Sports disciplines are an integral part of a country’s cultural heritage. Like most countries in the world, Japan is marked by certain sports which are very popular with its people and which are the pride of this country beyond its borders. What are the most popular sports in Japan? This article represents an answer to your questioning.


Also locally called Sakkaa, football is a sport widely practiced by young Japanese people. For the 2018 Fashion Cup, Japan has qualified for the sixth time in a row. Thanks to the skill of the national team, Japan has been four times Asian Nations Cup mushroom.

Due to the great place that football occupies in the life of the Japanese people, several large football stadiums have been built. Today in the land of the Rising Sun, there are several big football stars. Each year, football championships and tournaments are organized in high schools and colleges in order to find the best talents in Japanese football.

Although women’s football is very underdeveloped in all countries of the world, the Japanese women’s national football team won first place at the 2011 worlds in the United States. It is therefore normal to say that football is a very popular sport on the archipelago. It is one of the sports disciplines open to sports betting on Unibet Belgium as well.


A sporting activity much appreciated by the Japanese, baseball originated in the United States. It was imported to the archipelago in the 19th century. In fact, baseball remains the most popular sport in Japan to this day. Still called Yakyuu, this sport is very popular with young people. Most baseball games are broadcast year round by Japanese television channels.

Although it is not part of the traditional sports of the Japanese territory, baseball brings together a horde of people from April to October. The years 2006 and 2009 will forever remain etched in the minds of the Japanese people, as the National Men’s Baseball Team is the winner of the International Classic Baseball Competition. In 2008 and 2010, it was the turn of the women’s team that won the Basic World Cupball.


Better known as tenisu, tennis is one of the sporting activities that characterize Japan. It occupies a very important place in the culture of the Japanese people. The most popular anecdote in this sport is the historic meeting in 1957 between Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko on a tennis court.


Rugby is a sport that cannot be directly linked to the Japanese people. It is true that rugby is a sport intended for massive and tall men; however, the Japanese do not cease to excel in the practice of this sport although they are not that big of sizes.

This popularity of rugby in Japan has made this country the first organizer of the Rugby World Cup on the Asian continent. Little by little, this sport mobilizes the crowds. Today, the land of the rising sun has around 126,000 licensed players ; real proof that this sport is gradually winning the hearts of Japanese people.


A Western import, like many sports on this list elsewhere, golf has become a very popular sport in Japan today.

It is not limited by gender, class or age. Young and old, women and men, play golf. There are currently 2,500 courses in the country. And there are, almost everywhere, exercise grounds equipped with green nets.

If we come back a little to the history of golf in Japan, After the Meiji revolution between the years 1868 and 1912, Arthur Hesketh Groom, a British expatriate, had lived in Kobe for 33 years.

Tired of not being able to indulge in his favorite sport: golf, he decided to create, with his friends, a 4-hole golf course against the backdrop of the city: Mount Rokko. This course was completed in 1901. Then it was extended to 9 holes in 1903. It has since become the Kobe Golf Club.

At that time, golf was reserved for Japanese people who had studied in the West for a while, and for expatriates. With the opening of a course in the city of Tokyo in the 1914s, more traditional Japanese elites began to take an interest in the sport.

But golf was still confidential. It did not experience considerable growth in the country until after 1957, when two Japanese, Koichi Ono and Torakichi Nakamura, won the Canada Cup.

In 1970, the number of people who had obtained a license was lost. Since then, the sport has continued to win the hearts of the Japanese people. Hence its popularity in the archipelago today.

Motor racing

Motor racing has always gained ground in Japan. It had already existed in the country since 1920. However, it did not have a dedicated and permanent track until 1936, when the first Japanese circuit, Tamagawa Speedway, opened its doors.

Soichiro Honda, who soon after became the eponymous manufacturer, was one of the first competitors on the track. Honda then, after the creation of its company in 1962, opened the Suzuka International Racing Course or Suzuka Circuit.

This track has hosted many major world competitions, such as Formula One. Mitsubishi also opened a racetrack called Fuji Speedway in the 1960s. This one which has now become the property of Toyota.

Nowadays, there are about twenty motor racing tracks in Japan. However, the biggest races in the archipelago are still held on one of the two tracks of Honda and Toyota.


This iconic sport of Japan has made a comeback in popularity since 2016, after having seen its reputation collapse since the end of the 2000s. It should be remembered that in 1980 and 1990, sumo was at the top.

The collapse of 2000 was the result of various scandals. Matches have been rigged. And even worse, a young wrestler died after being beaten by his trainer, helped by his teammates.

The public’s disinterest in the sport has been brutal and the number of young Japanese who have come to the stables to become a professional wrestler has greatly diminished. In 2016 and 2017, victorious young wrestlers brought the Japanese back.

But despite this comeback, sumo is still very fragile today in the archipelago, due to the various embarrassing affairs affecting the champions themselves.


Even if the Japanese champions in this field are not known, in general, around the world, boxing is still one of the most practiced sports in Japan. The Japanese Box Commission or JBC established the rules that govern professional boxing in Japan to encourage boxers to participate in competitions held in the country.

Boxing was introduced on Japanese territory in 1854 by the men of Commodore Perry who ordered the opening of various Japanese ports. The Tokugawa Shogunate, a dynasty of shoguns who ruled the country during this time, chose a great sumo wrestler named Tsuneichi Koyanagi, to challenge a wrestler and a boxer in mixed martial arts fights. Since then, boxing has grown tremendously in the country.

Yujiro Watanabe, the father of Japanese boxing, trained in California at the age of 16. Soon after, he returned to Japan and in 1921 created the Nippon Kento club. During the following years, many associations and boxing federations were founded.

This led to the creation of all the professional associations of Kento in the archipelago in 1931, called, since 2000, JPBA or Japan Pro Boxing Association.

The puroresu

It is the counterpart of American wrestling in Japan. Only, in puroresu, we see more athleticism because many Japanese wrestlers have studied several martial arts disciplines.

This sport currently has a lot of followers in Japan. Some of the most famous wrestlers in recent puroresu history include Tiger Mask, Antonio Inoki and Giant Baba.

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