Urawa Red Diamonds downed Kawasaki Frontale 3-0 at Saitama Stadium to storm to the top of the J.League.
Several sides have changed massively since 2006, with old heroes replaced by new stars. FIFA.com looks at some of the new boys making their mark.
A Shunsuke Nakamura free-kick was all that separated Japan and Bahrain in Saitama, sending the hosts above Australia and top of Group A.
Japan's domestic season commences this weekend and there is no shortage of clubs vying for national and continental supremacy.
Australia gained a vital point against a determined Japan side as they fought out a goalless draw in Yokohama to share the spoils in Group 1.