Learn How to Play Japanese Shogi


Article by Hayley Hyer

Photography by Stock Images

Maybe you can't travel to Japan right now, but you can learn how to play a classic Japanese game! Shogi is very similar to chess, but it is a little more complex. Also, the pieces have the names written in Japanese characters, so if you don't know the language, keeping track of which one is which is more challenging.

If you're looking for ways to exercise your brain, learning how to play Shogi is a fun way to do it.

Unique Features of Shogi

From AncientChess.com

  1. The opposing armies are not indicated by different colors, but by orientation on the board. Note that each piece always points toward the opponent.
  2. All of the pieces, except for the king and gold (described below), may promote to gain new powers. The promoted value is on the flip side of the piece, and is often shown in red calligraphy, usually written in a cursive style.
  3. What makes shogi truly unique among chess forms is this: On a player’s turn to move, he may, instead of moving one of the pieces on the board, choose to place one of the pieces he has captured back into play.

READ MORE: How to Play Shogi

Apps to Learn How to Play

I'm guessing you don't have a shogi board just lying around in your house! So before you buy one, you can first learn how to play on an app. These are great because they have options to have the computer show you where you can move each piece and walk you through how to play until you get the hang of it.

Classic Shogi Game on the App Store

Shogi Free on Google Play Store

Shop Shogi Sets

If you get totally hooked and want to play shogi on a real board (even to just practice new strategies by yourself), here are some beautiful options that would look great in your house.

Follow Hayley Hyer @hayhyer

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