One of the best ways to appreciate and celebrate the Hyakunin Isshu anthology (besides reading and reciting the poetry) is to play the traditional card game called karuta. I’ve written about it here and here before, but recently I found a good article on the Japan Times about a famous karuta store in Tokyo that has been selling karuta cards for 90 years.
According to their website they are:
- 3-min walk from Jimbocho Sta.(A4 exit)
- 7-min walk from JR Suidobashi Sta.(east exit)
The Jinbocho Station is the nearest one though. There also seems to be a good curry house right next door, and Japanese curry is pretty awesome, so next time I go, I will probably go visit both. 😉
But what if you can’t afford to go to Japan, and just want to get a set of Hyakunin Isshu cards yourself. There are options to buy them online, but the quality may vary and shipping is somewhat expensive:
- You can buy from Amazon JP, which is bi-lingual (look for the in English button at the top, and ships almost anywhere.
- You can buy from Rakuten, an online shop in Japan. Rakuten sometimes has better selection, but the ordering process is a little more difficult for non-native Japanese speakers. Price will be roughly the same.
- White Rabbit Express is a special service that will find and ship things you request. It’s more expensive, but if you’re a little shy, it might be well worth it.
Good luck and happy card hunting!