How to Play Tokaido (Rules and Instructions)

Taste the authentic cuisine, soak in the relaxing Hot Springs, and capture the breathtaking landscape of Japan in this beautifully crafted game of Tokaido! 

Tokaido, by Funforge, was released in 2012 and has sold almost half a million copies to date! Its mellow gameplay and simple yet vibrant art catches the eye of experienced and new gamers alike.

The word “Tokaido” briefly translates to “Eastern Sea Road” and is one of the five main roads used for travel during the Edo Period in Japan and could take roughly 2-3 weeks to travel by foot.

In the game of Tokaido, you become a traveler on this ancient road with the goal of experiencing as much as possible by the time your journey is over. If you’re interested in traveling to Japan or simply want a relaxing game to play with friends or family, learn how to play Tokaido below!

What is Tokaido the Board Game?

Tokaido Board Game Info image

Tokaido is an easy-to-learn family game that allows players to become Travelers on the old Tokaido road. During their travels, they will pick up souvenirs, make donations to temples, visit farms and inns, and more! 

Travelers collect points during the journey, but there will also be additional points given when the game ends. These extra points are based on the Traveler’s individual achievements that have been accomplished throughout gameplay.

The Traveler with the most points after the Achievement cards have been awarded is the winner of Tokaido!

Number of Players: 2-5

Ages: 8+

Difficulty: Easy

Length of Play: 45 minutes

Category: Travel, Worker Placement, Collecting, End Game Bonuses, Family

Similar to: King of Tokyo, Tokyo Metro, Ticket to Ride

Main Objective: Explore one of the oldest roads from the Edo Period and be the player to obtain the most experiences and souvenirs from your journey!

Why We Love It: Tokaido provides an overall feeling of relaxation. The refreshingly simple artwork and gameplay prevents new players from feeling overwhelmed.

What You’ll Need to play Tokaido

Everything you need to play Tokaido can be found in the box:

Here are all of the components you will find in the base game of Tokaido:

  • 1 Game board
  • 5 Traveler pawns
  • 5 Travel point markers
  • 5 Player color tokens (bags)
  • 50 Coins
  • 10 Traveler tiles
  • 12 Hot Springs cards
  • 60 Panorama cards
  • 25 Meal cards
  • 24 Souvenir cards
  • 14 Encounter cards
  • 7 Achievement cards
  • 1 Rulebook

Tokaido Rules

Game Setup

Unfold the game board and place it in your play area.

  1. Place the Achievement cards face-up near the game board.
  2. Shuffle each of the following decks separately and place them face down on their correlating space on the game board:
  • Meal cards (red)
  • Souvenir cards (black)
  • Encounter cards (purple)
  • Hot Spring cards (light blue)
  1. Take the Panorama cards and sort them by Paddy, Mountain, and Sea. Then, sort each pile by their value in ascending order, face up, making sure the lowest value is at the top of the pile, and highest value is at the bottom.

Once these steps are complete, place the Panorama decks in their reserved spaces on the bottom right of the game board. 

  1. Place the coins in the play area within reach of all players.
  2. Each player chooses a colored Traveler pawn, as well as the matching colored marker and bag token. Place your colored marker on the start of the scoring track at the top of the game board.
  3. Each player randomly picks up two Traveler tiles. They each choose one of the two tiles to use throughout the game and return the remaining tiles to the box.

Traveler tiles provide you a specific Traveler to play as during the game. Each Traveler provides a special ability to help you during gameplay, so choose wisely!

  1. The players can now place their colored bag token into the top left hole of the Traveler tile they chose. Then, each player collects the amount of coins depicted on the top right of their Traveler tile.
  2. Lastly, place all of the Traveler pawns in a line at random on the 1st inn on the game board (Kyoto).

How to Play Tokaido

On the start of your turn, you will move your Traveler to any available space on the road and perform an action determined by that specific location. Here is an overview of how to play Tokaido, including movement rules and what landing on each space entails:

Turn Order and Movement

During a game of Tokaido, turn order is based on the position of your Traveler. The Traveler who is positioned farthest back on the road will always be the first to take their turn.

This will allow Travelers to take multiple turns in a row until they are no longer the farthest back Traveler on the road. 

If there are two Travelers on the same destination along the road, the Traveler who is on the space farthest from the road will go first.

Similarly, when arriving at a destination that allows for more than one Traveler, the first Traveler to arrive will occupy the space located on the road, and any Traveler to arrive afterward will take the space farthest from the road and so on.

You can move your Traveler to any space that is available before the next Inn. All Travelers MUST stop at every Inn and cannot leave the Inn until all players have arrived.

NOTE: Double spaces (locations that have more than one space for Travelers) are to only be used in a game with 4-5 players, with the exception of the Inn spaces.

Meeples Image

Location Descriptions

The following is a description for each space you can land on and what actions you can perform while your Traveler is there:


Draw 3 Souvenir cards from the Village deck and place them face up in front of you. You may purchase one of these cards by spending the gold value listed on that card. 

The two unpurchased Souvenir cards are returned to the bottom of the Village deck.

There are 4 different categories of Souvenirs: 

  • Small Objects
  • Clothing
  • Art
  • Food/Drinks 

Your goal is to create a “set” of Souvenirs by collecting one Souvenir from each of the four categories. The Souvenir cards have specific scoring rules, as follows:

Scoring with Souvenir cards:

  • The 1st Souvenir you collect will score you 1 point, no matter which category it is from.
  • If the 2nd Souvenir you collect is from a different category than the first, you will score 3 points for that card. 
  • If the 3rd Souvenir you collect is from a different category than the other 2, you will score 5 points for that card.
  • Once you collect the 4th souvenir from the last category, you will collect 7 points for that card.
  • If you collect additional Souvenirs from the same category, they will only count for 1 point each.
  • These points are applied immediately, and the Souvenir card is added to that player’s collection.
  • You can make multiple sets of Souvenirs!

NOTE: You cannot stop at a Village unless you have at least 1 gold. It is not necessary to purchase a Souvenir card if you do not want to.


Collect 3 coins upon arrival! There is no limit to how many coins you can collect throughout the game.


Capture the beauty of Japan by stopping at one of the Panorama spots on the road! There are 3 different Panorama spaces on the road: Mountain, Sea, and Paddy.

When you stop on either of these spaces, you will pick up the corresponding Panorama card on the bottom right of the game board. If it is your first time on that spot, you will pick up the corresponding Panorama card with the “1” listed on it.

If it’s your second time visiting that type of Panorama space, you will pick up the “2” card and so on until you complete an entire Panorama set of that type.

Each time a Panorama card is picked up, that Traveler immediately scores the amount of points listed on the card.

NOTE: During the journey, if a Traveler is the first to complete one of the Panorama sets, they will immediately gain the Achievement card for that particular Panorama. This achievement card provides them 3 points which can be applied immediately.

Hot Spring

Pick up a Hot Spring card from the corresponding deck. Add this card to your collection and immediately score the number of points indicated on the card.


When landing on this space, that player must donate either 1, 2, or 3 coins.

You will immediately gain points equal to how many coins you have donated. You cannot donate more than 3 coins per Temple space.

At the Temple itself, located on the top left of the game board, you will place your gold donation on the color that matches your Traveler. At the end of the game, players will receive extra points based on how much they donated.

NOTE:  If you do not have any coins, you cannot stop at the Temple.


Reveal the top card of the Encounters deck. The Encounters deck is filled with people you’ll meet during your travels, and they will grant you a random effect that you must perform immediately. 

These effects can let a Traveler collect coins, points, Panorama cards, Souvenir’s, etc. When the Encounter’s effect has been completed, add the card to your collection.


When arriving at an Inn and you are the first Traveler to arrive:

  • Stay at the space located on the road.
  • Draw Meal cards equal to the amount of Travelers, plus 1.
  • Look at these Meal cards without showing them to your playmates.
  • Purchase a card of your choice and add that card to your collection. Immediately score points equal to the amount listed on that card.
  • This player must wait to move again until ALL other players have arrived and left the Inn.

Travelers that arrive after the first will position their pawn on the next available Inn space closest to the road and so on. The Travelers will then take turns, in order of arrival, to decide on which Meal card they would like to purchase.

Travelers will immediately gain the amount of points depicted on the Meal card they just purchased and then add that card to their collection.

This repeats until all players have arrived at the Inn and selected a Meal card. The remaining unpurchased Meal cards get placed at the bottom of the Meal card deck. 

Important: All Travelers must stop at every Inn on the road. A Traveler cannot taste the same meal twice and can only purchase 1 Meal card per Inn they visit. The Traveler is not required to purchase a Meal card at the Inn if they desire not to.

Cards Image

How to Win a Game of Tokaido

When all of the Travelers have arrived at the final Inn (Edo) and collected their last Meal cards, the game comes to an end!

Travelers will now be rewarded with the following Achievement cards:

  • Gourmet: Traveler with the highest sum of coins on their Meal cards.
  • Bather: Traveler with the most Hot Spring cards.
  • Chatterbox: Traveler with the most Encounter cards.
  • Collector: Traveler with the most Souvenir cards.

Each of these Achievement cards provide that Traveler an additional 3 points, which will be applied immediately.

NOTE: If any players are tied for first in either Achievement category, each player will be awarded that Achievement (3 points each).

The Traveler with the most points after the Achievements are rewarded is the winner!

Tokaido Video Tutorial 

Frequently Asked Questions

What does Tokaido mean?

Tokaido is a Japanese word and translates roughly to “Eastern Sea Road.” This road connects Kyoto to Edo (now called Tokyo) and was one of the most commonly traveled routes in the Edo Period.

Is Tokaido only a board game?

While the preferred way to play Tokaido is in its physical form, it is also available as a mobile app and on Steam for PC gaming.

Can Tokaido be played with only 2 players?

Yes, in fact, Tokaido has special game rules when there are only 2 players. A “neutral” traveler is added to provide an additional challenge, and you cannot have more than one player on a location at a time (unless they’re at an Inn).

Expansions for Tokaido

Thanks to the popularity of Tokaido, there are currently two expansions available:

Both of these expansions can be played together with the base game, but you cannot play the Matsuri expansion without the Crossroads expansion.

Namiji is a standalone game that is described as the next chapter in the Tokaido universe. It has been fully funded through Kickstarter in 2019 and should be released in 2022!

Other Similar Games to Tokaido (Our Guides)

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