story arc with a definitive end.
Series in this genre include: Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Phantasy Star, Grandia, Tales, etc.
Not included: Etrian Odyssey, Dark/Demon's Souls, Monster Hunter, Dragon's Dogma
Note I didn't say anything about combat or setting as these aspects are quite varied in this particular genre. Note as well that I am aware that not all these games share all of these qualities but most of them do.
The only real trouble with this is that these games don't have a unique label to identify them. Many know them only as jrpgs. I've heard the term classic rpg but there are a host of problems with that designation. There must be a better way of labeling these kinds of games as JRPG just isn't cutting it anymore.