Have you ever heard of fukubukuro (福袋)? Fuku (福) means luck and bukuro *袋) means bag, so the literal translation is lucky bag! These Lucky bags are sold at the beginning of the new year during the hatsu uri (初売り): first sales. Inside the fukuburo are several goodies from the store or brand which are sold for a cheaper price than if you would buy them separately, the catch however is that you (usually) don't know what is inside! That somehow sounds like getting yourself a Tokyotreat, Yumetwins or Nomakenolife subscription box doesn't it? It's like buying a present for yourself; the excitement of opening it and finding great value goodies inside is what makes it fun! The fukubukuro sales start on the first or second of January each year so if you're planning to shop till you drop, make sure you get a good rest because these sales are absolutely crazy!
Even though fukubukuro used to be limited to department stores and clothing brands nowadays many shops and brands have given in to the craze! One of the most popular fukubukuro are the ones from electronic stores like Bic Camera and Yodobashi Camera and especially the ones from Apple store! People line up one day earlier than the actual sale starts, grab a ticket and wait in line all night! An Apple fukubukuro costs about $300 and you have a chance to get Macbook Airs, Ipads and other devices or accessories that are worth a lot more than $300!
There are also different types of electronic fukubukuro Lucky boxes which are more like a grab bag where you pay about $3 to $30 and have a chance to win a camera, a game console or household appliances and more. However, the chance that you go home empty handed is big since it's not guaranteed that you will get anything at all!
Other popular fukubukuro are the ones from clothing brands, especially the small boutiques in fashionable department store Shibuya 109 all offer their own fukubukuro! Some stores keep the content of the bag secret but others release information about the items included and you're even able to pre-order them. Girls also start lining up a day before the sales (January second) to storm their favorite stores when the doors open at 8AM. Even the police is involved to make sure no hair extensions are pulled out and no nails are getting broken.
Here are some other examples from brands and stores that have fukubukuro
Muji is a trendy Japanese store that sells household and consumer goods.
L'Occitane Japan's fukubukuro is full of amazing creams, fragrances and soap!
Even Japanese convenient stores have fukubukuro, usually an assortment of snacks and drinks!
Uniqlo is one of Japan's biggest and most affordable clothing stores, would you get one of their fukubukuro?
And there's much more! Check out these fukubukuro from 2015:
What if you don't like your goodies??
Well that's too bad. But many people like to trade with friends or even with strangers. Especially at Shibuya 109 girls try to get rid of items they don't like by trading with other girls. If you're not sure if you should get a lucky bag you can also buy separate items which are also being sold with big discounts during the winter sales that start around the same time, at the beginning of the new year.
Would you get a fukubukuro and from what store? Let us know in the comments below!
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