Hanafuda (Flower Cards) are playing cards that originated in Japan and have been used to hundreds of years. With them, you can play a number of games, such as Hachi-Hachi, Mushi, Hana Awase, and Koi-Koi.

This book explains the rules of Koi-Koi, the most popular of Hanafuda games. It can have from 2 to 7 players at a time.


  Pretty much the objective of the game is to gain more points than the other player(s). To do this, players must try to form ‘yaku’, or special card combinations that accumulate in a point pile.

  One full game is either made up of 6 or 12 months, or you can think of them as rounds. The winner of the game is the one with the most points at the end. 

Determining the Dealer 

  Each player draws a single card from the deck, and the player who draws a card from the earliest month is the dealer, and also gets the first move in the game. 

   If both/all of the players get the same month, then the highest point wins. But if the points are equal as well, then the players redraw.  

Dealing Cards

  8 cards go to each player face down and 8 cards go on the table face up. The rest are put face down in the drawing pile,


*If a player is dealt a full suit (all 4 cords from a month), that player automatically wins that round and is dealt 6 points. Afterwards the next round is started.

Player’s Turn (pay attention!) 

When the player’s turn comes up, they do the following sequence:

i. Matching Hands

ii. Matching From Draw Pile

iii. Claiming Cards

iv. Koi Koi or Stop

i. Matching Hands

The player is to match any card from his hand to a card on the table with the same month. If a card in the players hand doesn’t match a card on the table, it is simply kept on the table.

If there are 2 cards on the table that are the same month of the card the players selects, then the player is to choose one of the 2 to claim. But if there are 3 cards on the table that have the same month  of the card the player selects, then the player claims all 4 cards of that month.  

ii. Matching From Draw Pile

The player draws one card from the pile and places it face up on the table. If it matches any card on the table, then the player claims the match. All the rules from -i. Matching Hands - apply. 

iii. Claiming Cards

If matched cards exist by procedures 1. and ii., a player claims the cards in their point piles.The player should create piles for the following: Brights, Tens, Ribbons, and Chaffs.

Once a Yaku has been formed in their point piles, they can either call ‘Koi-Koi’, or ‘Stop’

iv. Koi-Koi or Stop (The Interesting Stuff)

If the player calls ‘Stop’, then the player gains all of the points they’ve earned from the formed Yaku. That round then ends and next one begins.

If the player believes that they will be able to from more Yaku for more points, then they may call ‘Koi-Koi’ (Keep Going) to continue the round and attempt to gain more points. However, if the opponent is able to form a yaku before the player (who called Koi-Koi), then the opponent’s score is doubled.

So in other words, calling Stop is a safe bet, but could result in less points. Calling Koi-Koi can get you a higher score, but it’s much riskier and your opponent has the chance to steal your win! So make sure to think about the best option before you call either one! 

Explanation of Yaku

The point of Koi-Koi is to form special card combinations called ‘Yaku’ from the cards claimed in their point pile. Yaku has two sub classes, Dealt Yaku, which is a Yaku a player is dealt before the game begins, or Formed Yaku, which is one formed during the players turn. 


Pen&Ink + Colored Pencil on Wood
Inspired by a song of the same name by Kokia