Most Popular Sports in Japan

Sporting events in the country of Japan is exceptionally essential when it comes to the culture of the country, especially when you look at martial arts. The national sport in Japan is Sumo wrestling, while judo, kendo, and karate are also regarded as prevalent sports in Japan. There’s also a wide variety of western sporting events that are quickly gaining popularity in the country, including baseball, football, and even basketball. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the most popular sports in the state of Japan.


Japan’s national sport is sumo, and it originated from the Shinto ritual that depicts a god wrestling a human. During the late 17th century, sumo tournaments managed to gain popularity in Tokyo. Every single year, six major sumo wrestling tournaments are held in several countries across Japan with each of these tournaments lasting for at least 15 days. A sumo wrestler at the highest-ranking is referred to as a Yokozuna. It’s quite surprising to learn that no Japanese wrestler has managed to hold the title between the year 2000 and 2016 as Mongolia produced multiple Yokozuna athletes.


Baseball is a respected sport in the country of Japan with most seeing it as an unofficial national sport in the country. It is commonly known as puro yakyu or simply yakyu. However, most people in the country will know exactly what you are talking about when you call it baseball. There are loads of people that follow baseball in Japan, and you’ll notice that thousands of fans are drawn to baseball league matches over weekends, while high school baseball matches attract fans during the summer. Even though baseball has been around since 1872, it only became a professional sport in 1936. Some of the most famous Japanese baseball teams include the Hanshin Tigers and the Yomiuri Giants.


The word Puroresu is regarded as the shortened word to describe pro wrestling in Japanese. The sport first burst onto the scene in 1951 after it failed to make a name for itself during the early 20th century. The success behind this favourite sport in Japan can be attributed to the respected Puroresu wrestler, Rikidozan. Other favourite wrestlers of this sport include Giant Baba, Tiger Mask, and Antonio Inoki.


The first time tennis was enjoyed in the country of Japan was back in the late 19th century when five professional tennis courts were constructed for tourists in Yamate Park. During the same time, western-style physical education was brought to the country, and the sport of tennis was used as a physical activity instead of a competitive game. Tennis has a rich history when it comes to Japan and remains a favourite sport to this day.

Other Popular Sports in Japan

Apart from the sports mentioned above in the country, you will also find that golf, jukoda, boxing, motor racing, and association football plays a significant role in the culture of the country.