As a huge fan of Japan (just check out my Japan-related blog posts to see all of my posts regarding it), I’m sure there are plenty of other people who would eat, drink, and breathe Japan every day if that were a thing. Or at least I want to think I’m not alone. Enjoy this awesome list of Japanese themed board games and choose your Friday night fun with great ideas in mind.
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Editor’s choice – if you don’t have time to read the full post and just want to buy a gift for your quirky friend, check out this option:
Shinkansen Zero-Kei Board Game
Build your bullet train route and rule the Japanese world as you become the master of transportation. Similar to Ticket to Ride (that also has a Japan expansion, by the way), this game will surely be loved by your crowd.
The simple option – Just want a quick game to fill some 10-15-minute gaps? This is the right game for you:
A more complicated version of “Connect four”, this short game is perfect for two games players who want to play 3 to 4 games in a short time span. Check it out for a relaxed evening!
Japanese-themed strategy board games
It’s hard to say what a strategy game is, as any game requires some sort of planning. Check out the options below and let me know if I have categorized them correctly or not.
Onitama Base Bundle with Expansions
The award-winning, abstract strategy game of Onitama is what you need for an intense evening with a friend. Similar to chess, this game can be almost infinitely expanded due to the expansions available.
From the designer of 7 Wonders, this cool game is both easy to learn and full of strategic decisions to be made. It can be reused a lot as it has multiple expansions and a deluxe version available as well.
Iki is a challenging strategy game that will show you a year in the Edo period in Japan, making you hire artisans, tour markets, and collect goods.
If one of your friends were the bad one in a game, would you know straight away who it was? If you highly suspect you won’t, try this strategy game and you’ll definitely have loads of fun together.
This nice and short strategy game will keep your family occupied for 45 to 60 minutes at a time, as it will make you “fight” to gain the role of the best in the art class.
If you have ever been in love with a giant Panda (who hasn’t, am I right?) check out this cooperative game for 2-4 people, as you’ll get to be a bamboo farmer trying to keep a very hungry panda happy and full.
Fantasy Japan themed board games
Anime, fantasy, and similar themes can be extremely fun ideas for a board game, while also allowing you to strategize and plan your moves. Check out these special games that might make you fall in love unexpectedly.
King of Tokyo
This simple, 30-minute-long strategy game for 2-6 players brings you in front of some interesting characters fighting to rule Tokyo. Will the Space Penguin win after all?
Funko Godzilla Tokyo Clash
Choose your monster wisely as you fight with your friends for supremacy over Tokyo in this unique board game that will make, or break your friendships.
History and Strategy Japan-themed board games
Create your story, build a nation, or be part of the process as a loyal samurai in these historic games about a Japan we might never see again. Plan an intense evening and put your mind to work with these awesome, fun games.
Shogun big box
Just like in the 16th century in Japan, being the strongest Daimyo will get you the title of Shogun, the person with the most power in the country. Get 4 more friends with you and start a board game evening with this option.
Machi Koro Legacy
Enjoy this story-driven game as there won’t be two games the same. You’ll build your story every time you play and you’ll get to enjoy this family-oriented Japanese-themed board game even more.
Samurai Jack Back To The Past
Keep Jack safe and acquire Honor so you can finally defeat Aku, the Shape-shifting Master of Darkness. Gather allies, weapons, and traits and maybe you’ll get to be the one sending Jack to the past to change it…
Have your attention ready as this fast-moving game will leave you speechless in less than 20 minutes! Form alliances, strategize, and even bluff to get your way, and you’ll be a winner in no time!
Sekigahara: Unification of Japan
Dedicate an evening to this 3-hour strategy game and get to know some history in the process. Form an army, train it, and put it to good use for a higher purpose.
Sushi, ramen, and other games for foodies
If you would travel to Japan just to eat, this category is for you. Make your own sushi, stack maki pieces, and invent some new ramen recipes and you’ll be ordering Japanese food as fast as you can say “Konnichiwa”!
IUP OH! Sushi game
Get 10 games in one with this amazing sushi-themed set! You can play a different game every night and still find room to improve with this versatile board game set.
Sushi Royale Board Game
Be quick to become the best sushi chef in the area, as the rules can change at every moment and the whole game takes only 10 minutes. Talk about a fast-paced environment…
Hibachi Board Game
Add some movement to your board game evening by trying to satisfy your customers’ sushi delight and hunger. Choose your ingredients wisely and you’ll be the best Teppanyaki chef Japan has ever seen.
Sushi Go Party!
Gather around a group of up to 8 people for a sushi party they’ve never seen before. Make the correct combinations in this dynamic card game and you’ll have the menu you have dreamt about.
Ramen Fury Card Game
Create your delicious ramen bowl and watch the others throw in too many chilly peppers in this easy-to-play, fun card game. The game only takes 30 minutes to play but will make you order take-out really quickly!
Blue Orange Maki Stack
This entertaining party game will spice up your evenings with friends. Stack your sushi pieces correctly and use your fingers as chopsticks in this short and sweet game!
Japanese garden-themed board and card games
Who is not in love with Japanese gardens? Such tranquility, such peace and quiet, and so much beauty! Build your garden and enjoy these peaceful games for a quiet time with your loved ones.
Ohanami Card Game
This card game is fun, easy to learn, but hard to win. Unfortunately, it seems that the rules are in German, but they’re English versions available online as well.
Kanagawa Yokai Game
This expansion for the Kanagawa Game will not only bring you a few different elements to add to your paintings but also include Japanese daemons that will change the game completely.
Build your own Japanese garden in this awesome game that will boost your creativity. And if you get bored, there are 5 expansion tiles available to play right away.
Check out this award-winning way of building your award-winning Japanese garden. The Gods will not be merciful, but the most talented one will become the heir.
The One Hundred Torii
Transition into the sacred fields by passing through the torii gates of this garden, all while meeting poets, vendors, and even samurais
Hello Kitty – Japanese-themed board games
It might or might not be your cup of (matcha) tea, but Hello Kitty is a big part of Japanese modern culture. Get one (or more) of these classic games and enjoy a Hello Kitty spin on them.
Monopoly: Hello Kitty and Friends
Destroy all your friendships with this old, but gold game that’s known to guarantee fun and excitement. Have fun and enjoy the colors of this awesome take on a classic game.
Hello Kitty old maid
This card game is more geared towards children (ages 4 & up), but who am I to judge what you decide to play on a relaxed Friday evening?
UNO Hello Kitty & Friends
Another classic with a Hello Kitty vibe, enjoy this game for as long as you can convince your friends the rules are the ones you say. Because it’s known that the rules are whatever you convince them to be.
OMG, I cannot believe we have finally gotten to the end of this post. There are so many great options here, my only regret is that I really cannot buy all the Japanese-themed board games I would like to. Maybe I should open a board game library…