The J. League returns on Friday, and the top of the pyramid is set to be — quite literally — bigger than ever in 2024.

Having started with just 10 clubs back in 1993, the league has now expanded to 60 across three divisions, and the top flight J1 will consist of 20 clubs for the first time this year.

Friday afternoon’s clash between Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Urawa Reds provides the perfect fixture to get the ball rolling, with both teams among the favorites for this year’s title, as Sanfrecce raises the curtain at the impressive new Edion Peace Wing Hiroshima stadium.