J3 League
J. League
Country Flag of Japan Japan
Confederation AFC
Founded 2013
Number of teams 13+3 under-23 teams

(2016 season)

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)
Website Official website

J3 League or simply J3 is the third division of Japan Professional Football League that has established a third-tier professional association football league in Japan starting in 2014.

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.

2016 season

Main article: 2016 J3 League

League format

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
in J3
Based in First Season
in D3
in D3
Current Spell
in D3
Last Spell
in J2
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

External links

J1 League (2017)

Albirex Niigata · Cerezo Osaka · Consadole Sapporo · FC Tokyo · Gamba Osaka · Júbilo Iwata · Kashima Antlers · Kashiwa Reysol · Kawasaki Frontale · Omiya Ardija · Sagan Tosu · Sanfrecce Hiroshima · Shimizu S-Pulse · Urawa Red Diamonds · Vegalta Sendai · Ventforet Kofu · Vissel Kobe · Yokohama F. Marinos

J2 League (2017)

Avispa Fukuoka · Ehime FC · Fagiano Okayama · FC Gifu · FC Machida Zelvia · JEF United Ichihara Chiba · Kamatamare Sanuki · Kyoto Sanga FC · Matsumoto Yamaga FC · Mito HollyHock · Montedio Yamagata · Nagoya Grampus · Oita Trinita · Renofa Yamaguchi FC · Roasso Kumamoto · Shonan Bellmare · Thespakusatsu Gunma · Tokushima Vortis · Tokyo Verdy · V-Varen Nagasaki · Yokohama FC · Zweigen Kanazawa

J3 League (2017)

AC Nagano Parceiro · Azul Claro Numazu · Blaublitz Akita · Cerezo Osaka U-23 · FC Ryūkyū · FC Tokyo U-23 · Fujieda MYFC · Fukushima United FC · Gainare Tottori · Gamba Osaka U-23 · Giravanz Kitakyushu · Grulla Morioka · Kagoshima United FC · Kataller Toyama · SC Sagamihara · Tochigi SC · YSCC Yokohama

Other Info

J.League Players (J1 League players · J2 League players · J3 League players)

Third level football leagues of Asia (AFC)

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Provisional Associated Member
Football in Japan
League competitions The JFA Cup competitions
J1 League Japan Emperor's Cup
J2 League (U-23) (U-20) J. League Cup
J3 League (U-17) Japanese Super Cup
Japan Football League List of clubs J. League All-Star Soccer
Japanese Regional Leagues List of stadiums Senior Football Championship
List of leagues
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