The Japan Collaborative Cohort Study for Evaluation of Cancer Risk Sponsored by Monbusho (JACC Study) included in its self-administered questionnaires some single-item questions concerning physical activity. We examined the validity of the questions among 1,730 Japanese adults and the reliability of the questions among 1,075 Japanese adults. The validity of the sports and physical exercise questions was estimated by comparing the self-administered questionnaire responses with the time spent on the activity and the energy expenditure index for the previous 12-month period, elicited by the interviewing method used in the Japan Lifestyle Monitoring Study with a minor modification. The Spearman's rank correlation coefficients ranged from 0.43 to 0.60, showing moderate correlations. On the other hand, test-retest reliability was estimated by comparing the responses from two separate surveys conducted roughly one year apart. Weighted kappa coefficients of sports and physical exercise questions, classified according to sex and age, ranged from 0.39 to 0.56, showing moderate reliability; and those of a question about walking ranged from 0.25 to 0.39, showing fair reliability. We suggest that measuring physical activity level with these single-item questions may be appropriate for establishing baseline data that reflects long-term physical activity in a large-scale cohort study targeting lifestyle-related diseases.