lucky bag

Lucky Bag Roundup: Our reporters choose the best fukubukuro of 2015

Japan has many wonderful New Year’s traditions, including visiting the local shrine, eating auspicious food, and sending postcards to all your friends. But one of the most exciting and potentially disappointing activities that occur on the first day of January is the purchasing of fukubukuro. Commonly referred to as “Lucky Bags” in English, fukubukoro are specially priced parcels of surplus items from popular stores across Japan that are usually valued well over the purchase price.

This year, we sent 10 of our Japanese reporters out on the streets early New Year’s morning to gather up the best Lucky Bags they could find. Some came back with somewhat useless products even Mr. Sato wouldn’t want. Other’s were pleasantly surprised to find rare and valuable items nestled in their bags. But despite deep discounts, Lucky Bags aren’t always worth the wait and price, so in order to save you time on next year’s Japanese New Year’s shopping adventures, each of our writers has chosen the best Lucky Bags this side of the Pacific.

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Help our writer figure out how to wear the mysterious clothing item in her Muji Lucky Bag

Remember the Muji Fortune Can that we featured a few days ago from our favorite minimalist home goods store, Muji? Following that welcome discovery, our Japanese reporter also managed to get her hands on both a Muji Women’s Clothing Lucky Bag and a Muji Health & Beauty Lucky Bag.

Although she was content with most of the surprises, there was one clothing item in particular that stumped her–can anyone give her a few tips on how best to wear it? Don’t miss her mini fashion show after the jump!

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What wonders do a Super Potato Lucky Bag hold? Grab your retro gaming hat and let’s find out!

When you buy a fukubukuro (lucky bag) from a store in Japan, you can usually be sure that the value of their contents will surpass the amount you paid for the bag; it’s a guarantee, or else no one would ever buy them! But when you decide to buy a fukubukuro from a secondhand store, you certainly can’t feel 100% sure that you will get your money’s worth.

Are your secondhand items going to be in good condition? Are you going to be getting some good value? Or are you getting the games that even the secondhand store just wants to get rid of? Let Tokyo’s most famous used video game store Super Potato help you decide after the break.

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Yoshio discovers that lucky bag loot from a UFO catcher is spectacularly underwhelming

While our RocketNews24 Japanese team of writers has been having fun snatching up a variety of lucky bags during this first week of the new year, the contents of those bags have ranged from exciting to just plain meh. But the two lucky bags our Japanese correspondent Yoshio grabbed from UFO catchers (aka claw machines) have hit a new all-time low. We don’t think he’ll be going back for more next year…

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Mr. Sato divulges the contents of a 2015 Apple Store Lucky Bag–will he get a lame t-shirt again?

Following his tradition of the past few years, RocketNews24’s ace reporter and calendar model Mr. Sato dutifully lined up outside the Apple Store in Tokyo’s Shibuya neighborhood to wait for the January 2 release of the its 2015 lucky bag (luckily, his experience waiting outside wasn’t nearly as traumatic as the poor folks’ up in Sapporo). Although he was hoping to score a MacBook Air for the second year running, this year our man had his eye on another item as well–the Apple Store lucky bag-exclusive t-shirt.

Will Mr. Sato find the coveted t-shirt in his bag again this year? See his haul after the jump!

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Photos of people lining up outside of the Sapporo Apple Store make us feel positively frozen

We thought people were dedicated when they lined up in droves to wait for the release of the iPhone 6 earlier this year, but that’s nothing compared to what these people had to endure while waiting for New Year’s lucky bags outside of the Apple Store in Sapporo, Japan!

Would you wait outside in the freezing cold for over a day and risk catching pneumonia in order to score some spiffy Apple products?

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Happy Kentucky Fried New Year! And this year’s KFC New Year Lucky Bag contains…?

Every New Year’s, people across Japan flock to stores for special bargains, and in particular, the “Lucky Bags” known as fukubukuro. From electronics and chocolate shops to up-scale department stores, Japanese shops and businesses of all kinds come up with original Lucky Bags at the beginning of each year to tempt those of us out for some new year’s shopping. Now, these bags are supposed to offer good value, containing products worth more than the price you pay for the bag. Well, the bags may be a good value, but the catch is that you can’t choose what you get in your bag, and each year there ends up being much online discussion on whether the Lucky Bags from different shops are a particularly good or bad deal.

Not to miss out on the action, the team at the Japanese RocketNews24 site has also joined the Lucky Bag rush, and as we’ve already started reporting, we’ve taken a look at the contents of quite a few of the bags being sold this year. And one of them happens to be a bag from none other than … Kentucky Fried Chicken Japan. Let’s see what “finger-lickin’ good” items were included in their Lucky Bag for 2015!

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Baskin Robbins’ new year lucky bags are Snoopy-tastic! (Also, free ice cream!)

We’ve been bringing you all the the details on the year’s best fukubukuro – or “lucky bags” – today, but no roundup of these wonderful New Year’s goodie bags would be complete without a visit to ice cream purveyor Baskin Robbins Japan. Let’s find out what frozen delights were hidden in their bag!

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Lotteria’s lucky bag opened: even if you’re not a Naruto fan you’ll come out ahead!

As you’ve probably already gathered by browsing our front page today, fukubukuro season again! And for the 99.999999999 percent of us who couldn’t get the robot suit, every other store in Japan has something up for grabs.

This time we’re going to take a peek inside a lucky bag from leading fast food chain Lotteria as purchased by our own Hattori GO. Even though he’s not particularly a Naruto fan, he found himself very satisfied with his 2,000-yen (US$17) paper bag, so let’s take a look inside and see why!

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We buy a $45 Lucky Bag from posh chocolatiers Godiva so you don’t have to

New Year in Japan means family time, food with very specific meanings, and of course shopping. And one of our favourite things about this time of year is the opportunity to buy Lucky Bags (fukubukuro). As the name implies, these are bags containing a lucky dip of items from your store of choice – so you don’t know what loot you’ve got until after you’ve parted with your cash.

Sometimes, you can hit the jackpot with fukubukuro – last year, for example, our very own Mr. Sato was ecstatic to get his hands on a MacBook Air. But here at RocketNews24 we like our tech to come with a side order of luxury chocolate, so when we heard that upmarket chocolatier Godiva were selling Lucky Bags for 5,400 yen (US$45), we sent our reporter P.K. Sanjun down to buy one. Here’s what he got!

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Contents of Starbucks Coffee’s 2015 lucky bag REVEALED!

Happy New Year! At the start of the new year in Japan many stores release fukubukuro, or lucky bags, where you can get a selection of goodies for less than they usually retail for, as well as limited edition items. People rush around the stores picking up fukubukuro from all their favourite brands, but often the items inside are a secret. We’re here to reveal some of them so you can make an informed decision on which to go for.

Here we have Starbucks Coffee’s offering, which sells for 3,500 yen (US$29). Read on to find out what’s inside!

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Ring in the new year with a real robot suit, on sale at Keisei Department store

The New Year season is often a peak shopping time in Japan, and as such stores pull out the big guns in what are known as fukubukuro (lucky bags). These are bags full of the merchandise a particular shop peddles. Sometimes it’s random which means you could end up with a laptop for fifty bucks, other times the contents are known but you can still get a decent deal on a bulk purchase. And sometimes, in the name of publicity, shops will throw in some unusual item or offer remarkably great deals to celebrate the new year.

It appears the winner for 2015 will be Keisei Department Store who are offering what must be a very large fukubukuro containing a two-meter-tall functional robot suit!

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Up all night to get lucky…bags at Apple stores across Japan

The New Year is obviously a major holiday in Japan, and that means sales at every store. In addition to discounted products, the beginning of January sees many stores also offering grab bags, most often called “lucky bags,” a direct translation of 福袋 (fukubukuro), in Japan.

Of course, some of the most sought-after lucky bags in Japan are those from Apple. In fact, if you want to grab one of Apple’s lucky bags, now might be a good time to buy a sleeping bag and some snacks, because you’ll probably be camping out over night!

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We purchase a Starbucks Lucky Bag, makes us look at the big picture

A New Year’s Tradition in Japan is the fukubukuro (lucky bag) sold in most businesses in the country. Basically it’s a bag full of merchandise sold at a fixed price, but the catch is you don’t know what’s inside. For example, last your our reporter waited eight days to get an Apple fukurobuko only to get some measly accessories, while the guy in line behind him scored a MacBook Air (don’t worry the story had a happy ending, and this year turned out a lot better).

This year our food reporter Kuzo got a Starbucks lucky bag in hopes of some high quality coffee and related gear. Did fortune smile on him? Let’s find out.

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This Apple store gave away 15 Macbook Airs, stacks of iPads and accessories in “lucky bags” this morning

It’s January 2 here in Japan, and for most major stores and savvy consumers alike, that can mean only one thing: fukubukuro! Literally meaning “lucky bag”, fukubukuro give stores a chance to bundle items together – some great, some not so great – to sell off at a massively discounted rate and make room for incoming stock. The catch? Customers have no idea what they’re buying until after they’ve handed over their cash. Usually, though, they get far more than what they pay for.

For larger companies like Apple, lucky bags are also a great opportunity to drum up a little additional publicity and get people lining up outside their stores hoping for the chance to buy one. Ever the Mac and iPhone fan, our reporter extraordinaire Mr. Sato was there to grab some swag for himself.

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2013 Lucky Bag Fail Update: A Happy Ending! (Brought to you by Acer)

You might recognize this beaming face standing in front of the Shibuya Apple store, deliriously waving a t-shirt in the air. After standing in line and living on the streets for eight days in a quest for a lucky bag containing a MacBook Air, our hero was disappointed to find that his efforts were fruitless; the best item in the lucky bag he received was an iPod nano and a grey t-shirt.

Disappointed and exhausted, he consoled himself, sighing, “I like the Acer that I already have and I probably wouldn’t have been able to figure out how to use a MacBook Air…” He trudged home, defeated and MacBook Airless.

But this story has a happy ending! Here is our hero’s account of the events that transpired after his epic 2013 Apple lucky bag fail:

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2013 Lucky Bag Fail: “I waited in line for eight days and all I got was a stupid iPod nano…and a T-shirt”

Our reporter, Mr. Tashiro, is a man of great patience. He waited in front of the Shibuya Apple Store from December 25th until January 2nd in order to be the first one in line to purchase the 2013 Apple fukubukoro.  Also known as “lucky bags”, fukubukuro are bags filled with mystery items that are sold at a fixed price at the beginning of each year. It’s a clever way for stores to get rid of excess merchandise, but if you’re one of the lucky ones, you’ll score a great deal on items that far exceed the price you paid. 

Hoping to score a MacBook Air for 33,000 yen (US $377 and the price of this year’s Apple fukubukoro), Mr. Tashiro spent eight freezing days in front of the Apple store and gave up his Christmas and New Year’s for a chance to snag a grand prize lucky bag.

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