Shiritori is a great game that you can play with other speakers of Japanese whether they are native or not so native. It’s often played in grade school in Japan, so most native Japanese speakers will know how to play it right off the bat. Another good thing is that it doesn’t actually require you to have any materials of any kind, so you can play it while waiting in line for something or on a long car ride.

One other aspect of this game is that you can learn new vocabulary from your friends and nobody has to crack a dictionary. It will also reinforce your understanding of the word if you have to explain it to a friend that hasn’t heard it yet. This can make for a fairly painless learning experience.

I usually play it while waiting in lines at theme parks, which I love to visit. It can make that hour in line fly by. So, the next time you are with a friend that knows Japanese, give it a try.


1) Start out by saying a word in Japanese.

2) The next person in line has to say a word that begins with the same mora as the last mora of the word you said. So for example,

Player 1: きれい (pretty)
Player 2: いたい (painful)

3) Keep playing until you run out of ideas. One rule to keep in mind is that no word can end with the ん sound because no words in Japanese begin with the ん sound.

4) For added difficulty, players can say the word and then use the word in a sentence to check usage.