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Cheap games to buy and enjoy during your Japan trips

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By cinnamonellie, grape Japan

Let’s say you are planning a trip with your friends and want to stay a few days in Japan; you pack up, you have a great itinerary, you get back to your room, but feel like doing something and sleeping just isn’t it.

Most hotels have a souvenir shop downstairs and they have a wide range of interesting games available at an affordable price.

Before your trip, you can also go to a toy store, Daiso or any 100-yen shop and buy a few games you and your friends can play while having fun and drinking a cup of local sake.

Here are some of my main recommendations:

Jinsei Game/Life Game (人生ゲーム)

Jinsei Game is a board game, also known as the game of life/Life in America.

There is a difference, however, as the player starts from being a toddler and climbing up the stairs of adulthood, getting into school, university or starting his career.


Some of you might be familiar with Karuta because of the famous manga and anime “Chihayafuru” that has also been adapted into a live-action movie featuring the popular actress, Hirose Suzu.

Karuta is a card game with two sets of cards: reading cards (yomifuda) and the grabbing cards set (torifuda).

There are many types of Karuta besides the one being featured in Chihayafuru, the “100 Hundred Poems” Karuta.

There are flower Karuta, letters karuta, animals karuta and rather easy, but super interesting packages of cards you can play even without knowing how to read Japanese.


Jenga is a game based on physical and mental skills that have become quite popular worldwide, therefore many of you reading the article might already be accustomed to the rules.

All you need to do is remove the blocks from the tower, but as easy as it seems, keeping the tower not to fall, can turn out to be quite a challenge.

There are many designs of Jenga and some even have bits truth or dare incorporated and that makes the game more fun!

Nose Nose Chair Game (乗せ乗せチェアーゲーム)

Photo: cinnamonellie

The rules are simple: you have mini chairs and all you need to do is take turns and put it on top of each other (nose nose/乗せ乗せ comes means put on). The person that makes the chairs fall is the loser.

Bo Taoshi (棒倒し)

Bo Taoshi translates as knocking down the sticks.

You’ll have a few colorful sticks and you need to put them in a circle.

Then, by taking turns, you need to take it out without making it collapse. Super fun to play with your friends and family.

Mame Tsukami Game

In the package, you usually have a few small plates, chopsticks and mame (beans). Tsukami means to grab, so what you will need to do is compete against each other and see how many beans you can get on your plates within a few seconds. The one that gets more is the winner.

Another good thing about this game is that you’ll get to master the art of using chopsticks and who knows? Maybe at some point, you’ll get so good you can even catch the flies as Miyagi san did in "The Karate Kid."

Those are my 6 recommendations of games and besides enjoying it while you are here, you can also take it back home as great souvenirs and gather everyone to play now and then.

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© grape Japan

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Jenga isn't a Japanese game though right?

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