Japanese for Flower Cards, Hanafuda is a traditional deck of playing cards over three centuries old. A deck contains 48 cards, with four cards for each month of the year, January through December. Each month is represented by a characteristic flower. The cards shown here were drawn by SuperJer and based on Nintendo's Hanafuda decks, which incidentally the company has been selling since 1889.
You can view the whole deck of Hanafuda cards in order by month, and by type.
Koi-Koi is one of the most popular and fun games played using a Hanafuda deck. It is traditionally a gambling game but also makes for a great family game.
How to play Koi-Koi
The rules of play in Koi-Koi are very simple. The scoring on the other hand is not as simple. These rules are for 2 players.
To score the most points by capturing sets of cards (called yakus) during each of 12 rounds.
To start a round, deal 4 cards to your opponent face-down, then 4 to the table face-up, then 4 to yourself face-down. Repeat the process for a total of 8 cards per player and 8 on the table.
The dealer always gets the first turn.
On your turn
On your turn, you must play one card to the table from your hand. If it matches the month (or flower) of a table card, you capture both, and place them face-up in front of you. If it could match more than one card, you must choose the pair to capture and leave the remaining card.
To finish your turn, draw a new card. This card is played to the table immediately. If it matches a card already on the table, you capture. Then it is your opponent's turn.
The round ends when you capture the correct cards to form a yaku (see scoring below). As an example, the Boar, Deer, and Butterflies form a 3-card yaku worth 5 points. The player is awarded points for all yakus he/she has formed. Sometimes more than one can be formed at a time. The player also becomes the dealer for the next round.
Upon completing a yaku, the player can optionally "Go Koi-Koi" and continue the game, hoping to form extra yakus. Two things can happen from here:
- If the player successfully forms another yaku before anyone else, he/she is awarded the points for all the yakus he/she has formed.
- If the opponent forms a yaku first, the "Gone Koi-Koi" player loses everything for the round. Additionally, the opponent scores double on his/her yaku(s).
Sometimes odd things happen. Here's what to do.
- If all 4 cards of the same month are dealt to the table, shuffle and re-deal.
- If 3 cards of the same month are dealt to the table, stack them up. Whoever plays the fourth card captures all four.
- If you are dealt all 4 cards of the same month, the round is over and you score 6 points.
- If you are dealt 4 pairs of matching cards, the round is over and you score 6 points.
- If no one has formed a yaku after all cards are captured, the round is a draw and everyone scores no points.
As soon as a player completes one of these yakus, he/she can either call (end) the round or go Koi-Koi (continue).
All five of the Light cards shown directly to the right.
|Dry Four Lights|
The four Light cards not including the Rainman card.
|Rainy Four Lights|
Any four Light cards which does include the Rainman card.
|Dry Three Lights|
Any three Light cards without the Rainman.
Any five Earth cards. Additional Earth cards score 1 point each.
|Boar, Deer, Butterflies|
This yaku includes three specific Earth cards: the Boar, the Deer, and the Butterflies as shown to the right.
The Moon and the Cup, shown at right.
The Curtain and the Cup, shown at right.
Any five Scroll cards. Additional Scrolls score 1 point each.
|All Poetry Scrolls|
All three of the red Scrolls with writing. Additional Scrolls score 1 point each.
|All Purple Scrolls|
All three of the purple Scrolls. Additional Scrolls score 1 point each.
Any ten Junk cards. Additional Junk cards score 1 point each.
- Five Lights, Dry Four Lights, Rainy Four Lights, and Dry Three Lights do not stack. Only award points from one of these yakus at a time.
- Five Scrolls does not stack with the other Scroll yakus. It only counts if it is the only Scroll yaku formed.
- All other yakus can be scored cumulatively.
- The Cup can be counted both as an Earth card and as a Junk card simultaneously.
- If your score is 7 or more after totalling your yakus, double it.
- If another player went Koi-Koi and then you beat them to the next yaku, double your score (again).
- Some players choose not to count Moon Viewing and Blossom Viewing as yakus because they are very easy to collect.
- The Lightning card (fourth card for November, and shown to the right), can be considered a wild card. In this case it will match any table card for capturing, but does not affect scoring.
- It should be noted that there are many variations to this game in terms of which cards constitute a yaku and how much they score. In Japanese tradition many families have their own rules for the game that are passed down through the generations.