Kashima Antlers could not redeem themselves from their midweek Asian Champions League loss to Suwon Bluewings.
The Antlers were thoroughly outplayed by the Koreans, eventually losing 4-1, and were looking to hit back in the domestic competition on the weekend.
However, they met a spirited Albirex Niigata outfit who surprisingly defeated them 2-1.
Niigata took the lead within the first ten minutes through Toshiro Matsushita and a second shortly after by Pedro Junior was enough to get the points as Kashima could only grab a late consolation goal through Daiki Iwamasa.
Kashima meets Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua away on Wednesday, coming off a 4-1 win over Singapore Armed Forces last week.