Japan Women's Football League

Nadeshiko League
Country Japan
Confederation AFC (Asia)
Founded 1989 (1989)
Divisions 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/
2016 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

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 promotion/relegation series spot

2 Nadeshiko League Div.2

(Plenus Nadeshiko League Division 2)
10 clubs

↑ 1 promotion spot + 1 promotion/relegation series spot

↓ 1 relegation spot + 1 promotion/relegation series spot

3 Challenge League

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

↑ 1 promotion spot + 1 promotion/relegation series spot

↓ 2 promotion/relegation series spots


First Division Champions

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.
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

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

Third Division Champions

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

L. League Clubs (2016)

The L-League consists of 3 levels.

Nadeshiko League Div.1 (Division 1)

Club Hometown(s) First Season in
Top Flight
Current Spell in
Top Flight
NTV BelezaInagi, Tokyo19891989-
Vegalta Sendai LadiesSendai, Miyagi20132013-
INAC Kobe LeonessaKobe, Hyogo20052005-
Albirex Niigata LadiesNiigata Prefecture20072007-
JEF United Chiba LadiesChiba, Chiba20002009-
Urawa Red Diamonds LadiesSaitama, Saitama19991999-
Iga Football Club KunoichiIga, Mie19892010-
Okayama Yunogo BelleMimasaka, Okayama20032005-
Konomiya Speranza Osaka-TakatsukiTakatsuki, Osaka19912015-
AC Nagano Parceiro LadiesNagano, Nagano20152015-

Nadeshiko League Div.2 (Division 2)

Chifure AS Elfen SayamaSayama, Saitama
Nojima Stella KanagawaSagamihara, Kanagawa
Nippon Sport Science University Fields YokohamaYokohama, Kanagawa
Sfida Setagaya F.C.Setagaya, Tokyo
Angeviolet HiroshimaHiroshima, Hiroshima
Ehime F.C. LadiesMatsuyama, Ehime
AS Harima ALBIONHimeji, Hyogo
F.C. Kibi International University CharmeTakahashi, Okayama
Cerezo Osaka Sakai LadiesOsaka, Osaka
Nippatsu Yokohama F.C. SeagullsYokohama, Kanagawa

Challenge League (Division 3)

Clubs (East)Hometown(s)
Japan Soccer College LadiesSeirō, Niigata
Tokiwagi Gakuen High SchoolSendai, Miyagi
Yamato SylphidYamato, Kanagawa
Norddea HokkaidoSapporo, Hokkaido
Tsukuba F.C. LadiesTsukuba, Ibaraki
Orca Kamogawa F.C.Kamogawa, Chiba
Clubs (West)Hometown(s)
Fukuoka J. AnclasKasuga, Fukuoka
Shizuoka Sangyo University Iwata BonitaIwata, Shizuoka
JFA Academy FukushimaGotenba, Shizuoka[9]
Bunnys Kyoto S.C.Kyoto, Kyoto
Niigata University of Health and Welfare L.S.C.Niigata, Niigata
NGU Nagoya F.C. LadiesNagoya, Aichi

Previous clubs

Relegated to regional leagues



See also


  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

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