Do you know the "Hanafuda", a traditional Japanese card game? Recently, due to the help of an anime film and its famous characters, Hanafuda has been drawn people's attention gradually. Maybe you've watch it, but don't know its specific rules. So I'd like to introduce the Hanafuda and its gameplay to such people.

   A feast for eyes!

hanahuda japanese card game koikoi

After all, the Hanafuda is characterized by its traditional Japanese patterns from January to December, which are the natural scenery corresponding to each month, like plum blossom, sakura, rain and so on. There are 4 cards corresponding to each month.

   The result of game depends on the points.

The specific pattern combination in the Hanafuda (see the manual for details!) is called "Yaku". For each combination of "yaku", the points they represents are also different, so how to get these patterns together is the key for winning and losing!


   Deal firstly

hanahuda japanese card game

There are a total of 48 cards in the Hanafuda, which are divided into three types: te-fuda, ba-fuda and yama-fuda, and deal randomly.

   Number of people and cards dealed

Number of people and cards dealed hanahuda japanese card game

   Game flow

hanahuda japanese card game gameflow

   What is "Koi-koi"?

What is "Koi-koi"? japanese hanahuda

Koi-koi is a game played using Hanafuda cards that got hugely popular after it was featured in the anime movie ""Summer wars"". While it uses Hanafuda cards, the rules are a little different. It does not use a score system, but instead players compete to be the first to complete specific sets of cards.

Once you complete a set you can choose either to finish or to continue in order to try to complete more sets. In the latter case you say ""Koi koi!"" (""Come on!"") in order to continue the game.

In the old days, when betting would be involved, saying ""Koi koi!"" would also mean increasing the stakes. One wrong ""Koi koi!"" could lose you the game, so the matches could get very tense.

   Gambling is illegal in Japan!

In Japan, there exists a criminal law called the gambling law. The gist of this law is that ""the act of two or more people gaining or losing property based on a game of chance"" is forbidden by law.

This means that if you say; ""Yeah! I got my hands on a deck of Hanafuda!"" ""Let's play and put some money on it!"" and even just a single yen changes hands, technically a crime has been committed.

But if you play for a single piece of candy or a bowl of tempura or something similar that cannot be held onto for a long time, then it is not against the law, so please make sure to play for similar stakes.
No gambling! Ever!

   How to get a deck of Hanafuda cards outside of Japan.

How to get a deck of Hanafuda cards outside of Japan.

The main place where you can find them is on online shopping sites.
Hanafuda, while popular in Japan, is not as popular as regular playing cards are in the rest of the world so it's hard to find them in stores.

They are available on most large online retailers like Amazon, so there is nothing to it but to buy them there. While decks with different illustrations are available, the basic rules are all the same, so you can go out and find a Hanafuda deck that is just right for you.


At first glance, it is difficult to play the Hanafuda, but you can read the manual before combining the card in the same month with ""yaku"", then you will get started quickly! So in this winter, be sure to play the Hanafuda with your friends or family!


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