If by any chance you are in Japan this January 1, you are in for a treat. It’s the time of the year to rake in some ultra-cheap goods with this year’s Japanese Fukubukuro!
Fukubukuro is a New Year custom that originated one hundred years back. It was said to be invented by the Ginza Matsuya Department store during the Meiji period and has been a long time Japanese tradition all over the country until today.
Basically, it’s a combination of “fuku” which means good fortune/luck and “bukuro” which means bag. Hence, it’s English translation “Lucky Bags”.
These lucky bags contain a number of goods which are usually discounted by 50% or more off the listed prices. And I’m not even kidding.
Imagine gadgets and more worth 40,000-50,000 yen up for just 20,000-30,000 yen. Or if you’re crazy for apparel, even luxury stores like Tory Burch, Kate Spade, and Coach have these ultra cheap lucky bags! Some designer lucky bags amount to $900 in value for just $300.
Tradition For the New Year
The Japanese have a superstition that one must get rid of unwanted trash for the past year and start with a clean slate. The Fukuburo mania makes it easier for the stores to adhere to this mantra.
But take note, the items inside are random. But still! Everyone wants a good deal! So here are tips to make the most out of “Fukubukuro” or lucky box hunting.
Know The Schedule
First of all, scout the stores you are looking for. Generally, they offer the Fukubukuros on January 1 or January 2. But some stores offer as early as the first week of December! Also, the in-demand stores might offer them using an online lottery, which you have to register. So research and be guided accordingly.
You can also check this nifty compilation by Tokyo Cheapo for the sales roundup for 2019.
If you like to hunt for great deals but don’t mind the war zone, you must be there early. People line up for these finds way earlier before the opening of the store. So research your target and search the past trends for their Fukubukuro.
Some stores like the ones in the upscale Takashimaya stores line up 3-5 hours before opening. While the lucky boxes from the pokemon center need just around 2 hours in advance. Go and research as it is a different case per store.
You Can Trade Stuff With Your Fellow Lucky Bag Hunter
After waging the war of bag grabbing, you peeked in your “lucky box” only to find out that you don’t like the items inside it. Worry not, your fellow lucky box hunters might be in the same situation.
With that, just be friendly, and you can trade your finds with your newfound shopaholic friends.
Or Just Sell It
But if you absolutely despise your finds and you’re too shy to mingle with other people, just sell it. I mean, if you’re getting 50% of the retail price, you might get a decent profit if you sell your items individually online.
Japan also has multiple stores who buy second-hand items depending on the condition. You might get a nifty profit from your discounted items. Or if you are a foreigner, sell it in your home country!
Fukubukuros are exciting times to spend on this coming New Year! If you have the budget and want the surprise, try out this Fukubukuros this January 1. Enjoy!