Hanafuda

I bumped into a mention of Hanafuda, the Japanese flower cards in Pagat. I didn’t react until Yesterday, when I saw a book about it in a local library. I borrowed it and now I’m definitely fascinated.

Hanafuda cards are quite beautiful, small cards. They don’t have numbers like the western playing cards. Instead, the 48-card deck consists of twelve suits, one for each month. The cards have pictures of flowers related to the different months: January has pine, March has cherry and so on. The cards have different values so that each suit has a high card (20 or 10 points), another high card (10 or 5 points) and low cards (one point). It takes some practise to remember the cards!

Games played on these cards are mostly fishing games. Hachi-hachi (eighty-eight) is said to be the best. I don’t know, I haven’t tried. It seems a bit like Mahjong as it has lots of special hands and special combinations you must know. Seems a bit luck-heavy, but that’s probably just fine.

Now I only have to find myself some Hanafuda cards. So, if anyone has a clue where I could get myself a pack or two (preferably in Finland or in EU), drop me an e-mail or place a comment here.

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7 thoughts on “Hanafuda”

  1. http://www.playingcardsales.co.uk is the place to go. Despite the UK domain, they are based in France and ship everywhere. They have Hanafunda cards in stock.
    I like Italian cards, the short regional decks are beautiful. Apparently Scopone is the most common fishing game played with them, but I have not had a chance to play it yet.

  2. What an interesting web site… It’s a pity only so few decks have pictures. If he has a shop somewhere, I’d like to visit it. Unfortunately the Hanafuda cards are fairly expensive… Well, maybe one day…
    Playing cards in general are something you take for granted, really… But last time I bought some, I actually paid attention to what I was buying (that was after some really bad experiences with cheap flappy plastic cards that smelled real bad) and I got myself better cards with beautiful, more modern pictures.

  3. There are cards on eBay for about $10 USD with $1.95 Continental shipping. I got a pack, and they are the standard set you see everywhere on the net. Thick paper.

  4. Hanafuda

    I heard about an interesting site yesterday on rec.games.playing-cards, all about Japanese traditional Hanafuda cards and the games that can be played with them. (Mikko also mentions them.) The website and the cards look great. Unfortunately they are p…

  5. Hanafuda

    I heard about an interesting site yesterday on rec.games.playing-cards, all about Japanese traditional Hanafuda cards and the games that can be played with them. (Mikko also mentions them.) The website and the cards look great. Unfortunately they are p…

  6. It’s “Hanafuda : The Flower Card Game”. It’s published in 1982 and it’s ISBN is 0-87040-430-X. Amazon says it’s published by Kodansha. There’s no information on the author.
    Hope that helps.

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