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YumeTwins Kawaii Culture BlogFukubukuro: Merchandise for the New Year! 

Fukubukuro: Merchandise for the New Year! 

By Devon Lord-Moncrief
November 29, 2023
A fukubukuro ornament.

We’ve all been there: it’s the end of the year, we have some holiday cash, and all of those retailer deals are starting to look great! Buying a fukubukuro is the best way to take advantage of holiday discounts! If you’ve never heard of fukubukuro, this is the perfect place to learn about Japan’s biggest end-of-year blowout sales event!

What is a fukubukuro?

Fukubukuro (lucky bag) happens when stores have a massive amount of backstock and want to get rid of it fast for the new year, so they just stuff everything into mystery bags and majorly discount them. As such, retailers fill dozens of bags with all the backstock they don’t want to bring into the new year and sell them at massive discounts!

A bunch of fukubukuro on sale on a street corner.
These bags usually go on sale in teh new year! Image via Shutterstock

As every retailer partakes in this practice, the contents in the bags range and depend on the retailer. Some bags are full of quality items, while others are packed with items no one would ever want.

These events are so significant that people often line up in advance outside stores to get their hands on them. To further entice customers to buy their fukubukuro, retailers may also put vouchers for high-value items or services in a bag, thus increasing the reward for getting a good pull!

When can I get them?

Fukubukuro events are held at virtually every retailer and store during every Japanese New Year. The New Year takes place on January 1st, so fukubukuro events were held during November and December of the previous year. Some believe that keeping unwanted items into the new year is bad luck.

Some lucky bags on sale at a store.
Most of these bags contain leftover inventory. Image via Shutterstock

In many ways, fukubukuro events are similar to Black Friday in the West. In the US, Black Friday is the Friday following Thanksgiving when retailers offer their most significant discounts. Both events allow retailers to clear out their backstock while offering customers the year’s best sales!

Are you interested in gaining some awesome items for the holiday season? Check out YumeTwins! YumeTwins sends all kinds of kawaii character goods – from Japanese plushies to stationery – right to your door so that you can enjoy your best kawaii lifestyle on your way!

What are some amazing past fukubukuro?

2023 Disney Store

A bunch of Disney items on sale.
Disney has some of the best items you can ask for in a fukubukuro! Image via Shutterstock

Disney Japan is no stranger to great fukubukuro events! Customers can even pre-order Disney’s fukubukuro boxes (the contents are so big that they need boxes instead of bags!) and deliver them to their homes. Talk about convenience! Disney’s fukubukuro boxes include plushies, figures, stationery, and soaps. Valued at roughly $75 US, the Disney fukubukuro boxes are worth their price for any Disney fan!

2023 Pokemon

A bunch of Pokemon items, around a Pikachu statue.
Pokemon is one of the most popular franchises with amazing items! Image via Shutterstock

The only thing that can make Pokemon even cuter is a fantastic crossover deal that brings Pokemon and donuts together. That’s right, donuts, courtesy of donut chain Mister Donuts. Mister Donuts teamed up with Pokemon to offer fans three different fukubukuro options, with the most expensive box containing goodies such as towels, stationery, bags, and (of course) vouchers for up to 50 free donuts. That’s a lot of donuts, but hey, sharing is caring!

2023 Sanrio

A bunch of Hello Kitty plushies.
These Hello Kitty plushies are common items in Sanrio lucky bags! Image via Shutterstock

Leave it to Hello Kitty to take discount shopping to a new level. Sanrio went all out for their fukubukuro grabs, offering customers three different tiers of boxes to choose from. These boxes were also themed around various Sanrio characters, such as Hello Kitty, Pompompurin, Cinnamaroll, and Kuromi. Each box contains towels, clothing, keychains, toys, plushies, and stationery. For roughly $50, Sanrio fans were treated to a treasure trove of awesome Sanrio goodness!

Why should I get a fukubukuro?

The best way to answer this question is by asking whether you like fantastic sales. If so, that is the number one reason why you should get a fukubukuro. Regardless of what you need or are looking for at the end of the year, a store will cater to your needs. While you might not need everything you get in your mystery  box, chances are you’ll want to keep most of it (and there’s nothing with some subtle regifting!)

A fukubukuro against a red background.
Would you ever get an fukubukuro! Image via Shutterstock

Fukubukuro is also a great way to splurge and treat yourself at the end of the year. Sometimes, money gets tight throughout the year, making fukubukuro so valuable: the goods in the bags are of the same quality you ordinarily find in the stores, just lumped together and discounted.

Just because something is sold at a lower price doesn’t reduce its inherent value. Also, it’s pretty fun to take a shot in the dark and gamble on what you get. Have you ever bought a fukubukuro before? Where did you go? Did you get what you wanted? Let us know in the comments below! We’d love to hear how your discount shopping adventures went!

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