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Top 5: Sports Teams in Japan

by Jack Guy

Jan 24, 2020

© Jens Tobiska | Dreamstime

Destinations / Asia

Baseball is the most popular sport in Japan, followed by soccer. Here are some of the top teams to look out for on your trip.


Yomiuri Giants

Founded in 1934, the Giants are a nationally popular baseball team in Tokyo. They are the oldest team in the league, and often compared to the New York Yankees in terms of history and popularity.


Gamba Osaka

This team is famous throughout Asia and has legions of fans. Only founded in 1980, the team won the league title twice and burnished the reputation of Japanese football by coming third at the FIFA Club World Cup in 2008.


Kashima Antlers

As the most successful club in Japanese soccer, the Antlers won the title a record eight times. Add to that a record six J1 League Cup wins and five Emperor’s Cup wins for a remarkable record. The Antlers play in Kashima, a town around 80 kilometers east of Tokyo.


Hanshin Tigers

Formerly the Osaka Tigers, this team is one of the oldest baseball clubs in Japan. It has many fans despite a supposed curse that has afflicted the team since its last Japan Series win in 1985.



A rugby union team that splits its time between Tokyo and Singapore, the Sunwolves are the country’s premier team in a burgeoning sport. Spurred on by the national team’s great showing in the 2019 Rugby World Cup, hosted in Japan, rugby union is making great inroads.



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