Japan Open

The Japan Open is one of the main 72-hole stroke play events on the Japan Golf Tour, which was established in 1973, though the competition is almost fifty years older than this professional circuit. The winner is extended an invitation to participate in the following year’s Open championship in the British Isles.

Japan Open Championship Trophy

The first Open was held in 1927 at Hodogaya Country Club in Yokohama, three years after the formation of the Japan Golf Association. Amateur golfer Rokuro Akaboshi won the inaugural title, beating his nearest rival by ten shots, but his prowess as a player was never fully realized.

Instead, Akaboshi, along with his brother Shiro, is best known for his contribution to golf course architecture in Japan. Together, the brothers did their utmost to put into practice many of C. H. Alison’s design philosophies on golf layouts where they were working during the 1930s, including the East course at Kasumigaseki Country Club.

Fourteen editions of the tournament were held until World War II stopped play for eight years in 1942 and during that pre-war period Tomekichi Miyamoto won a record six times, starting on the East course at Ibaraki Country Club in 1929 and ending on the former Asaka course at Tokyo Golf Club in 1940.

Miyamoto also captured three national PGA Championships (in 1929, 1934 and 1936) so he can certainly be thought of as the first Japanese golfing superstar. Torakichi Nakamura was the next big-name player to shine in the Open as he won three of these events, starting in 1952 on the Fuji course at the Kawana Resort.

Nakamura also represented his country in the World Cup six times and it was in the second of those appearances at Kasumigaseki Country Club that ...

Japan Open host courses

Abiko

4th Kanto - Best in Area 8th Japan Ranking 17th Asia Ranking

Yoshiro Hayashi won the Japan Open Golf Championship here at Abiko Golf Club way back in 1950, but the club hosted the Japan Women's Open Golf Championship as recently as 2009.

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Aichi

6th Chubu - Best in Area 65th Japan Ranking

Originally laid out by the prolific Seiichi Inoue, the course at Aichi Country Club underwent a major renovation by Taizo Kawata in 2004 to coincide with the club’s fiftieth anniversary. Both the Japan Open and Japan Amateur have been held here.

Gifu Seki (East)

33rd Kanto - Best in Area 78th Japan Ranking

Originally set out by Osamu Ueda in the early 1960s and upgraded on a couple of occasions since then by Taizo Kawata, the East course is the longer and tighter of two 18-hole layouts at Gifu Seki Country Club.

Hirono

1st Kinki (Kansai) - Best in Area 1st Japan Ranking 1st Asia Ranking 32nd World Ranking

Hirono Golf Club has played host to all the major Japanese championships and, although it measures a mere 6,925 yards from the back tees, it’s a supreme test of golf.

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Ibaraki (West)

14th Kanto - Best in Area 25th Japan Ranking 99th Asia Ranking

Originally designed by Seiichi Inoue in 1960 with double greens, the West course at Ibaraki Country Club was renovated by Rees Jones creating single green complexes, reopening to acclaim in 2011.

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Kasumigaseki (East)

3rd Kanto - Best in Area 7th Japan Ranking 14th Asia Ranking

The East course at Kasumigaseki Country Club employs the traditional Japanese dual green system, one for the winter and one for the summer, which takes a bit of getting used if you’re not familiar with this feature.

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Kasumigaseki (West)

11th Kanto - Best in Area 18th Japan Ranking 58th Asia Ranking

A major change to the West course at Kasumigaseki Country Club was made by Taizo Kawata when he converted the traditional Japanese dual greens into conventional putting surfaces...

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Japan Open Leaderboard

Rank Name Courses Played
1 Kimi Hoshiyama Courses Played 28
2 Kenichiro Oda Courses Played 16
3 Tony Hagihara Courses Played 12
4 Bob McCoy Courses Played 11
5 Hwa Young Nam Courses Played 8
6 Fergal O'Leary Courses Played 7
= Ozzie Ling Courses Played 7
= David Harak Courses Played 7
= Tao Lin Courses Played 7
10 Joseph Andriole Courses Played 6