Complete Beginners Guide to Online Mahjong – Part 1.5 – Playing on Tenhou

This is a quick and dirty guide to jumping into games on tenhou.net, currently the biggest Japanese mahjong site online. For further information on everything on tenhou I would refer you to Alvin’s tenhou documentation site. Remember to sign his guestbook.

Load it up and hit PLAY, and click the little サーバに接続 link to connect to the server.

Personally I prefer Economy mode more, it’s more spartan so I can concentrate better on the tiles. But to each his own. Either way you will get to this.


This is the main rank-grinding lobby of tenhou, and you just click the buttons to queue in east only or east-south matches. Some functions such as replays and stat analysis are only open to players with a registered ID (you can register for free in the login screen).

The page most of us bookmark is http://tenhou.net/0/?L7447, a direct link to our private lobby, which may be filled or empty depending on the time of day.

Actual play needs no screenshots, I trust. The interface is intuitive and beautifully simple. To interact with anything just highlight your tiles and click. I would suggest you remember what the words for ron, tsumo and pass look like, or you will sooner or later have an amusing story to share. PROTIP: Double-clicking on the game board when you get the chance to call on a tile will make you pass on the call; double-clicking when you have drawn a tile makes you discard that tile (known as tsumokiri).

12 thoughts on “Complete Beginners Guide to Online Mahjong – Part 1.5 – Playing on Tenhou

  1. I started to play on Tenhou not too long ago and it’s been great… except for all those NoName people who disconnect as soon as they get [ron]ed for 10k+. I really don’t understand that. I get that they are not some newby who don’t want to bother with a name since more often than not, they obviously know how to play the game. So if they are well accustomed to the game, I take it they have another handle that they use. So why use NoName? At first I thought it was because they might want to have a quick no hassle game that would not affect their ranking/stats no matter how they play. But if that’s the case, then why disconnect if it doesn’t affect ranking anyway? I’ve been thinking of going to joukyuu but I’m afraid I’ll get eaten alive there >_>

    1. I usually go as NoName when I play with my phone’s really weak connection, or while doing other things (waiting at the hospital, etc). Sometimes it’s really such a hassle that I want to quit halfways, and a mangan ron is always a good queue to leave. lol

  2. Hmm. Is there a way to shorten the URL on this article? For the sake of teaching the game, I would direct people to this guide. But the URL is too long.

  3. Hi I was wondering if you could go over how to change the background of your tenhou client with full steps. I’ve literally looked everywhere and people just have the custom backgrounds but never say how they did it. Can you help?

    1. Custom Backgrounds and even custom sounds come from downloading Tenhou’s Window’s Client: http://tenhou.net/1/tenhou-win.msi

      To play on the window client requires you to pay for Premium on your account, unless you make a new account within the window client itself, then you can use the client in the first Ippan room, but not any of the higher rooms (unless they changed it).

  4. It’s not the same interface than on the website when I go there to play, I don’t understand.

    Has the interface of Tenhou changed since 2012 ?

  5. My husband has been a player for many years, lately when he exits the game, the ID is not saved so when he plays again later in the day or another day, his ID does not show up and it has to be entered every time. He is not computer savvy by any means. It used to save his ID from game time to game time but not anymore. Any ideas how to save it so he can play whenever without me having to input the information.

    1. I would recommend to just copy and paste it somewhere in a text document in your OneDrive, save it as a draft in an email folder, or similar options. This is great because even if you had your PC completely trashed, you can still retrieve your tenhou ID from a new machine.

      When you clear your browser cookies (and saved passwords) then you will lose the data saved on tenhou.net and other sites as well. There is a workaround where you add protection for the cookies from tenhou, but even then it is unsafe since if you had to refresh/reset your pc at any time, that would be lost anyways.

      I hope this helps. :)

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