Shoma Uno won his first men's national championship on Saturday, overcoming a 2.29-point deficit and a weak start in his free skate to capture the gold medal.

Uno, a former world junior champion and a two-time bronze medalist at the senior Grand Prix Final, trailed Takahito Mura in second place after Friday's short program at the All-Japan Championships. But the 19-year-old Uno's 192.36 points in the free skate, earned him a winning total of 280.41, but it was not easy.

"My landings were not as good as I thought they should be in the first half," said Uno, who had a vision of his error-strewn performance in last season's worlds — where he finished seventh.

"I'm really glad it didn't end like the worlds."

Although he wobbled on his landings early on, Uno made up for it with a solid finish that included a triple axel and a high-difficulty, three-jump combination.

Keiji Tanaka (249.38) had a poor free skate but moved ahead of Mura (242.11) to finish runner-up. The national men's title had been thrown up for grabs with four-time defending champion Yuzuru Hanyu unable to compete due to a bout with influenza.

By virtue of being Japan's best two finishers at the Grand Prix Final, Hanyu and Uno have already punched their tickets to the world championships, which begin in late March in Helsinki.

Two-time defending women's champion Satoko Miyahara took a sizable lead after the short program, and six-time winner Mao Asada, a three-time world champion, is in eighth.

Miyahara, 18, nailed all her jumps including a triple-triple combination to score 76.49 points, surpassing the total from her personal best of 74.64 at this month's Grand Prix Final in France for a solid lead over second-place Rika Hongo (69.20).

"I'm happy as it was the season's best short program," Miyahara said. "I could calm my emotions well and perform. Hopefully I can give my best-ever free skate, too."

It's tightly packed below Hongo. Last year's runner-up Wakaba Higuchi is in third (68.74) and last year's world junior champ Marin Honda is fourth (67.52).

Mao, 26, was last to take the ice. Her opening triple axel was downgraded to a single, and she settled for 60.32 points.