FIRST STAGEAug. 25～Oct. 20
The 18 top-tier teams are divided into 3 divisions of 6 teams each. The East and Central Divisions are made up of teams from the Kanto (East Japan) region; the West Division teams are from the Kansai (West Japan) region. The teams play a league schedule of 5 games each.
SECOND STAGENov. 1～Nov. 16
After divisional play, the teams are regrouped based on the division standings for the second stage.
The top three teams in each division advance to the Super 9, the bottom three to the Battle 9.
The nine teams in the Super 9 are aligned into three new groups, with each group consisting of a 1st-place team, a 2nd-place team and a 3rd-place team from separate divisions. Each team plays the other two teams in its group. The top four teams in the Super 9, based on combined results from both divisional and second-stage play, advance to the Final Stage (semifinals).
In the Battle 9, the three groups each have a 4th-place team, a 5th-place team and a 6th-place team. The top two teams at the end of the stage advance to the Battle 9 Playoff Game
FINAL STAGENov. 30
The top four teams from the Super 9 are paired up in a random draw, with the two winners advancing to the Japan X Bowl to decide the championship.
JAPAN X BOWLDec. 15
The two semifinal winners meet for the league championship in the Japan X Bowl at Tokyo Dome. The winner represents the X-League in the Rice Bowl against the collegiate champion for the national title.