Hanafuda - The Japanese Flower Card Game
Various Cards

Literally translated, Hanafuda means “flower cards” in Japanese. Dating back to the 9th century, the development of Hanafuda was influenced by Portuguese traders. Believe it or not, Nintendo was originally founded with the sole purpose of creating and printing Hanafuda cards.

Since Hanafuda's core audience is still in its home country of Japan, many of the most common terms used have yet to be anglicized. In our glossary we translate the most common Japanese terms and also explain a handful of the most important English terms.

Hanafuda is traditionally a 3 person game. Players take turns matching cards to get the highest point value. Different variants of the game include Matching Flowers, Koi-Koi, and Hachi Hachi. Depending on the variant, the winner is determined by different rules, and also different sets of cards can be matched.

A traditional deck has 48 cards divided into 12 suits – one for each month. Each month is signified by a different type of flower. Point values can be 1, 5 or 20 points. Cards with pictures of animals or scenes mean those cards have a higher point value.
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Hanafuda - The Japanese Flower Card Game

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