Yokohama Marinos outlined their J.League title credentials with a 3-0 win over third-place Urawa Red Diamonds on Wednesday to move three points clear at the top of the table.
Shunsuke Nakamura and Marquinhos gave Marinos a two-goal half-time lead before former Celtic playmaker Nakamura added another three minutes after the break. The win sent Yokohama back to the summit after being knocked into second place on goal difference by Sanfrecce Hiroshima at the weekend.
Defending champions Sanfrecce suffered a 2-0 away defeat to lowly Ventforet Kofu, Yoshifumi Kashiwa and Kazunari Hosaka sealing the victory for last season's second-division champions.
Cerezo Osaka moved into fourth after a 1-1 draw with Vegalta Sendai, while Kashima Antlers slipped to fifth after losing 4-3 to Shimizu S-Pulse, for whom Toshiyuki Takagi scored a hat-trick.
Omiya Ardija saw their losing streak extend to eight consecutive games after a 2-1 defeat away to Kawasaki Frontale, while Australia striker Josh Kennedy was on target twice as Nagoya Grampus came from behind to beat bottom side Oita Trinita 2-1.
Sagan Tosu claimed their third successive win as Yohei Toyoda struck twice in a 3-2 victory over FC Tokyo, while two goals apiece from Masato Kudo and Kenta Kano and one from Junya Tanaka helped Asian Champions League quarter-finalists Kashiwa Reysol to a 5-2 win over Shonan Bellmare.
In the day's other game, Albirex Niigata clawed back a two-goal deficit to beat Jubilo Iwata 4-2 and keep the three-times champions in real relegation trouble, second from bottom in the table and nine points adrift of safety.