List of traditional Japanese games

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This is a list of traditional Japanese games. Some of them are localized.



Children's games

Board games

Card games

Tile games

Dice games

Word games

See also

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<i>Gomoku</i> Abstract strategy board game

Gomoku, also called Five in a Row, is an abstract strategy board game. It is traditionally played with Go pieces on a Go board. It is played using a 15×15 board while in the past a 19×19 board was standard. Because pieces are typically not moved or removed from the board, gomoku may also be played as a paper-and-pencil game. The game is known in several countries under different names.

Mahjong Tile-based game

Mahjong or mah-jongg is a tile-based game that was developed in the 19th century in China and has spread throughout the world since the early 20th century. It is commonly played by four players. The game and its regional variants are widely played throughout East and Southeast Asia and have also become popular in Western countries. The game has also been adapted into a widespread online entertainment. Similar to the Western card game rummy, Mahjong is a game of skill, strategy, and luck. To distinguish it from mahjong solitaire, it is sometimes referred to as mahjong rummy.

<i>Karuta</i> Japanese playing cards

Karuta are Japanese playing cards. Playing cards were introduced to Japan by Portuguese traders during the mid-16th century. These early decks were used for trick-taking games. The earliest indigenous karuta was invented in the town of Miike in Chikugo Province at around the end of the 16th century. The Miike Karuta Memorial Hall located in Ōmuta, Fukuoka, is the only municipal museum in Japan dedicated specifically to the history of karuta.

Jaleco Ltd. was a corporate brand name that was used by two previously connected video game developers and publishers based in Japan. The original Jaleco company was founded in 1974 as Japan Leisure Company, founded by Yoshiaki Kanazawa, before being renamed to simply Jaleco in the early 1980s. This company was later acquired in 2000 by PCCW, who rebranded it as their Japanese game division, PCCW Japan, before reverting it to Jaleco in 2002. In 2006, Jaleco became independent from PCCW and renamed to Jaleco Holding, having their video game operations spun off into a new company, also called Jaleco. This new spin-off company was sold to mobile developer Game Yarou in 2009, with Jaleco Holding renaming itself to Encom Holdings shortly after.

<i>Renju</i> Traditional board game

Renju is a professional variant of gomoku. It was named renju by Japanese journalist Ruikou Kuroiwa (黒岩涙香) on December 6, 1899 in a Japanese newspaper Yorozu chouhou (萬朝報). The name "renju" comes from the Japanese language, and means "connected pearls" in Japanese. The game is played with black and white stones on a 15×15 gridded go board.

Hanafuda Japanese playing cards

Hanafuda are a style of Japanese playing cards. They are typically smaller than Western playing cards, only 2⅛ by 1¼ inches, but thicker and stiffer. On the face of each card is a depiction of plants, tanzaku (短冊), animals, birds, or man-made objects. One single card depicts a human. The back side is usually plain, without a pattern or design of any kind. Hanafuda are used to play a variety of games like Koi-Koi and Hachi-Hachi.

<i>Akagi</i> (manga) Japanese media franchise based on manga of the same name

Akagi: Yami ni Oritatta Tensai is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Nobuyuki Fukumoto. First published in 1991 in Takeshobo's weekly magazine Kindai Mahjong, it is a spin-off prequel of the author's previous work, Ten. It revolves around Shigeru Akagi, a boy who defeats yakuza members well versed in mahjong at 13. He returns to the game six years later, carrying a mythical status and still impresses his opponents.


Uta-garuta is a type of a deck of karuta, Japanese traditional playing cards. A set of uta-garuta contains 100 cards, with a waka poem written on each. Uta-garuta is also the name of the game in which the deck is used. The standard collection of poems used is the Hyakunin Isshu, chosen by poet Fujiwara no Teika in the Heian period, which is often also used as the name of the game.

<i>Ogura Hyakunin Isshu</i>

Hyakunin Isshu (百人一首) is a classical Japanese anthology of one hundred Japanese waka by one hundred poets. Hyakunin isshu can be translated to "one hundred people, one poem [each]"; it can also refer to the card game of uta-garuta, which uses a deck composed of cards based on the Hyakunin Isshu.

A Mahjong video game is a video game that is based on one of the many ways to play mahjong. The majority of mahjong video games are developed and released in Japan and use the rules for Japanese Mahjong, although several have also been made for American Mahjong and several chinese versions of mahjong. Many mahjong video games, especially among those released in Western territories, do not depict the actual game of mahjong but rather mahjong solitaire.

Tomisaburo Wakayama Japanese actor

Tomisaburō Wakayama, born Masaru Okumura, was a Japanese actor best known for playing Ogami Ittō, the scowling, 19th-century ronin warrior in the six Lone Wolf and Cub samurai movies.


Shigureden (時雨殿) is a museum in Arashiyama, Kyoto, Japan, centered on the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu anthology of waka poems compiled by Fujiwara no Teika in the 13th century. The museum was founded by former Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi, who invested more than $20 million in the facility. Shigureden's Autumn Shower Palace hall was designed by Nintendo game producer Shigeru Miyamoto.

My Vision

The My Vision is a home video game console developed by Nichibutsu and released in Japan in 1983. The system was dedicated solely to playing video versions of popular board games. The console had no controllers; instead, players used a keyboard on the front of the console to input their actions.

Takuzo Kawatani was a Japanese film actor. He appeared in 56 films between 1967 and 1995. He was most famous for playing villains.

Japanese mahjong, also known as riichi mahjong, is a variation of mahjong. While the basic rules to the game are retained, the variation features a unique set of rules such as riichi and the use of dora. The variant is one of a few styles, where discarded tiles are ordered rather than placed in a disorganized pile. This is primarily due to the furiten rule, which takes player discards into account. The variant has grown popularity due to anime, manga, and online platforms.

<i>Ten</i> (manga) Japanese manga series

Ten: Tenhō-dōri no Kaidanji is a mahjong-centric Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Nobuyuki Fukumoto. It was serialized in Takeshobo's Kindai Mahjong Gold from 1989 to 2002, with its chapters collected in eighteen tankōbon volumes. Considered a hit in Japan, it was followed by a prequel focusing on one of the supporting characters Akagi in 1991.

Competitive karuta is an official Japanese card game that uses a deck of uta-garuta cards to play karuta, within the format and rules set by the All Japan Karuta Association.


Goita (ごいた) is a traditional Japanese game from Noto, Ishikawa played with 32 tiles or cards similar to Shogi pieces. Unlike actual Shogi pieces, the tiles are the same size and have blank backs. It may be a descendant of an earlier Meiji period game played with 40 or 42 cards. It is related to Iro Kammuri played with uta-garuta.

Tatsuo Endō was a Japanese actor. He is famous for playing the role of Manhichioyabun on the television jidaigeki series Zenigata Heiji.