Ayase Chihaya is a famous beauty at her school, but she’s far from a conventional girl. Three years ago in her final year of elementary school, Chihaya and her friend Taichi became infatuated with the card game, Karuta, after connecting with a lonely boy named Arata Wataya. But when the trio graduated from elementary school, they each went their separate ways but shared one common goal: to excel in the game and meet each other at the national championships. Now, Chihaya is attempting to share her passion for the game by creating a competitive Karuta club at school, but when she reunites with Taichi it seems that maybe she’s the only one with the intention of fulfilling their childhood promise…
My immediate reaction to Chouyaku Hyakunin Isshu is to recommend Chihayafuru. Chihayafuru is centered around modern-day players of karuta, which is played with cards of the 100 Poets. The Hyakunin Isshu (100 Poets, 1 Poem Each) is a collection of poetry compiled in 12-13th century Japan and is an important piece of Japanese literature. If you want to know the legends/stories/meanings behind the poems, watch Chouyaku. If you want to see the game of karuta in action, watch Chihayafuru.
Chihayafuru is all about a game karuta. The players have to learn 100 poems and have to find the right card that matches the poem. Chouyaku hyakunin isshi: uta koi is about these 100 poems. If you want to learn about the poems you have to watch Chouyaku hyakunin isshi: uta koi. If you want to learn about karuta and what some of the poems mean you have to watch Chihayafuru. If you wacht 1 you will watch the other.
There are major differences between these two series, but I believe this recommendation makes sense. Chihayafuru is set in modern-day and revolves around the game of Karuta. Utakoi is historical and tells various stories based off the 100 Poems, which are printed on the cards in Karuta. If you enjoyed Chihayafuru and liked the poetry aspect, check out Utakoi. If you enjoyed Utakoi and are interested in how the poems are used in Karuta, check out Chihayafuru.
Sometimes the greatest distance is between people. Whether a man alienates himself from society with a façade of cheerfulness, or two friends fail to communicate their feelings of betrayal, invisible barriers plague mankind. Although love should bring people together, when a stoic renter and a dutiful monk choose to court a widow’s daughter, their mutual affections drive a bitter gap between them. During each encounter filled with mistrust and despair, the flaws of human nature slowly reveal themselves...
Another compilation of a bunch of stories from classical Japanese literature/poetry. Though the stories aren't particularly similar, the format is identical and not common, so if you liked that aspect of one, check out the other.
These two series tell stories based off of classic Japanese literature. Utakoi shares romantic tales while Aoi Bungaku's are dark and grim, but if you're interested in mature compilations of literature, you should definitely check both out.
The dark and brooding Ayakashi is composed of three horror stories: the narration of a young woman named Oiwa who was abandoned and betrayed by the one she truly loved, leading her to curse all who stood in her way; a story of two star-crossed lovers – a human and a forgotten god – and their struggle to have a future together; and the tale of an evil and malicious demon who is haunting and murdering a family for unknown purposes. Though different in animation style and tone, each story shares a similar theme: the darkness of the human heart.
Although the genre of the stories are different, both Utakoi and Ayakashi share a collection of stories. Utakoi's stories are shorter and romantic, Ayakashi's are longer and pretty grim. If I remember correctly, both include some tragedy. If you like compilations of stories and don't mind the difference in genre, you should give both a try.