More about Karuta

Karuta in Japan

  • Karuta is an educational game. Japanese schools use karuta as a teaching tool to expand children’s knowledge around karuta themes while having fun playing.
  • Karuta is a traditional but active game in Japan. New themed Karuta cards show up every year and Karuta game competitions have been held at school, in communities nationwide in Japan.
  • There are two types such as “uta-Karuta ” and “iroha-Karuta

About uta-Karuta

  • “uta-Karuta ” is typically played with clue(5 line poem) cards and the matched cards of the last 2 lines of the poem. “
  • Hyakunin Isshu Karuta is a well-known uta-Karuta using 100 clue cards with 100 classical poems by 100 poets.
  • Hyakunin Isshu Karuta is played by children at elementary/junior high school level as part of lliteracy curriculum.
  • The competition using Hyakunin Isshu Karuta has been held nationwide and national championship tournament is held every January.


  • Iroha is a kind of Japnaese alphabetical 46 letters.
  • iroha-Karuta is played with 46 clue cards and the matched 46 answer(picture) cards.
  • The first letter of each clue is typically printed on the corner of the answer card.
  • Iroha-Karuta can be made around any theme so there are hundres different themed iroha-Karuta in Japan. ex. history, language, geogarphy, cartoons, food, environment.
  • The famous iroha-Karuta is of a theme of proverbs.played with for 46 clue and 46 answer cards.

Kyoudo Karuta (an iroha-Karuta)

  • Another popular iroha-Karuta is Kyodo Karuta (hometown Karuta) depicting scenes on local landmarks, food,festivals, natural environment.
  • The local groups often create Kyodo karuta with the aim of educating children and reinforcing, strengthening community spirit through people coming together to take part in Karuta tournaments.
  • There is over 1000 Kyodo Karuta representing various areas of nationwide Japan.
  • The most famous Kyodo Karuta is Jomo Karuta in Gunma, north to Tokyo. They have held Karutatournament on prefectural level since 1947.