I’ve only played 6, 7, 8, and 9.5 (plus Scarlet Weather Rhapsody, but that’s a fighting game and not danmaku), so this is based partially on what I’ve seen and read of the other games.

I’d probably start on either Perfect Cherry Blossom or Imperishable Night. They both have unique gameplay mechanics that help the player out (borders in PCB, which can effectively give you a shield for a short time; Last Spells in IN, which make it much easier to death-bomb, but costs 2 bombs instead of 1). I think they are generally considered the easier tier of Touhou games along with Ten Desires. Ten Desires also has a unique mechanic that helps the player (trance mode, which gives you invincibility for a short while), but it is harder/more complicated to collect resources (extra lives/bombs) in that game.

One downside to starting with IN is that it can give you bad instincts for bombing in the other games, because the last spell system means you can wait longer to decide to bomb in IN. Learning on another game first might also help you avoid using the last spells in IN, which is good because last spells use up 2 bombs. So maybe I’d start with PCB, but IN would also be a good choice. PCB also gives you the option to start with 4 bombs if you play Sakuya, as opposed to the standard 3 (SakuyaA also has a wide unfocused shot range and homing focused shots, and has decent power for having range and homing, so she’s a great beginner shot type). IN gives you the option to start with 7 lives instead of just 5, and it has a spell practice mode that means you can practice any spell card you’ve seen by itself without having to play through the whole stage to try to learn it. Spell practice is extremely useful and makes learning tough spells less of a grind. I think the only games that use it are IN and Ten Desires.

If you want to start with the beginning, Embodiment of Scarlet Devil is the first Windows game (the first five were all for an older Japanese OS and have a more 8-bit feel). It is harder than PCB or IN, and it doesn’t give you some of the advantages those games do. It is more or less the basis for the later games, though. The later games all have some kind of unique gameplay gimmick (like cherry points in PCB or time points in IN), which sometimes means you have to learn the system to get good at the game. EoSD is pretty much just about dodging stuff and surviving through the game. So if you care about starting at the beginning or seeing the basis the other things built around first, you might want to start with EoSD. Otherwise I think PCB or IN are better starting points.

The games are sold through Japanese retailers. Some of them have English websites and ship overseas:

Fan-made English patches are also available:


The logical choice is EotSD because it has the most Cirno.


I’d like to point out that Cirno is also in PCB, though not as much.

If Cirno is your #1 criterion, I’d have to recommend Fairy Wars for its pure concentration of Cirno.


Yeah but I think it hardly counts since she’s a push over and has no dialog.

I must try Fairy Wars sometime it sounds awesome.


I don’t mind starting at later games as long as I can at least find a synopsis of the earlier games. How about the other question about where to download?


The Touhou wiki site has synopses of all the games. It’s not that important to know things story-wise from game to game, though it doesn’t hurt. There seems to be a little more continuity in the recent games (particularly UFO to Ten Desires), but nothing that not knowing would interfere with playing the game. The first five games are possibly discarded canon, so you can skip those without missing much.

I don’t think the official games are sold as downloads (some of the fan-games are). As far as I know you have to buy the discs if you want to acquire them legally. Unfortunately, the downloading options are limited to pirated copies, which wouldn’t be appropriate to promote on a business website like YYE.

EDIT: Actually, the demos might be available as downloads. They aren’t the full games, but they let you try them out legally. I’ll see if I can find them somewhere.

Cirno is definitely easier in PCB than EoSD. I actually forgot that she was in the game the first time I played it, and I remember thinking the first boss looked a lot like Cirno before I realized it was in fact Cirno. She is at least named in the game, so she’s ahead of Daiyousei anyway. But I prefer Chen to Cirno.


Chen is pretty cool and all but I mean Cirno is just so cool, she has a bow and threatens to cryo-freeze you to English beef.


It is hard not to like Cirno.  Unless you’re Suwako, I guess.  Chen is just one of my favourite characters in the whole series.

Demo versions from the official game sites.  These are Japanese sites, and even the Japanese characters don’t seem to be displaying correctly on most of them, but you can still find the files.  They are zipped into .lhz files, which can be unzipped with 7zip.

The demos cover the first three stages of the game (out of 6 total, plus an extra stage that is unlocked after beating the first 6 without continuing).  The sound/music quality is worse in the demos, and some minor changes seem to have been made in the final games, but mostly the stages are the same:

EoSD demo:
Find the link that says ver0.13.  The download should be just over 4 MB.  This demo wouldn’t run on my computer; I’m guessing you probably either need to set your computer locale to Japanese or run it through Applocale or something, but I didn’t try it.

PCB demo:
Find the link that says ver0.11.  The download should be 9.28 MB.  The game file inside the zipped folder is th07.exe (this is the pattern all the game names follow after EoSD, which I think has a kanji filename that my computer is not displaying properly).

note on the first two Windows games:  the controls are a bit laggy.  The vsync patches fix this to make them respond more like the more recent games, but I doubt it will work on the demo versions.

IN demo:
There is a header dated 04/07/07.  It says ver0.03 in the header, and 19 MB (the filesize).  Right below that header are a series of links that all seem to link to eiya_tr003.lhz.  Download that file from one of those links.

Phantasmogoria of Flower View:
Under the header “05/06/11 東方花映塚 体験版ver0.02a フルパッケージ(27.6MB)” (if the Japanese doesn’t display properly, just look for the date, ver0.02a, and 27.6MB), there is a series of download links to kaei_ver002.lhz.  By the way, this game is unique in that it is set up as a vs game where the goal is to outlast the opponent.  You can play against the computer or another human, I think.  Unlike the fighters, I don’t think there is really a functional netplay, though.

For Mountain of Faith through Ten Desires, the websites follow pretty much the same pattern.  They also start giving you .exe setup files so you don’t have to unzip them.  For the setups, pretty much just click the ok button (I think it was the one on the left) to go through everything, other than changing the install location if you don’t want to use the default (the button next to the install location is to browse for a new location).

Mountain of Faith demo:

Below the header 07/07/26 東方風神録 体験版ver0.02a(156M) is a series of links to download the file th10tr002a_setup.exe.  Download one of these and run the setup.  I had to update my DirectX to run the game, but this computer probably hasn’t been updated in at least a few years.

Like I said, the rest of the sites follow the same pattern, so just look for the same things on each page:

Subterranean Animism:
Ten Desires:


Aw Cirno. :slight_smile:

My favorites are…

  • Reimu
  • Aya
  • Kogasa
  • Cirno
  • Youmu
  • Yuyuko
  • Marisa
  • Suwako
  • Patchouli
  • Rumia
  • Reisen
  • Scarlet sisters
  • Yakumo
  • Sakuya

Yeah I’m sure there’s more but those are so far my favorites in no real order.

Have some Chen!

*Artist is Kazeharu I believe


My favourites are Aya, Chen, Marisa, Nitori, Mokou, Yuyuko, and Patchouli.  I do like most of the characters, though, and there are quite a few more I like a lot.

This is my favourite Scarlet sisters thing:


That video makes them even more lovable. =3

Rumia needs more love.


Rumia never really appealed to me much for some reason, though I do like her dialog with Marisa. I saw a fanfic the other day on Youtube called “Little Reimu” that made Rumia pretty awesome, though. The whole thing is well over an hour long, and it kind of genre-shifts toward the depressing partway through, but it’s a good watch if you don’t mind a more serious treatment of her character.


wow thanks I’ll try those demos out


I’ll have to check and see if there’s a way I can read it in a manga form 'cause my internet can’t handle long youtube videos very well. =/

Another character that I like but don’t know anything about is Toyosatomimi.

Artist goes by cercis I believe.





I like Toyosatomimi too, though I can never remember her name. I think Ten Desires has pretty good character design overall. I think she might be in the new fighting game (Hopeless Masquerade) as well. I can’t find much English info on it yet, so I’m not sure who’s in it other than Marisa/Reimu/Ichirin, but it’s supposed to be about religious competition between the Shinto, Buddhists, and Taoists. Since Toyosatomimi was the one behind the Taoist incident (Ten Desires), I’d guess she’s probably in it.

original artist is Tarou/Hakui Ami, but I think colours are edited from the original


Yeah I heard that there was some sort of religious clash but I have no idea who with who. I’ll have to check out some of the latter games some time.



I think the religious clash thing first comes up in Ten Desires, where the Buddhist group from UFO and the new Taoist group are at odds. I’m not sure how much that conflict plays into Hopeless Masquerade and how much is just a new story, though.

Speaking of UFO:

artist: c7肘


Man I really like that artist. I’m a real sucker for vibrant colours.

This one is by Cercis


I like cercis a lot too. I was looking at his/her pixiv after you posted those Toyosatomimi pictures and downloaded this one of Shou:

EDIT: I also just realized that cercis did the art for this album cover, which I’ve always liked: