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Traditional games

Test the traditional Japanese games

Much of Japanese culture and history can be seen in traditional Japanese board games.
The games of Go and Shogi have already reached worldwide fame, and other traditional Japanese games are becoming more appreciated internationally.

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Check out the Japanese games available on the main Japanese stores

Discover and try the main Japanese games

Japanese children have a wide variety of popular traditional games at their disposal. But they are more than just games. They are a vehicle for learning many of the important values of Japanese culture such as respect for rules and tradition, harmony, and serenity.
Whether they are strategy games, card games, or games of skill, the origin of these Japanese games is often Asia or Europe, but they have been adapted to local culture.
Their rules can be complex, but the games are fascinating.Here is more information on a selection of them:

Strategy games

SHOGI

Shogi is part of the chess family. Its name means "the game of generals”, derived from the word "shogun", a military general. This strategy game is played by 2 players. It is so popular in Japan that tournaments of professional players are organized by the JSA (Japan Shogi Association).
This game can be found in many mangas, including Naruto Shippuden, Kuroko's basket, Eyeshield 21 or Hunter X Hunter to mention only the most famous ones.

GAME OF GO

This is the oldest abstract combination strategy game. It is very popular in Japan with players of all generations. It has been played it’s current form, with black and white pieces on a board, since the year 735.
In the 2000s, this strategy game was the subject of a manga, Hikaru No Go.

Card games

HANAFUDA

This card game, originally Portuguese, has been adapted to Japanese culture by replacing the warlike theme with a floral theme.
There is more than one rule, but one of the most famous is "koi koi"; in which players must score points by forming card combinations.

KARUTA

This is an ideal card game for poetry lovers. Traditionally played on New Year's Eve with the family, it involves finding the second part of a poem, read by a "reader" player, from the 100 cards placed in front of the players.
Chihayafuru, a manga little known by Westerners, is dedicated to it.

Games of skill

DARUMA OTOSHI

The player of this wooden game of skill must, with the help of a small hammer, remove the body parts of a wooden man without making the other pieces fall.
It’s an ideal gift for children between 7 and 12 years old, as it allows them to work on their dexterity in a playful way.

KENDAMA

This popular juggling and precision game has its origins in the French game bilboquet. Its wooden handle is distinguished by 2 cups called "Sarado". The players compete by performing more difficult figures than the others as we could do with a Diabolo

Modern Japanese Board Games

Japanese board games are becoming more and more popular all over the world. This is because they offer a unique gaming experience that can't be found in traditional board games.

One of the most popular Japanese board games is "Sugoroku". Sugoroku is a game that dates back to ancient Japan, and it is thought to be the predecessor of modern day chess. The game is played on a grid-like board, and the object of the game is to move your pieces from one side of the board to the other. The game is won by either capturing all of your opponent's pieces, or by reaching the end of the board first.

Japanese board game designers are always coming up with new and innovative games. Recently, there have been a number of new board game releases in Japan that have been gaining popularity all over the world. One such game is "Sakura". Sakura is a game that is played on a circular board, and the object of the game is to capture your opponent's pieces. The game can be played by two or four players, and it is a lot of fun to play.

Another popular Japanese board game is "Tōken Ranbu". Tōken Ranbu is a game that is based on the popular anime and video game series of the same name. The game is played on a board that looks like a battlefield, and the object of the game is to capture your opponent's pieces. The game can be played by two or four players, and it is a lot of fun to play.

Japanese board games are becoming more and more popular all over the world, and there is no doubt that they offer a unique gaming experience. If you are looking for a new and exciting way to spend your free time, then you should definitely check out some of the many Japanese board games that are available. You won't be disappointed!