Celebrate the New Year in Japan with Fukubukuro, the mystery bags that captivate shoppers with surprises and treasures waiting to be discovered!
Fukubukuro: Japan’s Mystery Bag Tradition
What Is Fukubukuro?
Fukubukuro, literally translated as “lucky bag,” combines the Japanese characters 福 (fuku) meaning luck, and 袋 (bukuro) meaning bag. Initially, these lucky bags served as a means for store owners to clear out surplus inventory that hadn’t sold well during the year.
Commonly associated with New Year’s festivities in Japan, Fukubukuro, stands as an annual tradition embraced by numerous shops, businesses, and department stores. These lucky bags, are surprise sealed packages sold at a fixed price. . Typically, the bag’s contents are offered at a significant discount compared to purchasing each item separately at retail prices. This element of surprise and potential value makes the acquisition of these lucky bags a highly anticipated event, prompting individuals to queue for hours to secure their chance at obtaining one.
Where to get your Fukubukuro?
Fukubukuro offers a diverse range of items, from kitchenware, electronics, stationery, cosmetics, and clothing, to tea, coffee, and beyond! Fukubukuro can be found in major shopping centers throughout Japan,, a simple stroll through these malls often reveals signs or displays highlighting the availability of fukubukuro. Many specialty stores like Loft and Tokyu Hands or Kaldi are also very popular for their lucky bags.
You will usually find Fukubukuro on store shelves during the New Year period. However, some stores start selling them a little earlier, starting from December 29th, while others will continue selling them throughout the entirety of January.
Due to their increasing popularity, some places require you to place a reservation for your lucky bag up to several months in advance! Some stores like Starbucks or Disney store even use an online lottery system for the lucky bags with no in-store bag sales.
Tips for your Fukubukuro Shopping
- Do your research in advance and secure your place in line or reservation number for stores that require it.
- Target stores you like to avoid ‘losing’ the Fukubukuro game, ensuring that most items in your bag will be to your liking.
- Keep an eye out for Fukubukuro which offers a sneak peek of its contents. Many stores provide a general idea of what’s inside the bag, such as size range, brand, color, or type of products.
- Trade the items you don’t like. Sometimes, you’ll find people trading in front of physical stores or on Twitter using hashtags like #福袋交換 (Fukubukuro exchange).
- When in doubt, opt for food! Your local bakeries or specialty food stores will likely offer lucky bags filled with delectable goodies!
Whether it’s the thrill of the unknown or the chance to snag a great deal, Fukubukuro remains a cherished and eagerly anticipated tradition that brings joy and excitement to the start of the new year in Japan!