Sports in Japan

Hello everyone,

The Olympic Games are now just a few days away and we would like to talk about sports.

What sports are the most popular and/or unusual in Japan?

Are sports facilities easily accessible there? Where and how can one find sports clubs in the region?

Are there sports events regularly held in the country?

And you? What is your favourite sport? Which one(s) do you practice in Japan?

Thank you in advance,


The Japanese play many different sports the same as most countries, but one of their great passions is for baseball, where they have a baseball league and baseball stadiums in most cities and towns. In fact, switch over to a Japanese TV channel and you may well find yourself watching a baseball game.

The Japanese also have an excellent badminton team, and regularly compete in international competitions like the Thomas and Uber Cups.

The most popular sports in Japan are baseball, soccer and volleyball. Japan has a professional baseball league which is very competitive with many players making the transition to Major League Baseball in the United States. Soccer has also gone through a boom in recent years with the J-League and success of both the women's and men's team. Volleyball is also extremely popular with its own professional league and huge interest on TV. In schools popular sports include badminton, baseball, basketball, soccer, table tennis, tennis and volleyball.

With the Olympics just around the corner, Japan will be aiming to win 14 gold medals, and hoping to excel in sports such as judo, swimming, gymnastics and wrestling. Japan also just announced the addition of five new sports for its own Olympics in Tokyo in 2020. The new sports are baseball & softball, karate, surfing, skateboarding and sports climbing. Japan has traditionally excelled in both baseball and softball, as well as karate with its origins in Japan.

That's very true. Actually when you think about it, Japan has brought sports like Judo, Karate, Kendo, Sumo Wrestling and many others to the world. Many of these sports are centuries old and still maintain a strong following even to this day.

Very true! Japan has many ancient sports such as karate, judo, kendo and sumo which are centuries old. These sports are very popular around the world and for many are a first initial contact with Japan or Japanese. I remember learning karate as a primary (elementary) school student back in Australia. It was my first contact with Japan and its culture as well as Japanese. It is one of the reasons I developed my interest in Japan and started to peruse the language. I am also a huge sumo fan (excuse the pun). I watch all the tournaments and take a keen interest in all its ancient Shinto rituals and customs.

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