Play Hanafuda on your iPhone!

The popular amine Summer Wars has brought the traditional Japanese card game Hanafuda to the attention of more Japan-heads than ever before. Seriously. I’m not gonna lie. I wanted to learn how to play hanafuda simply because I saw it played on Summer Wars and thought it was a cool aspect of Japanese culture that I wanted to learn… Is there any shame in that?

Even though I don’t watch much Anime beyond Miyazaki Hayao stuff these days, I loved Summer Wars. Summer Wars is available on Amazon on DVD and Blue-ray, and I’m sure you can find clips on YouTube, so there’s no excuse not to check it out. Highly recommended.

As for Hanafuda, I looked around, and it turns out there’s an App for that! If you want to learn Hanafuda you can download the Free Hanafuda Lite, or purchase the full Hanafuda App for your iPhone or iPod Touch.

Hanafuda is a classic Japanese game played with special cards that depict nature, the seasons, and the months of the year. Literally 花札 (hanafuda) means “flower cards.” The individual plants on the cards represent the different seasons, for example the cards with Sakura represent March.

I’m not going to try to explain how to play hanafuda in detail here, I’m still figuring it out myself actually, but basically you match month cards from your hand to the pile or from the deck in order to attempt to put together special groups of cards to earn points. The app has a full explanation of how to play so you can study the rules right on your iPhone or iPod Touch.

The Free Version of Hanafuda for iPhone is still very complete and you can have a lot of fun with it. Get it!

Play 1 or 2 players over Bluetooth!
This is all animated beautifully.
Includes a manual explaining the game and its history.

Here’s the famous HANAFUDA scene from Summer Wars.

Links to the Apps:
HANAFUDA Japan Free – Japanese Traditional Card Game – Hidetoshi Hayakawa
HANAFUDA Japan – Japanese Traditional Card Game – Hidetoshi Hayakawa

And… as a special treat… the creator of HANAFUDA Japan, Mr. Hayakawa has given me eight promotion codes so that you JapanNewbie readers can download the FULL version of the App for free! Quick get downloading! To use the codes go to the iTunes Store, click REDEEM on the right-hand side in the quick links section. Each code can only be used once, so first come first served!

Download Codes!!!

ENJOY! and KOI KOI!!!!

Had any of you out there ever played Hanafuda before???


UPDATE: BTW, version 2.0 of this app is in the works, and it’s going to include multiplayer over the Internet!


  • I thought I’d try one, but no such luck.
    I got errors on all codes ;-(

  • I’ve heard of Summer Wars but never seen it and don’t really know what it’s about.

    Think I got into Hanafuda a number of months ago after learning go to play Igo and deciding that I wanted to learn more traditional Japanese games. I’ve always liked card games, so picked up a deck and asked my girlfriend to play with me.

    She played one particular version with her grandma when she was little, so that’s the one we played. Think it’s a variation of Hana awase, but the two other big ones are Hachi Hachi and Koi Koi.

    Anyway, fun stuff.

  • I think we should make clear that the game is not called Hanafuda, that’s just the name of the cards, so, one does not play “Hanafuda” but plays games WITH Hanafuda (flower cards). Just as many games are played with western 4 suit cards, many games are played with Hanafuda including Koi-koi, Hachi-hachi (88), Hana Awase, Mushi, Sudaoshi, Tensho, and Hachi.

    Koi Koi is by far the most popular and when people say let’s play Hanafuda, they usually mean Koi Koi.

    This app is the game Koi Koi.

  • We’ve just recently completed another Koi-Koi iPhone app. If you’re interested, check it out at

  • Hi I had being playing hanafudo a lot, what your player name? let’s play!?