The meaning of Fukubukuro
The New Year's period is the best season for shopping in Japan. Many stores have big discount sales during the New Year's period. It usually starts from the day after New Year’s Day. During the sale, you can buy “fukubukuro”. Fukubukuro means lucky bag or goody bag, and they are filled with random items and sold at various prices with a substantial discount.
Contents of Fukubukuro
The contents of a fukubukuro are usually hidden and you can’t open it until you buy it. So you can’t pick whatever products you want. In a way, fukubukuro is like “omikuji” or lottery. People in Japan try their luck of the year by purchasing a fukubukuro. Prices are usually at least half-price or better.
The contents are usually leftover from last year, but recently some stores prepare products only for fukubukuro. The contents are secret, but you can see them on the internet because many people will post on SNS or blogs. If you are considering buying fukubukuro, I recommend you to check the contents of the shop’s fukubukuro from last year on the internet. It won’t be the same but you can know what to expect from their fukubukuro.
There are many kinds of fukubukuro, like clothes, food, appliances, a variety of goods, and so on. Also, there are many kinds of unique fukubukuro.
The PriceSome fukubukuro are very expensive. For example, in 2016, Seibu department store in Shibuya sold fukubukuro at the price of 200,000,000 yen. Inside was jewelry with a total value of 324,000,000 yen.
Of course, most fukubukuro are sold at an affordable price. A unique fukubukuro which I recommend for girls is that of Mister Donut. Mister Donut is a Japanese popular donut shop. They usually sell fukubukuro at a very good deal. The contents of fukubukuro are announced ahead of time. Their fukubukuro usually contains donuts coupons and character goods, like Snoopy and Rilakkuma. There are different prices for the fukubukuro, for example, fukubukuro of 2,200yen contains free tickets for 20 donuts. Since a donut costs at least 108 yen, you already got your money's worth. Other goods are blankets, glasses, calendars, and pouch bags. This is just an example and contents change every year, but they have a good fukubukuro every year.
Fukubukuro of Village Vanguard is also unique. Village Vanguard sells an interesting variety of goods and books. They sell “Fukoubukuro” and it means unlucky bag. Their fukoubukuro contains useless funny goods. It’s not worth paying but is funny and many people post photos of their fukoubukuro on SNS websites.
Fukubukuro of Coffee Shop
Personally, I like fukubukuro from coffee shops, like Starbucks and Tully's Coffee. Their fukubukuro bags are very pretty. Contents are not only coffee but also cups and other goods. Recently, Starbucks implemented a lottery system for their fukubukuro, so only those who got chosen can purchase. If you are interested, please check their website for announcements. Don't queue in front of the store to no avail!
Even if you don’t have a chance to be in Japan during the New Years' season, you can have fun checking fukubukuro on the internet. And if you are lucky to be in Japan during the season, try getting a fukubukuro. It would be an exciting experience.