A deck consists of 200 cards. One hundred cards (yomifuda) have pictures and the text of an ancient Japanese poem (waka). The other hundred (torifuda) just have the final verse of the waka.
More than one game can be played with the deck, but the primary game is called "uta-garuta," "song-cards". It is traditionally played around New Years. Players gather around the torifuda, which are spread out on the floor. The reader reads (or sings!) the waka from the yomifuda. The players try to be the first one to grab the correct torifuda. Players should try to memorize all hundred poems so that they can grab the torifuda quickly after hearing the very first part of each poem.