Over 50,000 yen Lucky Bag? What is a Japanese Fukubukuro (福袋)?




Have you heard of Fukubukuro? It literally means a “Lucky Bag” and Japanese get it during New Year holiday. Because its content is unknown, it’s also called a “Mystery Bag.”




What is a Fukubukuro (福袋)?



Fukubukuro is a bag and contains special items inside the bag. If you go to clothing retailers, for instance, you would get a Fukubukuro with various kinds of clothes or accessories.

The price is offered with discount, so it’s possible to get items that are worth 50,000 yen but you only pay 10,000 yen.


If you go to electronic stores, you would get electronics inside the bag. If you are lucky you might get a nice camera or tablet for low price!

You cannot see inside the Fukubukuro until you get it. That is, the item is random and some people hesitate to purchase unknown items.


Recent years new form of Fukubukuro was introduced. Those stores don’t sell actual items but rather sell discount on certain events or service.

For instance, some esthetics salons or beauty salons offer special discount.



Who Started Fukubukuro?

Some people say that the first Fukubukuro was introduced by Ginza Matsuya Department Store, while others say that it was Daimaru Department Store.


Both are big department stores in Japan. It’s said that the first Fukubukuro was about 25,000 yen. 25,000 yen during Edo period is extremely expensive.

However, it was popular among rich people and other department stores started to offer Fukubukuro.


During 1980s, the number of Fukubukuro offered by retailers increased and some received pretty expensive items.



When do Japanese Buy Fukubukuro?

Fukubukuro is usually sold on January 1st, and some places might have them after January 1st as long as the quantity lasts.

To avoid missing a Fukubukuro, people usually go to retailers on January 1st and purchase it.


Some retailers and Department Stores, such as Tokyu Department Store (東急百貨店), take online reservations. How it works is that customers go their website, choose brand and make a reservation.

They would receive the Fukubukuro after January 2nd and they don’t have to visit retailers.


Some Fukubukuro are worth 50,000 yen and it would be sold for 10,000. It’s really great deal if you like the brand or items.



Where do Japanese Buy Fukubukuro?


In Shibuya, people are waiting for New Year sale and Fukubukuro  



Not all but most merchandises sell Fukubukuro.

If you love UNIQLO, for instance, check their website and see if they have Fukubukuro (most likely they would) and when you can get it (probably January the 1st ).


Some of them might take online reservations, while others have Fukubukuro in the stores only.



What kind of Items does Fukubukuro Offer?

As mentioned earlier, it depends on where you go. If you have favorite shops for bags, clothing, camera, etc…  check if they have Fukubukuro.

The only thing you might be concerned is that its content is random and you have no idea what you would get. Some people don’t care because they like the brand. Whatever they get, they would be happy.



How Much is a Fukubukuro?

Price of Fukubukuro ranges but it is usually somewhere between 3,000 yen and 50,000 yen. This price applies to typical Fukubukuro.

Some retailers have less than 3,000 yen, while others have over 50,000 yen Fukubukuro.



Interesting Stat on Fukubukuro

Below are interesting statistics on Fukubukuro buyers.


♠More and more people prefer to get Fukubukuro filled with known items. They don’t like random items so they check online. They would do research to check if the item is worth to buy. They don’t want to pay 20,000 yen for random items.  People have become more practical.


♠According to survey, 26.6% of participants (1 out of 4) are planning to go to New Year Sale (Hatsu-uri) and of 18.3% (1 out 5) would get Fukubukuro.


♠Most people would get clothing and go to retailers or Department Store.


♠People in West (i.e., Tokyo area) tend to look for sales, while people in East (i.e., Osaka area) tend to look for Fukubukuro.


♠People also check supermarkets, electronic retailers and furniture stores.


♠Popular budget for 2017 is somewhere between 3,000 yen and 20,000 yen.




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