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Three sumo wrestlers standing in the ring, with formal aprons.
Sports Year
  1. Two National Soccer Tournaments
  2. Ekiden Road Race
  3. Rugby Football Games in Winter
  4. Skiing and Skating
  5. Sumo
  6. Midwinter Training and Traditional Martial Arts
  7. J League Soccer
  8. Mountain-opening and Beach-opening
  9. Fishing
  10. Motor Sports
  11. High School Baseball
  12. National Sports Festival
  13. Japan Baseball Series
  14. Viewing Autumn Leaves and Hiking
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People in matching colorful clothes marching in opening ceremony on a track
Students march into the stadium during the National Sports Festival.
Photo Courtesy of Ibaraki Prefectural Board of Education.
National Sports Festival
Like the National High School Baseball Championship, sport competitions between prefectural teams are common in Japan. The National Sports Festival represents one such sport competition among prefectures. The National Sports Festival is the largest and most comprehensive amateur sport festival in Japan. The festival is divided into three parts, the winter, summer and fall sessions: The winter session includes skiing, skating, and ice hockey; the summer session includes mainly water sports; and the fall session has other sports. For each sport competition in each session, players and teams compete against each other as members of their prefectures. Prefectures accumulate points according to the result of each player or team. The points of each prefecture are also calculated according to gender. At the end of the fall session, the last session in a year, the prefecture that gets the largest number of points for male players and teams is given the Emperor’s Cup, while the prefecture that gets the largest number of points for female players and teams is given the Empress’s Cup. The fall session, therefore, is the most important for prefectural competitions.
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