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Japan Tours and Life Style

9 Japanese tabletop games

There is a list of traditional tabletop games that are still played in Japan.

Tabletop games are a real fun when played with family and friends on rainy days.

Here’s the list of 9 Japanese tabletop games played in japan

  1. Daifugo/Daihinmin
  2. Riichi Mahjong
  3. Sugoroku
  4. Gomoku
  5. Renju
  6. Shogi
  7. Karuta
  8. Jinsei Game
  9. Shadow hunters

1. Daifugo/Daihinmin


Daigo is also known as Tycoon. The game is also adapted in the American version. It can be played with three or more players with 52 standard cards.

Playing cards that are stronger than those of the previous player is the objective of the game, which aims to eliminate all cards as quickly as possible. In the next round, the winner is called the daifugo (the grand millionaire), earning various advantages, and the last person is called the daihinmin (the grand pauper). A winner can exchange a card or cards they no longer need for favorable ones that losers have in the following round.

There are five main rankings, in order from highest to lowest:

  1. Daifugo (Grand Millionaire)or (President / Tycoon)
  2. Fugo ( Millionaire/Rich Person)or(Vice President / Rich)
  3. Heimin (Commoner)
  4. Hinmin ( Pauper)or (Dirt / Poor)
  5. Daihinmin ( Grand Pauper)or (Lowest Dirt / Beggar)

Players who are not in the top or bottom two become hemins, or sometimes additional ranks are added if there are a lot of players. In some versions, players change seats as their rankings change, and the leftmost player in descending rank is seated, though this is seldom seen in the western versions. In the first round, everyone is a heimin. The game might not have a heimin, or there could be multiple heimin, depending on the number of players. A game with three players has no fugō or hinmin.

Trick-taking is the object of this game, but the goal is to get rid of your weak cards as quickly as possible.If a player is stuck with a low card, it will be very hard to get to play it and empty a hand. In the next round, the person who gets rid of his or her cards becomes the daifugo, the second becomes the fugo, and so on, until finally, a daihinmin emerges. A daihinmin then deals the subsequent round after gathering all the cards, shuffling and shuffled.

  1. Riichi Mahjong


    Riichi Mahjong

The Japanese game Riichi mahjong is a variation of the ancient Chinese game mahjong. There are four players in this game, each with a hand in which they must compete against the other players to win points. It is similar to Rummikub and card games like Gin Rummy and Poker.

The goal is to create sets by drawing and discarding tiles, with the ultimate objective of getting all 14 of your tiles matched into sets. The sets could be a matching three, matching four, or a sequential run of three, with a standard winning hand composed of four sets and a single pair—though there are also a few special winning hands that stand as exceptions.

  1. Sugoroku


    Japanese tabletop games


The game is thought to have been introduced from China into Japan in the sixth century.

Sugoroku refers to two different forms of a Japanese board game: ban-sugoroku which is similar to western backgammon, and e-sugoroku which is similar to western Snakes and Ladders.

In this game :

  • Doubles are not special. If a player rolls doubles, each die still counts only once.
  • There is no “bearing off”. The goal is to move all of one’s men to within the last six spaces of the board.
  • There is no doubling cube.
  • “Closing out”, that is forming a prime of six contiguous points with one or more of the opponents men on the bar, is an automatic win.
  1. Gomoku


    Japanese tabletop games


Most of us have seen Gomoku in anime or Japanese drama, they have always appeared in shows. A strategy board game called Five in a Row is also known as Gomoku. In traditional Go, black and white stones make up the pieces of the board. It is played with a 15×15 board, whereas in the past it was a 19×19 board. You can also play Gomoku with a pencil and paper. Gomoku is known under several names around the world. The aim of Gomoku is to build a row of five consecutive stones of your colour.

As an alternative, each player places a stone of their colour on an empty intersection. Black takes the first turn. In this game, the first player to form an unbroken chain of five stones in an either horizontal, vertical, or diagonal direction is the winner. It is not possible to win by placing in such a way as to create a line of more than five stones of the same colour. These are known as overlines.

  1. Renju


    Japanese tabletop games


Renju is a professional variant of Gomoku. It was named renju by Japanese journalist Ruikou Kuroiwa on December 6, 1899, in a Japanese newspaper Yorozu chouhou  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.

Renju has a unique sequence of opening moves called an “opening rule” which is unlike Gomoku. There are several certified for opening rules.

  • Five moves are allowed in the opening stage.
  • Canonical openings are only possible if all 26 canonical openings can be accessed.
  • It must be possible to pursue all present realistic alternatives.
  • During the opening phase, it is not a good idea to move very close to the board’s edges
  1. Shogi


    Japanese tabletop games


Shogi differs from chess in that any piece can be promoted except the king and gold general upon reaching the back row. As opposed to changing out the pieces, this game adds extra movement abilities to the pieces. As long as a piece has legal moves left, players can choose not to promote it since the non-promoted form may also offer strategic advantages depending on the circumstances.

The figures moves as follows.

  • Whether it is an orthogonal or diagonal move, a king moves one square.
  • Rooks can move in any direction orthogonal to each other.
  • Any number of squares can be moved diagonally by a bishop. Unless a captured bishop is dropped, the players’ unpromoted bishops can reach only half of the squares on the board, since they cannot move orthogonally.
  • Six possible destinations are available to a gold general when he moves one square orthogonally, or diagonally, forward. He cannot move backwards diagonally.
  • Silver generals can move diagonally or straight ahead by one square, giving them five possible destinations. Normally, unpromoted silvers are left on the far side of the board since unpromoted silvers can retreat more easily than promoted ones.
  • One square straight forward plus one square diagonally forward are jumped by a knight in one move at an angle intermediate between orthogonal and diagonal. As a result, two possible forward destinations are available to the knight.

A shogi game is very rare to end in a draw since all the pieces are normally in play in one way or another. It is believed that this game is based on Indian chaturanga, which likely came to Japan via China, although when exactly it did so is unknown.

  1. Karuta


    Japanese tabletop games


The game of Karuta is played with special cards, but one can also use a standard deck of cards. Toki-fuda is a collection of cards laid out faceup, while Yomi-fuda or the reader’s deck is kept aside in anticipation of the reader reading a card and slapping it before the other players.

Karuta packs are classified into two groups: those of Portuguese descent and those of E-awase. E-awase originally came from Kai-awase, a game played with shells that was converted to cards in the early 17th-century. In any e-awase karuta game, the objective is to quickly determine which card is needed out of an array and to grab the card before it is taken by an opponent. In elementary and junior high schools, children play this game during class as an educational activity.

  1. Jinsei Game


    Japanese tabletop games


North American gamers know it as The Game of Life, but Japanese gamers know it as Jinsei Game. In contrast to The Game of Life, the player starts in his toddler years and will have to attend elementary, junior high, and high school before he can attend university or start a job. As with its North American counterpart, the board game has been updated numerous times. The game was first released by a company called Takara in 1967. Thousands of Japanese children have played it since then. Three versions exist: Junior Stage only (30 min approx. ), Standard Stage only (60 min approx. ), and Full Version starting with Junior and then going directly to Standard stage (90 min approx.).

  1. Shadow hunters


    Japanese tabletop games


Yasutaka Ikeda designed Shadow Hunters, a social deduction game, which was first published by the Game Republic in Japan in 2005. In many ways, the style of this game is similar to the style found in Japanese anime and manga.

Each player is assigned a character belonging to one of three factions: Shadows who are supernatural creatures of the night, Hunters who are humans attempting to exterminate the Shadows, and Neutrals, unaffiliated characters caught up in the crossfire with individual victory conditions.

During the course of the game, each player must negotiate, use cards, and make guesses in order to uncover the identity of everyone else. The game ends when one or more players fulfill their victory conditions. At this point, all players who have achieved their objectives are declared winners, regardless of whether their factions are the same or even if they are still alive.

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