This is a list of desktop/laptop websites where you can play shogi. If you’re looking specifically for smartphone apps, see our Shogi Apps page.
Play against a computer
- Hamu (short for “hamster”) Shogi is a fast and easy way to play shogi against a computer. No registration or login is required. Based upon your strength, you can adjust the handicap level to whatever is comfortable to you. And if you have a smartphone browser that has Flash (such as FlashFox), you can also play Hamu Shogi on your phone. Although the menus are in Japanese, it’s pretty easy to figure out – just click on “平手” (top-left) to play a normal game without handicap.
Turn-based (versus human)
Turn-based online shogi allows you to play games that aren’t “live” – you make a move, and then your opponent is sent a message that it’s their turn to move. Games are played over the course of days (or even weeks). Turn-based games generally do not have time limits – thus they are beneficial for people learning shogi, as the player is not rushed to make a move.
- If learning the Chinese characters (or “kanji“) that are written on shogi pieces is difficult, Brain King allows you to use pieces with Roman letters and movement arrows. Some people prefer to learn shogi this way.
- Game Courier offers several different kinds of shogi graphic interfaces, including Japanese kanji and chess-like symbols. For the adventurous, it offers more than 700 chess variants – including numerous types of shogi, such as chu shogi (or “medium-sized shogi”, which is larger than normal shogi).
- Yet another turn-based site, be warned that Gold Token actually does have time limits (although these are measured in days, not minutes). The shogi pieces use Japanese kanji with a small Roman letter in the lower-right corner as a reminder for beginners.
Real-time (versus human)
Once your shogi skills become stronger, it is useful to test your ability in real-time (or “live”) online games. These games have time limits (known as byoyomi in Japanese). If you were to play in a competitive in-person tournament, your matches would be timed – so it can be useful to gain experience and become comfortable playing timed matches.
- 81Dojo is truly excellent. It is the first shogi-exclusive international online playing website, and features alluring graphics. You can rewind live matches to review past moves, and save game records (kifu) for later review in offline shogi software. You can choose various time limits and handicaps, and there is a post-match analysis mode (including the ability to draw arrows) that is helpful for review at the completion of a match. 81Dojo is meant to be a truly international website, so you will find users from around the world. The website is regularly updated with new features and improved graphics/sound. The only downside to 81Dojo (compared to Shogi Club 24) is that it has much fewer users, and finding a similarly-skilled opponent may be difficult for beginners – most players are better than 10-kyu. However, the site’s popularity is expanding quickly and the number of users is steadily growing.
- Account registration advice: Shogi Club 24 prevents people from registering for accounts using “free” email address domains (such as Gmail, Yahoo, etc.). You can email their webmaster (firstname.lastname@example.org) to request a new account. Please include your preferred username, strength/ranking (“15k” if you’re a beginner), locality, and a brief profile if desired.
- This is the desktop/laptop (PC) version of the popular app ShogiWars (see our Shogi Apps page for the phone version). Unfortunately it is only in Japanese. This is for intermediate (or stronger) players: the skill level is fairly high, and the time clock is fairly short. You can play three games free each day without having to pay. (Installation of the Unity Web Player is required in order to access ShogiWars on your PC browser.)