Tosenkyo: get your fans at the ready

02 Jun 2017 in Have Fun

Got a good aim? Then try your hand at Tosenkyo, Japan’s traditional fan-throwing game. Discover how and where you can play.

tosenkyo-atami

Throwing a fan at a stationary object may sound simple. But an open fan can fly in unpredictable ways, and a successful throw can take plenty of practice – and luck!

In the Japanese game of Tosenkyo, two opponents kneel either side of a target called a cho (meaning butterfly), which is perched on top of a wooden box, the makura. Each opponent is the same distance from the cho – somewhere between 5 and 10 feet, depending on the house rules. One by one, the players take it in turn to throw an open fan at the target, trying to dislodge it from the makura stand.

Japanese geishas

If you don’t touch the cho or the makura, you get zero points. But, beyond that, scoring gets complicated! There are any number of possible scores depending on where the cho falls, whether you touch the makura, and how the fan lands.

The best throw possible? If the cho falls on the floor and the fan is touching both the cho and the makura when it lands. It’s worth 100 points. The worst throw? Knock over the makura, and you’ll lose 35 points!

Geigi in Japan

Atami ryokan in Japan

Tosenkyo is a favourite at geisha parties – and, at Hoshino Resorts KAI Atami, you can test your Tosenkyo skills with a geisha overseeing the game. The city of Atami is famous for its geisha, known locally as geigi, and the resort organizes evening Tosenkyo games with a visiting geigi.

Best of all, the geigi will keep the score for you – meaning you won’t have to decipher the complicated scoring rules!

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