He was educated at and played for Yokkaichi Chūō Industrial High School and Fukuoka University. He represented Japan for the 2001 Universiade held in Beijing where the team won the title beating Ukraine in the final.
After graduating from the university in 2002, he joined Urawa Red Diamonds and immediately broke into the first team. His first appearance came on 3 March 2002 against Yokohama F. Marinos. He scored his first league goal on 17 May 2003 against Gamba Osaka. He won the J-League Young Player of the Year award in 2002 and was selected as one of the J. League Best Eleven in 2003.
Japan's national coach Zico gave him the first cap in 2003 when he played Tsuboi on 11 June 2003 in a friendly against Paraguay at Saitama Stadium. He was a member of the Japan team for 2006 FIFA World Cup where he played 2 games against Australia and Brazil. In Japan's first match against Australia, he suffered from cramps in his both thighs and had to be replaced by Teruyuki Moniwa in the 56th minute.