Japan Expo Bay Area - August 22-24, 2014 San Mateo Event Center, California

The lucky bag tradition

At the beginning of the new year, many lucky bag sales appear in a variety of stores. Many people test their luck by acquiring these bags and hope that their luck will snag them some great-valued items.

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When it comes to the end of the year, sales aren't the only thing to look forward to in Japan. At the beginning of every year, most stores bring out fukubukuro or "lucky bags" as a tradition. Many customers seek out these bags and hope that it contains worthwhile products depending on the store. 

On most bags, there are the characters 福袋.  "" (fuku) means good fortune while "" (fukuro) means bag. When purchasing a fukubukuro, you can never really tell what is inside. Some stores either fill them with exclusive items or miscellanous products from the previous year. The cost varies per store from 1,000 yen (roughly $8.41) to over 30,000 yen (roughly $252.33). The price is usually a discount of the value of items usually in a lucky bag.

Throughout the years, the lucky bag tradition has evolved. Some stores allow the opportunity to reserve lucky bags online and even mark the clothing size on the bags for the customers. The lines to acquire a fukubukuro can sometimes get incredibly long, but is definitely worth the wait.

Some of the stores that usually offer lucky bags throughout the years include APPLE, Muji, Uniqlo, Lotteria (a fast-food chain), Starbucks, Sanrio and even UFO Catchers!


If you're ever in Japan during the New Year celebration, test your luck at a grab bag and hope for the best prizes! The surprise is the best part of the fukubukuro tradition. 

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  • Culture & Traditions
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