|Number of teams|| 13+3 under-23 teams
|Promotion to||J2 League|
|Relegation to||Japan Football League|
|Levels on pyramid||3|
|Domestic cup(s)||Emperor's Cup|
|Current champions||Template:Fb team Renofa (2015)|
|Most successful club|| Template:Fb team Zweigen, Template:Fb team Renofa|
(1 title each)
The third-tier nationwide league is a relatively recent development in Japanese football with the first attempt dated 1992 (second division of the old JFL), though it only lasted for two seasons. In 1999, following the establishment of J2 League, a new Japan Football League was created, becoming the third tier onwards. After introduction of J3 the JFL has been moved down the pyramid and become a fourth-tier nationwide league, for the first time in history of Japanese football.
The league is known by their title sponsor, the Meiji Yasuda J3 League.
- Main article: 2016 J3 League
For this season, the league is played in two rounds (home-and-away), each team playing a total of 30 matches.
Each team must have at least 3 players holding professional contracts. Also for this season, three foreign players are allowed per team, plus 1 more from the ASEAN partner country of J.League or from other AFC countries. The matchday roster will consist of 18 players, and up to 3 substitutes will be allowed in a game. The three under-23 clubs can have up to three overage players and one of them must be a goalkeeper.
Promotion and relegation
Rules for promotion to J2 are largely similar to those of Japan Football League in recent seasons: to be promoted, a club must hold a J2 license and finish in top 2 of the league. The champions will be promoted directly, in exchange with 22nd-placed J2 club, and the runners-up will participate in the playoffs with 21st J2 club. If either or both top 2 finishers are ineligible for promotion, the playoffs and/or direct exchange will not be held in accordance with the exact positions of promotion-eligible clubs. Also, if an under-23 squad finishes in either one of the top 2 or both positions, the next-placed, promotion-eligible club takes automatic promotion to J2. Another next-placed eligible club will contest the playoff if any under-23 club occupies third to fourth place or both and the J3 champion is eligible for promotion.
No relegation to JFL is planned in the foreseeable future.
Participating clubs (2016)
|Club Name||Year Joined||Seasons|
|Based in||First Season|
|Template:Fb team Blaublitz||2014||3||All cities/towns in Akita||2007||10||2007–||–|
|Template:Fb team Cerezo U23||2016||1||Osaka & Sakai, Osaka||2016||1||2016–||–|
|Template:Fb team Fukushima Utd||2014||3||All cities/towns in Fukushima||2013||4||2013–||–|
|Template:Fb team Gainare||2011 (J2)||3||All cities/towns in Tottori||2001||13||2014–||2011–2013|
|Template:Fb team Gamba U23||2016||1||North cities in Osaka||2016||1||2016–||–|
|Template:Fb team Grulla||2014||3||Morioka, Iwate||2014||3||2014–||–|
|Template:Fb team Kagoshima Utd||2016||1||Kagoshima, Kagoshima||2016||1||2016–||–|
|Template:Fb team Kataller||2009 (J2)||2||All cities/towns in Toyama||2008||3||2015–||2009–2014|
|Template:Fb team MYFC||2014||3||Central cities/towns in Shizuoka||2012||5||2012–||–|
|Template:Fb team Parceiro||2014||3||Northern cities/towns/villages in Nagano||2011||6||2011–||–|
|Template:Fb team FC Ryukyu||2014||3||All cities/towns in Okinawa||2006||11||2006–||–|
|Template:Fb team SC Sagamihara||2014||3||Sagamihara, Kanagawa||2013||4||2013–||–|
|Template:Fb team Tochigi SC||2009 (J2)||1||Utsunomiya, Tochigi||2000||10||2016–||2009–2015|
|Template:Fb team FC Tokyo U23||2016||1||Chōfu, Tokyo||2016||1||2016–||–|
|Template:Fb team Trinita||1999 (J2)||1||All cities/towns in Ōita||2016||1||2016–||2014–2015|
|Template:Fb team YSCC||2014||3||Yokohama, Kanagawa||2012||5||2012–||–|
- Pink background indicates clubs most recently promoted from JFL
- Gray background indicates the club most recently relegated from J2
- "Year joined" is the year the club joined the J. League (J3 League unless otherwise indicated).
- "First season in D3," "Seasons in D3," and "Current spell in D3" include seasons in JFL
- (Japanese) J. League official website
- J. League official website
- (Japanese) Official YouTube channel
|Third level football leagues of Asia (AFC)|
Bangladesh (Dhaka) ·
Chinese Taipei ·
East Timor ·
Hong Kong ·
North Korea ·
South Korea ·
Northern Mariana Islands† ·
Palestine (West Bank · Gaza Strip) ·
Saudi Arabia ·
Sri Lanka ·
United Arab Emirates ·
|Football in Japan|