The Way Of Tori Shogi

Miyamoto Musashi's Approach

Tori Shogi Playing Pieces

Game Piece2

“It’s not enough to have weapons, one must know each weapon well and handle it expertly to get the most from it.” — Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings

The Meaning of Tori

Tori translates to “bird.” All the pieces in Tori Shogi are named after birds. Two pieces have familiar moves:

  • Tori Shogi Swallow = Shogi Pawn
  • Tori Shogi Phoenix = Shogi King or Chess King


The Phoenix is named after the mythical bird; all other Tori Shogi pieces are named for natural birds:

  • Swallow, which promotes to Goose
  • Falcon, which promotes to Eagle
  • Crane
  • Pheasant
  • Quail


The movements of some of these pieces mirror pieces from Chu Shogi, which was developed in the 1300s, more than 100 years before Chess.

  • Tori Shogi Falcon = Chu Shogi Drunk Elephant
  • Tori Shogi Crane = Chu Shogi Ferocious Leopard


The remaining pieces have unique movements. What’s more, the Left Quail moves differently than the Right Quail.

Playing With Material Pieces

It’s vital to have a physical set to play on. Maria Montessori said, “The hand is the instrument of intelligence. The child needs to manipulate objects and to gain experience by touching and handling.” Working with physical pieces reinforces familiarity with their different sizes and the Kanji designs. Many online gamers have physical sets to study and play “What if?”

Tori Shogi Pieces and Boards

While obtaining Shogi sets can be challenging enough; finding Tori Shogi sets is rare. It can be tragic to know a game and have a book but no set to play any games on.


Game-PieceWe are delighted to announce that we now have playable sets available at The pieces are constructed from sturdy matte board, and the Kanji matches the diagrams in the book for easy reference. The playing boards are constructed of durable 65 lb. cardstock.


We are working on additional sources for Tori Shogi pieces and boards. We will keep you posted as we pursue manifold opportunities to enjoy this exciting game to its fullest.


Jinsei o ajiwau

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