Hako Onna is a game of horror hide-and-seek. One player plays the “Hako Onna” (the Woman in the Box), and the rest are “Visitors”, who are trying to escape from the mansion. As Visitors, you’ll try not to make noise as you search the shadowy rooms of the mansion for items to protect yourself, for information, and for a way to escape what you do not see, but know is there. But if you stumble upon the Hako Onna, you’re dead. Players who discover the Hako Onna become a Hakobito, one of her servants, and wake up with her to move throughout the house.
During most of Hako Onna's turn, the human players must keep their eyes closed so they cannot see where she moves to or what action she has done. The game also features a unique optional dexterity element that adds to the game's overall tension and dread. Before a visitor can take their turn, they need to avoid making noise by stacking a small disc on top the previous ones; if the tower collapses, they've made noise and it instantly becomes Hako Onna's turn.