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    New Year Equals Cheap Stuff: Fukubukuro

    By thomas | January 1, 2008

    Happy New Year everybody. It’s the year of the rat! Thank goodness I know how to buy cheese in Japan.

    New Years is a special time in Japan. I’m not talking about eating osechi, visiting the shrine for hatsumode or getting a week off from work. I’m talking about fukubukuro!!

    Fukubukuro (福袋) means something like “lucky bag”. At the beginning of the year, stores in Japan want to get rid of all the stuff they didn’t sell last year. So what do they do? They put them in bags, seal them tight and sell them for cheap. Go to any store – clothing stores, department stores, grocery stores, it doesn’t matter where – and they are likely to have these bags. And did I mention they are bargains? Last year my wife went to Dear Princess and bought two fukubukuro bags for an ichiman each. Inside each bag were yonman-en (40,000 yen) worth of clothes. That’s a savings of 60,000 yen! If you don’t mind wearing last year’s styles, this is an amazing deal.


    The catch is that you can’t look at what you are buying. The fukubukuro bags are sealed tight and you can’t peek in. Don’t fret though. Clothing stores will put like sizes together in bags, so you don’t have to worry about getting clothes that won’t fit you.

    Travel agencies also have incredible deals during the New Year, so if you are planning to travel abroad, now is a good time to look into it.

    Fukubukuro bags only last as long as a store has back stock, so run to the store as fast as you can. The first week of January is the time to get them.

    Btw, Ken Y-N over at has some fukubukuro bags full of Hello Kitty paraphenalia for sale. If you like Hello Kitty, head on over and get a truckload of it for cheap.

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    Topics: Japan Hacks | 7 Comments »Trackback

    7 Responses to “New Year Equals Cheap Stuff: Fukubukuro”

    1. Ken Y-N Says:
      January 1st, 2008 at 1:45 pm

      Thanks for the link, but I must point out that that’s an affiliate link I have there, so I get some reward if someone buys!

      My favourite Fukubukuro is Mister Donut – all stores are selling them, I think; 10 doughnuts for 1000 yen plus a free calendar, schedule notebook, plate, coffee, etc thrown in.

    2. Shari Says:
      January 2nd, 2008 at 12:30 am

      I’ve never bought a fukubukuro because I associate the practice with the “grab bags” my grandmother used to buy at auctions back home. More often than not, it had a collection of interesting, but unappealing items. While the total value of the items if you purchased them separately in the shop may exceed what you pay for the bag, I have to figure that there’s a reason those items didn’t sell and that’s because they weren’t as attractive as those that did sell.

      That being said, if our local Mister Donut had the fukubukuro Ken mentions (they don’t), I’d buy it! Donuts aren’t the sort of thing you can go wrong with.

    3. Chris B Says:
      January 2nd, 2008 at 10:55 am

      No way!

      Cheeseburgers and Speakers are all I ever want, and I KNOW they don’t have grab bags stuffed with those…… they?

    4. thomas Says:
      January 3rd, 2008 at 11:45 am

      @Ken Y-N: I love Mister Donut, but sadly eating there conflicts with my current weight loss goals. No more Pon De Almonds for me until the summer at least.

      @Shari: There is always the possibility that you will get stuff that you don’t like. My wife liked everything she got in last year’s Dear Princess bags, but then again she really likes that store. I didn’t buy any this year, although I thought about getting a MUJI one (my favorite store in Japan).

      @Chris B: I have no idea if they have cheeseburger grab bags or not, but if you like donuts, turn your attention to comment #1.

    5. - Maternity Wear Online | Says:
      January 5th, 2008 at 5:40 am

      […] New Year Equals Cheap Stuff: Fukubukuro […]

    6. NeoTokyo blog » Blog Archive » Neo Tokyo Japan Trip to Winter Comiket 2008! Says:
      August 30th, 2008 at 12:46 pm

      […] day for selling stuff and there are many sales going on this day. There are things called “Fukubukuro” which are sold on this day. They are paper bags with different types of items in them for a […]

    7. Banks and other places close for New Years, plus other stuff | Says:
      December 31st, 2008 at 5:51 am

      […] be on the look out for New Years’ fukubukoro and get a LOT of stuff for CHEAP.  Seriously, if you don’t know what these lucky bags are, […]