*Cards are 5.5 x 3.5 cm or 2.2 x 1.4 inches and are made of durable plastic.
*"Hanafuda" are Japanese playing cards. The name means "flower cards." They're printed on tiny pasteboards, about 2-1/2 inches by 1 inch. They have suites with things like the moon, plum blossoms, bush clover, and pine trees. Some of the card designs are quite beautiful, with things like deer in a maple forest, birds flying across a full moon, or irises in the rain. We played a game called koi-koi, which is a simple matching game. You pick up cards on the table by matching them to cards of the same suite in your hand. You try to get the highest scoring cards, and simple design changes on the cards, like a colored ribbon as part of the design, indicate the value of cards. It's mostly luck, or at least that's what I told myself as Mariko wiped me out in short order. If I had won, then I would have opined that koi-koi is a game of skill, of course." - Ken Tanaka, from The Toyotomi Blades Viewed as "typically" Japanese, Hanafuda cards were actually introduced by the Spanish in the 1500's (just as the "typical" Japanese dish, Tempura, was actually introduced by the Portuguese!). Just as with Western cards, a variety of games can be played with the cards. To shuffle them, you place them face down on a table or floor and scramble them around, although a skilled player can also shuffle them in his or her hands, as with Western playing cards. Although Western card games like Poker and Bridge are very popular in Japan, almost any Japanese and most Japanese Americans can identify hanafuda cards, even if they don't know how to play a game with them.
Please visit http://www.hanafubuki.org/cards.html for more information on Hanafuda cards.