Japanese Regional Football League Competition

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The Japanese Regional Football League Competition (全国地域サッカーリーグ決勝大会, Zenkoku Chiiki Sakkā Rīgu Kesshō Taikai) is a nationwide play-off tournament meant as a transition for Japanese football clubs competing in regional leagues to the top tier for amateur clubs, the Japan Football League.


Until 1976, the main entrance route for regional clubs to the Japan Soccer League was the All Japan Senior Football Championship, a cup competition. In 1977, to test clubs in a league environment before entrance to the league, the Japan Football Association devised this tournament.

In 1984 and 1985 more promotion places were added due to the JSL, expanding its divisions. In 1992 it began promoting clubs to the former JFL's second division and, from 1994 to 1998, to its single division. In 1999 and 2000 it added extra promotion places due to the formation and expansion of the new JFL.

Yamaha Motors (Júbilo Iwata) are, thus far, the only Regional Series champions to later become First Division champions. They are also the only club to retain the title, as they failed to be promoted in their first attempt due to losing a playoff series. Since 1980 every champion has been automatically promoted, exceptions being made at the champion's request in 1993 (Nippon Denso/FC Kariya) and 2002 (Ain Foods) as they lacked the resources to compete at the national level.


Until 2009, the number of places in the tournament was 16, distributed as follows:

  • All regional league champions (9 clubs)
  • 4 regional league runners-up (4 clubs)
  • University club recommended by the university association (1 club)
  • Club recommended by the JFA (1 club)
  • All Japan Senior Cup winner (1 club)
  • Other clubs (other league runners-up, Senior Cup runners-up or third places, etc.) (0-3 clubs) - more allowed if Senior Cup holder has won a regional league or been runner-up

As of 2010, the regional league runners-up are no longer eligible and the university association is no longer allowed to make recommendations, reducing the number of places to 12.

  • All regional league champions (9 clubs)
  • Club recommended by the JFA (at most 1 club)
  • All Japan Senior Cup winners and runners-up (at most 2 clubs)
    • This may replaced by 3rd- and/or 4th-placed team if the winners and/or runners-up win a regional league or recommended by the JFA.
  • Regional league runners-up (0-3 clubs)
    • This number of clubs changes by the result of "Club recommended by the JFA" and "All Japan Senior Cup".


Preliminary round[edit]

The clubs are grouped in round-robin groups of 4, playing at a single city per group (no home-and-away format is followed). Only 3 matches are played per club, since the match location is the same. The winners of each group qualify for the final round.

Final round[edit]

As of 2010, the three group winners plus the highest-scoring runner-up are grouped in a final group in a single locale, with three matches played per club. The top two places are guaranteed promotion and the third place may play a promotion/relegation series against one of the three bottom JFL clubs (subject to JFL place availability).

Round-robin rules[edit]

The usual 3-1-0 system is used; however, in case of a draw, a penalty shootout is added and the winner gets one extra point.


Teams in bold were promoted.

Year Winner Runner-up Third place Also promoted
1977 Yamaha Motors Toshiba Horikawa-cho Toho Titanium
1978 Yamaha Motors Toho Titanium Dainichi Nippon Densen
1979 Cosmo Oil Yokkaichi Kyoto Shiko Club Furukawa Electric Chiba
1980 Nagoya S.C. Furukawa Electric Chiba Saitama Teachers
1981 Saitama Teachers NTT West Japan Kyoto Cosmo Oil Yokkaichi
1982 Toho Titanium Seino Transportation Hyogo Teachers
1983 Yokohama TriStar Matsushita Teijin Matsuyama
1984 Seino Transportation Kyoto Police Dept. TDK S.C. Osaka Gas
1985 Cosmo Oil Yokkaichi Kawasaki Steel Mizushima Toho Titanium NTT Kansai
1986 NTT Kanto Mazda Auto Hiroshima Toyoda Machine Works
1987 Teijin Matsuyama Fujieda City Hall Matsushima S.C.
1988 Mazda Auto Hiroshima Kyoto Shiko Club Tokyo Gas
1989 Yomiuri S.C. Juniors Otsuka Pharmaceutical Seino Transportation
1990 Tokyo Gas Chuo Bohan Seino Transportation
1991 Osaka Gas Osaka Taidai Kemari Club Seino Transportation
1992 PJM Futures Toyota Motors Higashifuji NEC Yamagata
1993 Nippon Denso NEC Yamagata Jatco
1994 Brummell Sendai Fukushima F.C. Yokogawa Denki
1995 Nippon Denso Oita F.C. Yokogawa Denki
1996 Jatco Prima Ham Mazda S.C.
1997 Sony Sendai F.C. Albirex Niigata Yokogawa Denki
1998 Yokogawa Denki Hitachi Shimizu Ehime F.C.
1999 Alo's Hokuriku Tochigi S.C. Honda Luminoso Sayama F.C. F.C. Kyoken
2000 Sagawa Express Tokyo S.C. YKK AP F.C. NTT Kumamoto S.C. Tottori
Ehime F.C.
2001 Sagawa Express Osaka S.C. Professor Miyazaki Nangoku Kochi F.C.
2002 Ain Foods Sagawa Printing S.C. Shizuoka F.C.
2003 Thespa Kusatsu Gunma F.C. Horikoshi Shizuoka F.C.
2004 Mitsubishi Motors Mizushima F.C. Ryutsu Keizai University F.C. Honda Lock S.C.
2005 F.C. Ryukyu JEF United Ichihara Chiba B Rosso Kumamoto
2006 TDK S.C. F.C. Gifu Fagiano Okayama F.C.
2007 Fagiano Okayama New Wave Kitakyushu F.C. Mi-O Biwako Kusatsu
2008 Machida Zelvia V-Varen Nagasaki Honda Lock
2009 Matsumoto Yamaga Hitachi Tochigi Uva Zweigen Kanazawa
2010 Kamatamare Sanuki Nagano Parceiro Sanyo Electric Sumoto
2011 YSCC Yokohama Fujieda MYFC Hoyo AC Elan Oita
2012 SC Sagamihara Fukushima United Norbritz Hokkaido
2013 Grulla Morioka Fagiano Okayama Next FC Kagoshima Vanraure Hachinohe
Azul Claro Numazu
Renofa Yamaguchi
Maruyasu Okazaki
2014 Nara Club FC Osaka Club Dragons
2015 ReinMeer Aomori Briobecca Urayasu Saurcos Fukui

Wins by region[edit]

Clubs in bold compete in the J. League (any division) as of 2015 season. Clubs in italics no longer exist. A dagger (†) indicates clubs that moved away from the region after winning the title.

Region Number of titles Clubs
Kantō 12 Saitama S.C., Toho Titanium S.C., Yokohama Flügels, Omiya Ardija, Yomiuri S.C. Juniors, F.C. Tokyo, Yokogawa Musashino, Sagawa Express Tokyo, Thespa Kusatsu, Machida Zelvia, YSCC Yokohama, SC Sagamihara
Tōkai 10 Júbilo Iwata (2), Cosmo Oil Yokkaichi (2), Nagoya S.C., Seino Transportation, Tosu Futures †, FC Kariya (2), Jatco FC
Tōhoku 5 Vegalta Sendai, Sony Sendai, Blaublitz Akita, Grulla Morioka, ReinMeer Aomori
Kansai 4 Osaka Gas, Sagawa Express Osaka, Ain Foods, Nara Club
Chūgoku 3 Mazda Auto Hiroshima, Mitsubishi Motors Mizushima, Fagiano Okayama
Koshin'etsu 2 ALO's Hokuriku, Matsumoto Yamaga
Shikoku 2 Teijin SC, Kamatamare Sanuki
Kyūshū 1 FC Ryukyu


External links[edit]