Hanayama is a Japanese toy company that was founded in 1972 – they’re famous for their zinc cast disentanglement-style puzzles that come in a range of difficulty levels from 1 to 6.
The best Hanayama puzzles for one person may not be the best puzzles for another, and for that reason I’ve tried to include a variety of difficulty levels in this list of Hanayama puzzles. Keep in mind, while they have chosen the ratings assigned to the puzzles, they don’t always correlate perfectly. Some level 2-4 puzzles are more difficult than a level 6 that will leave you saying “huh that wasn’t that hard”.
Whether you’re a puzzler, or looking to get a Hanayama puzzle for someone as a gift, I’ve put together these reviews of the best Hanayama puzzles to help you save time. Time is money, so check it out!
Best Hanayama Puzzles Reviews
The Quartet (Level 6) (4.5 / 5)
Starting off the list is one of my favorite Hanayama puzzles – The Quartet. This is a four piece metal cast disentanglement puzzle that is fairly difficult to take apart, and the true challenge is putting it back together. I was able to solve it in a day and eventually get it back together, but I’ve heard reports of it taking several weeks to a month to solve and even longer to put together. One of my friends who also has this puzzle had to resort to YouTube to find a solution on how to put it back together. Overall this is a high-quality Hanayama puzzle that you can challenge yourself with regularly, and it will certainly give your friends a good challenge.
Equa (Level 5) (4 / 5)
I really enjoy the Equa, it’s one of the less traditionally designed Hanayama puzzles getting away from the hook/entangled design with its 3 pieces, one of which being a spherical housing that holds the two other pieces entwined in the center. This puzzle sat on my table for quite some time before I was able to rattle it loose, and one of my friends actually solved it before I got to it – blasted! I had to make him figure out how to put it back together without me watching to save myself from knowing the solution. Overall this is a really great addition to any puzzlers collection and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I still solve it regularly.
Cylinder (Level 4) (4.5 / 5)
This elegant cylinder puzzle doesn’t even appear to be a puzzle at first sight. It’s design is very beautiful and once you realize it’s a puzzle you start to wonder how it could even come apart. Solving this 4-piece cylinder puzzle is more challenging than the level 4 rating depicts but it’s not overly difficult for a somewhat experienced puzzler. A novice puzzler would be able to figure it out after a few sessions of fiddling with it. The great thing about this puzzle is its size – you can transport it easily and its eloquent solution makes it a great one to show your friends and family. Leave it on the table as a unique center-piece and bust it out for some brain teasing when company comes over.
Enigma (Level 6) (5 / 5)
In terms of difficulty this is by far one of the best Hanayama puzzles out there. The Enigma puzzle is a 3-piece disentanglement puzzle and each of the three pieces are different. It’s a large puzzle with a lot of play between the pieces so the solution and moves are not very clear unlike a lot of other Hanayama puzzles. A few of my other friends who have the puzzle said this thing has driven them insane so that’s another achievement and bonus to the rating. When I first solved the puzzle I didn’t even know how I did it, that’s how lost and entranced I was in this puzzle’s design. It’s definitely not unbeatable but it certainly is a fun puzzle. If you’re looking for a repeatable challenge you can share with your friends, keep Enigma on your list.
Vortex (level 5) (3.5 / 5)
Three near-identical metal cast swirls to together to form “Vortex” – a spherical formed disentanglement puzzle that will deliver a satisying “ah-ha” moment when you finally solve it. The solution to this puzzle is very clever and once you figure it out you’ll be excited to show off to your friends and watch them struggle with the solution. Like I said earlier, the “ah-ha” factor is so satisfying that the Vortex puzzle will definitely be added to your rotation of regularly solved puzzles, enjoy!
Elk (Level 6) (4 / 5)
This is one of the first Hanayama puzzles I ever set my hands on and let me tell you it’s a great puzzle. I like to think of it as a two piece-Enigma as it has a lot of play between the two elk-horn pieces that makes the solution quite difficult. There are a few stages to this puzzle so you’ll have to experiment with the movements and placements before you get the hang of it. Once you solve it once you’ll easily be able to solve it again after putting it back together. Overall it’s a great multi-stage puzzle that gets you thinking and the elk-horn design is really really cool.
Nutcase (Level 6) (4 / 5)
Nutcase – what you’ll be after fiddling with this puzzle for a while. This is a really cool puzzle that’s actually made up of two bolts, two nuts, and one smaller fifth piece. The appearance of this Hanayama puzzle is awesome, when it’s sitting on your table or desk it’ll definitely attract others as it did you to solve it and release them self as the Nutcase they are. Since this is a more mechanically based puzzle (nuts and ahem, bolts) you may have an easier or more difficult time solving it depending on your perception. Either way, it’s a really neat piece and definite must add to any puzzlers collection. Don’t go NUTS solving it 😉
Labyrinth (Level 5) (3.5 / 5)
Puzzle, or maze? Either way, Labyrinth is an awesome puzzle that’s more than just a few stages – it’s an entire maze that you have to guide one ring through to separate this two-piece ring puzzle. I really like it because it doesn’t lose it’s touch after you’ve solved it a few times and picking it up once a week or every few days would still provide challenge. It’s doable for kids, adults, puzzlers, and non-puzzlers alike. Everyone who enjoys a good old maze challenge will like the Labyrinth Hanayama puzzle!
Radix (Level 4) (4 / 5)
Radix is a really cool three piece puzzle where you have to disentangle two vines attached through a third piece. It’s rated level 4 by Hanayama but I think it’s closer to a 5 or 6 hence it’s inclusion on this list. For a beginner puzzler, Radix is a really tricky solve and as an experienced puzzler or solid-thinker it’ll provide you with that excellent “ah-ha” moment discussed in this article. I also think it’s one of the more intriguing items to keep on your desk or table around the house!
Coaster (Level 4) (3.5 / 5)
Looking at this “Coaster” puzzle you would never guess it only has three pieces that don’t even come untangled completely once it’s solved. Once you solve this puzzle you’ll want to show it off and have all of your friends and family try to solve it because the way it comes apart and goes back together is really really neat. The reason why this lower difficulty made it onto this list is because of the unique solution, the appearance of the puzzle, and the fact that it’s only truly a one piece puzzle that folds and unfolds from the solution to beginning phase which is super cool.
H&H (Level 5) (4 / 5)
It gets the name H&H from the two pieces that it’s made up of being H shaped, of course. This puzzle is so solid that when you pick it up you’d never guess it even comes apart. This makes it a really tricky one to figure out, and most people who pick it up initially, me included, think you need some sort of super-human force to solve it. Hint: you don’t – you just need the perfection combination of pressure and puzzle-solution-know-how to solve this one and show it off to your friends and family. This is a really cool puzzle with a fairly simple solution for a level 5 but I really like the design and how solid it is in the beginning phase.
Starfish (Level 2) (3.5 / 5)
The Starfish is the first ever Hanayama puzzle I put my hands on and I always remembered it. It’s the lowest difficulty rating Hanayama on this list but it has a really cool intuitive solution to figure out. I’d say the difficulty is more like a 3, and this is the puzzle I always recommend to my friends/family when they want to get into Hanayama or disentanglement puzzles. The puzzle itself is a ring entwined with a starfish shape that you need to separate. It’s pretty cool and unique, so try it out. Especially if it’s for your first disentanglement puzzle!
I hope you liked my review of the 12 best Hanayama puzzles I’ve found to date. If you have any more that you really liked, please comment below and let me know which ones! Check out the site for more great information on puzzles of all sorts 🙂 and here are some additional resources on the Hanayama cast puzzles:
- Hanayama Wiki
- CastPuzzle.net – dedicated Hanayama cast puzzle website
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