Genomic DNAs of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato isolates obtained in Japan sharing different rRNA gene ribotypes were digested with rare-cutter restriction endonucleases and the fragments obtained were separated by pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). The sizes of large restriction cleavage bands with MluI endonuclease were quite similar among isolates in each ribotype group. On the other hand, the PFGE profiles obtained with the other enzymes (NruI, Sal I or SplI) were rather divergent, and Japanese isolates were distinguishable from the United States and European isolates. The Japanese isolates classified as ribotypes group II (Borrelia garinii) and III (B. afzelii) showed different PFGE patterns from that of European isolates. The isolates grouped into ribotype IV revealed distinctively different PFGE profiles. These results indicate that the Japanese isolates may be genetically divergent and distinct from the United States and European isolates.