Most Popular Sports in Japan: Sport Betting in Japan

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Japan is a relatively unknown market for sports betting and gambling, all due to the strict restrictions. But the potential is huge, primarily because the Japanese are sports lovers and have a huge fan following.

In this article, we will take a look at some of the most popular sports in Japan.


Baseball has been around in Japan since 1870 and is now the most popular sport in Japan. All prefectures (the American equivalent of states) participate in baseball in the national championship called Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB). Therefore, it garners millions of views both from Japan and neighboring countries.

The games are broadcasted daily and receive an overwhelming response from Japanese sports betting partners. Then there are high-school baseball and qualifying tournaments as well, both of which are televised. Even at the world level, Japan competes fiercely and has won several championships.

Sumo Wrestling

While baseball is the most popular team sport in Japan, Sumo Wrestling is the most popular individual sport. It forms an important part of Japanese culture and defines its sporting history. Not to forget, Sumo Wrestling is also the national sport of the country. The game is easy to understand. 

The sumo wrestlers fight among themselves and the one who exits the rings or touches the ground first loses. In Japan, six sumo wrestling tournaments are held each year, each lasting 15 days. Most of these matches witness packed halls. Besides sumo wrestling, there is also another form of professional wrestling, known as Puroresu. It was very much like American pro wrestling but now is evolved into its own version.

Soccer (Associa9on Football)

Japan is among the strongest soccer nations in Asia and the world. They have qualified for FIFA World Cup nearly on every occasion and have hosted once jointly with South Korea in 2002. The women’s team is equally competitive and has qualified by World Cup finals multiple times. 

Domestically, the Japan Football Association hosts the Japanese League which is similar to Major League Soccer of America and the English Football League of England. The matches are live telecasted and are watched by millions of Japanese. Players like Fernando Torres and Andres Iniesta of Spain have played in the league.


While not technically a sport, but given the size and following, E-sports should be mentioned. The video game industry in Japan has always been huge. The credit for introducing credit games like Mario Bros and Pro Evolution Soccer goes to Japan. New titles like Pinnacle Sport are making the headlines. What’s more, various renowned game developers like Konami, Sony, and Nintendo have originated in Japan as well. But there’s a lack of sports betting and e-sports tournaments. This is because any form of gambling is illegal in the country, though underground markets exist. But things are starting to change. Japanese Esports Union (JeSU) is now regulating the space and organizing prize-based tournaments. The development of these kinds of tournaments will likely pave the way for Japanese Sports Betting and bookmakers. Other sports that are popular in Japan are martial arts, boxing, handball, motor racing, basketball, tennis, and figure skating. So needless to say there’s a huge market for online sports betting.