Sendai fell behind to Kyohei Noborizato's 32nd-minute goal but quickfire strikes from Naoya Tamura (56) and Ryang Yong-gi (63) sent them back to the top ahead of Sanfrecce Hiroshima.
Sanfrecce could only draw 1-1 at Jubilo Iwata after Yuichi Komano (34) cancelled out the 20th-minute opener from J.League top-scorer Hisato Sato.
Third-placed Urawa Red Diamonds were also held 1-1 at home to struggling Omiya Ardija.
Genki Haraguchi sent Urawa ahead on 11 minutes but the visitors grabbed a vital point through Keigo Higashi in first-half injury time.
Urawa's draw allowed Sagan Tosu and Nagoya Grampus to move four points behind the Champions League places with wins over Gamba Osaka and Kashiwa Reysol respectively.
Tosu thrashed Gamba 4-1 with Yohei Toyoda (45, 52) scoring twice in between goals from Naoyuki Fujita (two) and Teruaki Kobayashi (89). Tomokazu Myojin netted Gamba's consolation on 74 minutes.
Keiji Tamada scored the only goal of the game 11 minutes from time to snatch Nagoya's win.
A double from Brazilian striker Lucas helped FC Tokyo to a 3-1 home win over Yokohama F Marinos.
Sotan Tanabe (35) opened the scoring for the capital club before Lucas (42, 71) scored either side of a reply from Shingo Hyodo (66).
Cerezo Osaka won 1-0 at Albirex Niigata thanks to Yoichiro Kakitani's goal nine minutes from time while Kashima Antlers only needed a 23rd-minute effort from Yuya Osako to see off Vissel Kobe.
Last-placed Consadole Sapporo fell to their third consecutive defeat 2-0 at home to Shimizu S-Pulse with Toshiyuki Takagi (38) and Genki Omae (44) on target.