Hanafuda 花札 [はなふだ], lit. “flower cards,” are Japanese playing cards used to play a wide variety of games, similarly to the standard Western playing card format. Unlike Western cards, which consist of 4 suits of 13 cards each, however, the standard hanafuda deck consists of 12 suits of 4 cards each.
Each individual suit, said to represent a month of the year, is themed around a particular plant, and has its own distribution of card types. For instance, the Pine suit has one Bright card, one Poetry Ribbon, and two Chaff, whereas the Willow suit has one Bright, one Plain Ribbon, one Animal, and one Chaff. This asymmetrical suit structure is taken advantage of in many games, whose strategies revolve around capturing specific yaku [役 - やく] of cards within and across typess and suits.
The following chart displays the cards in their standard order and categorization; note however that other suit arrangements and categorizations of cards exist, depending on the game in question.