Sanfrecce came from behind to claim a point away to Gamba Osaka as Kazuyuki Morisaki's 76th-minute goal cancelled out Yasuhito Endo's opener 20 minutes earlier.
Vegalta Sendai looked set to claim outright top spot when Shingo Akamine put them 1-0 up in the 77th minute at Jubilo Iwata, but Kosuke Yamamoto drew the hosts level six minutes from the end.
Shimizu S-Pulse moved within a point of third-placed Urawa Red Diamonds in the scrap for the final Asian Champions League berth after they were 2-1 winners at Kashima Antlers.
Kim Hyun-sung gave Shimizu a seventh-minute advantage and, although Daiki Iwamasa drew Antlers level in the 43rd minute, the visitors restored their lead immediately through Genki Omae.
Urawa were held goalless at home by Cerezo Osaka, while Omiya Ardija boosted their survival chances with a 4-1 win away to Kashiwa Reysol which lifted them three points above the drop zone.
Zlatan Ljubijankic's hat-trick (21, 47 and 49) put them in command, with Daigo Watanabe adding a 79th-minute fourth before Neto Baiano grabbed a late consolation for Kashiwa.
Nagoya Grampus moved a point above Kashiwa into fifth thanks to a 1-1 draw at home to Yokohama F Marinos, and it could have been three had Keiji Tamada's 87th-minute effort not been cancelled out in the dying moments by Shunsuke Nakamura.
FC Tokyo were the biggest winners of the day as they thrashed already-relegated Consadole Sapporo 5-0.
Jang Hyun-soo set them on the right path in the 17th minute, Sotan Tanabe added a second (47) and Naohiro Ishikawa's double (59 and 64) put the result beyond any doubt. Nemanja Vucicevic added extra gloss with a fifth goal nine minutes from time.
Albirex Niigata's survival hopes are fading after a 2-0 home defeat to Sagan Tosu, who won thanks to a Yohei Toyoda brace (three and 38). Niigata are now five points adrift of safety in second-bottom spot.
Vissel Kobe and Kawasaki Frontale played out a six-goal thriller, with Renatinho putting visitors Kawasaki ahead six minutes before the break.
Ken Tokura drew Kobe level (56), but further Kawasaki goals from Yu Kobayashi (65) and Jumpei Kusukami (69) looked to have settled it. However, Kobe responded again as Yuzo Tashiro made it 3-2 (76) and Tokura completed the comeback with his second eight minutes from the end.