Japan Women's Football League

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Nadeshiko League
Nadeshiko League.png
Country Japan Japan
Confederation AFC (Asia)
Founded 1989; 27 years ago (1989)

Nadeshiko League Div.1

Nadeshiko League Div.2

Challenge League / Div.3
Number of teams 32
Level on pyramid 1-3
Relegation to Japanese Regional Leagues
Domestic cup(s) Empress's Cup
League Cup
International cup(s) none
Current champions NTV Beleza (Div.1)
AC Nagano Parceiro Ladies (Div.2)
Tokiwagi Gakuen High School (Div.3)
Most championships NTV Beleza (13 titles)
TV partners Fox Sports and Entertainment
Website http://www.nadeshikoleague.jp/
2015 L. League

The Japan Women's Football League (in Japanese: "L・リーグ", Officially "日本女子サッカーリーグ",Nihon Joshi Sakkā Rīgu) is the top flight of women's association football in Japan. The league consists of three divisions: Divisions 1 and 2 have the nickname Nadeshiko League (なでしこリーグ Nadeshiko Rīgu?) and Division 3 the Challenge League (チャレンジリーグ Charenji Rīgu?). Since 2008 it has been sponsored by Plenus (株式会社プレナス?), a fastfood company based in Fukuoka, and are thus billed as Plenus Nadeshiko League and Plenus Challenge League.[1]


Japan Women's Football League began in 1989. From 1993 to 1999 it adopted an Apertura and Clausura system, similar to the J.League system of the era. From 2000 to 2003 the clubs were divided into East and West groups and then the top clubs of each would go into a championship group, with the bottom clubs in a relegation group. In 2004 the single-table format was brought back.

Players from the 8 Japan Women's Football League teams would host an annual training camp to build skills and relationships between L-League and international women's football clubs, including US and Australian teams.

Starting in the 2004 season, the L. League had 2 divisions - Division 1, with 8 clubs, and Division 2, with 8 clubs in the 2006 season. Until 2009 the league operated on the same way as the old Japan Soccer League for men, the bottom club in the second division playing off against a regional league playoff winner.

Starting with the 2010 season, the second division is divided into an east and west group of six teams each. The winners of each group are promoted. In 2015 this became Division 3, with the Nadeshiko League becoming two divisions of 10 teams each.

After Japan's World Cup win in 2011 the L-League saw an upsurge in popularity.[2][3][4][5][6]

League structure[edit]

Since 2015, the L-League consists of three levels.

Level League(s) / Division(s)
1  Nadeshiko League Div.1

(Plenus Nadeshiko League Division 1)
10 clubs

↓ 1 relegation spot + 1 relegation playoff spot

2 Nadeshiko League Div.2

(Plenus Nadeshiko League Division 2)
10 clubs

↑ 1 promotion spot + 1 promotion playoff spot

↓ 1 relegation spot + 1 relegation playoff spot

3 Challenge League

(Plenus Challenge League)
12 (EAST 6 / WEST 6) clubs

↑ 1 promotion spot + 1 promotion playoff spot

↓ 2 relegation playoff spots


First Division Champions[edit]

Bold indicate doubles with the Empress's Cup.[7]

Total titles won by club
Club Champions Year
NTV Beleza
1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2015, 2016
Nikko Securities Dream Ladies
1996, 1997, 1998
INAC Kobe Leonessa
2011, 2012, 2013
Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies
2004, 2009, 2014
Iga F.C. Kunoichi
1995, 1999
Shimizu F.C. Ladies
Speranza F.C. Osaka-Takatsuki
Tasaki Perule F.C.
  • Yomiuri Beleza was renamed to NTV Beleza in 1999 and to Tokyo Verdy Beleza in 2011, when the Yomiuri Group sold its stake.
  • Saitama Reinas were absorbed by Urawa Red Diamonds in 2005.
  • Matsushita L.S.C. Bambina was renamed to Speranza F.C. Takatsuki in 2000. Then, renamed to Speranza F.C. Osaka-Takatsuki in 2012.
  • Prima Ham F.C. Kunoichi was renamed to Iga F.C. Kunoichi in 2000.
  • Nikko Securities Dream Ladies and Tasaki Perule no longer exist.
Total titles won by region
Region Total Clubs
Kantō 19 NTV Beleza (13), Nikko Securities Dream Ladies (3), Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies (3)
Kansai 5 INAC Kobe Leonessa (3), Speranza F.C. Osaka-Takatsuki (1), Tasaki Perule F.C. (1)
Tōkai 3 Iga Football Club Kunoichi (2), Suzuyo Shimizu F.C. Lovely Ladies (1)

Second Division Champions[edit]

Year Club
2004 Okayama Yunogo Belle
2005 INAC Kobe Leonessa
2006 Albirex Niigata Ladies
2007 TEPCO Mareeze
2008 JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies
2009 AS Elfen Sayama F.C.
Year East West
2010 Tokiwagi Gakuen H.S Speranza Takatsuki
2011 Tokiwagi Gakuen H.S Kibi International University
Year Club
2012 Vegalta Sendai Ladies
2013 Tokiwagi Gakuen H.S
2014 Speranza F.C. Osaka-Takatsuki
2015 AC Nagano Parceiro Ladies
2016 Nojima Stella Kanagawa Sagamihara

Third Division Champions[edit]

Year Club
2015 Tokiwagi Gakuen H.S
2016 Orca Kamogawa F.C.

L. League Clubs (2016)[edit]

The L-League consists of 3 levels.

Nadeshiko League Div.1 (Division 1)[edit]

Club Hometown(s) First Season in
Top Flight
Current Spell in
Top Flight
NTV Beleza Inagi, Tokyo 1989 1989-
Vegalta Sendai Ladies Sendai, Miyagi 2013 2013-
INAC Kobe Leonessa Kobe, Hyogo 2005 2005-
Albirex Niigata Ladies Niigata Prefecture 2007 2007-
JEF United Chiba Ladies Chiba, Chiba 2000 2009-
Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies Saitama, Saitama 1999 1999-
Iga Football Club Kunoichi Iga, Mie 1989 2010-
Okayama Yunogo Belle Mimasaka, Okayama 2003 2005-
Konomiya Speranza Osaka-Takatsuki Takatsuki, Osaka 1991 2015-
AC Nagano Parceiro Ladies Nagano, Nagano 2015 2015-

Nadeshiko League Div.2 (Division 2)[edit]

Clubs Hometown(s)
Chifure AS Elfen Sayama Sayama, Saitama
Nojima Stella Kanagawa Sagamihara, Kanagawa
Nippon Sport Science University Fields Yokohama Yokohama, Kanagawa
Sfida Setagaya F.C. Setagaya, Tokyo
Angeviolet Hiroshima Hiroshima, Hiroshima
Ehime F.C. Ladies Matsuyama, Ehime
AS Harima ALBION Himeji, Hyogo
F.C. Kibi International University Charme Takahashi, Okayama
Cerezo Osaka Sakai Ladies Osaka, Osaka
Nippatsu Yokohama F.C. Seagulls Yokohama, Kanagawa

Challenge League (Division 3)[edit]

Clubs (East) Hometown(s)
Japan Soccer College Ladies Seirō, Niigata
Tokiwagi Gakuen High School Sendai, Miyagi
Yamato Sylphid Yamato, Kanagawa
Norddea Hokkaido Sapporo, Hokkaido
Tsukuba F.C. Ladies Tsukuba, Ibaraki
Orca Kamogawa F.C. Kamogawa, Chiba
Clubs (West) Hometown(s)
Fukuoka J. Anclas Kasuga, Fukuoka
Shizuoka Sangyo University Iwata Bonita Iwata, Shizuoka
JFA Academy Fukushima Gotenba, Shizuoka[9]
Bunnys Kyoto S.C. Kyoto, Kyoto
Niigata University of Health and Welfare L.S.C. Niigata, Niigata
NGU Nagoya F.C. Ladies Nagoya, Aichi

Previous clubs[edit]

Relegated to regional leagues[edit]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Plenus Co. Ltd. Supports Nadeshiko League". Plenus Co. Ltd. Retrieved 2013-11-17. 
  2. ^ "Nadeshiko League attendance on rise | The Japan Times Online". Japantimes.co.jp. 2011-08-07. Retrieved 2012-08-26. 
  3. ^ "Toyota to sponsor Nadeshiko League soccer " Japan Today: Japan News and Discussion". Japantoday.com. 2011-10-18. Retrieved 2012-08-26. 
  4. ^ "Sky Perfect TV to Show Japan Women's Soccer League Live Following World Cup Win". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2012-08-26. 
  5. ^ "Women's football is booming in Japan as the game tries to capitalise on Nadeshiko's World Cup and Olympic success". Goal.com. Retrieved 2012-08-26. 
  6. ^ "Nadeshiko League attendance on rise". The Japan Times. 2011-08-07. Retrieved 2013-11-17. 
  7. ^ "Japan - List of Women Champions". RSSSF. Retrieved 22 November 2011. 
  8. ^ "Goals galore on three continents". FIFA. 22 November 2011. Retrieved 22 November 2011. 
  9. ^ It has transferred more temporarily than Naraha for an 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.

External links[edit]