Unveiling the Mystery: Fukubukuro and the Tradition of Lucky Bags in the Japanese New Year

by Marine Tranier

Japan has many New Year's Eve traditions, from beginning the new year with a clean house to gifting children with otoshidama (money in special envelopes) and sending New Year's cards to family and friends. Within these exciting Japanese New Year traditions is purchasing fukubukuro, also known as lucky bags. These bags are filled with random discounted goodies, making them a fun surprise to open during New Year's celebrations. Fukubukuro are available at many shops throughout Japan from the end of December to the beginning of January, so it's common for people to head to their favorite shops to pick up a mystery bag during this period.


An old tradition coming from Japan: the New Year lucky bags also known as Fukubukuro


Curious about fukubukuro and what to expect when opening these lucky bags? Continue reading for more information on how they're connected to New Year's celebrations, where to get them, and how to pick out the perfect lucky bag.


Introduction to Fukubukuro: The Thrill of Japanese Lucky Bags


Like many of Japan's traditions, the creation of fukubukuro is a bit unclear. Depending on who you ask, you'll get a different answer about when and where these lucky bags first appeared. Some believe Echigoya, a Tokyo Kimono fabric shop, was the first to produce these lucky bags in the Edo period. Others claim Daimaruya, another shop, was the first to offer these bags during two holidays – Ebisu-ko and New Year's. Supposedly, this is how the bags began being associated with the Japanese New Year.


Others believe the bags were invented much later, in the Meiji Period. Regardless, there is one common trait between each of these theories. Each story revolves around a kimono fabric shop. Initially, these sealed goodie bags were only available from retailers. Over the years, other businesses have jumped on the bandwagon because of the bags' popularity. They also coincide with the end of the year, making it easy for each shop to get rid of old stock to make room for new items. Now, you'll see these surprise bags offered at fine dining establishments and more casual spots like Starbucks.


The Significance of Lucky Bags in Japanese New Year Celebrations


A major part of Japanese New Year celebrations involves getting rid of old items or cleaning – starting the year fresh. By purchasing fukubukuro, family members can start their year with new items from their favorite shops and stores. This helps continue the tradition of starting new and clearing out old items. Additionally, it is thought these bags help bring in luck for the upcoming year.


Though those celebrating the New Year via Japanese traditions don't know what they'll be getting in their bags, the hope is that you receive at least one item you want. If you get what you want, you "win," even though it's not really a competition. These bags can feature expensive items, like electronics. Many people particularly enjoy trying to "win" at places like Apple and Yodobashi Camera. Even if you don't "win," you can rest assured knowing you got the lucky bag items for a good value (less than the cost of the items inside).


People in Japan sometimes line up for hours in front of stores to get a chance to buy their lucky bag

Inside a Fukubukuro: Unraveling the Mystery Bag Phenomenon


When opening fukubukuro, you can expect quite an array of items, from laptops to clothing. Items inside these bags can include clothing (for various genders or ages), jewelry, coffee, headphones (or other electronics), freeze-dried food, concert tickets, makeup, etc. That's the fun part of these bags - you never know what you will get! Though some stores have begun offering lucky bags with clear packaging, so you know what you're getting before opening the bag!


While you used to have to wait in line for hours to grab a mystery bag, retailers and restaurants have made it easier in the past few years. Now, you can order online and pick them up in-store. Or, avoid the store altogether and have them shipped directly to your home.


Sugoi Mart's Exclusive Lucky Bag Collection


Sugoi Mart's selection of unique lucky bags


Luckily for those who can't visit Japan in person, Sugoi Mart has a wide array of fukubukuro to buy. You'll find quite a few options of lucky bags at Sugoi Mart, from instant noodles to Sanrio-themed items and more. Whether you prefer food-centric mystery bags or ones featuring your favorite animes, like Jujutsu Kaisen, the large variety of bag themes on the collection page means you can easily get yourself (and your favorite person) the perfect bag. These lucky bags are also available at various price points, ensuring there's one that fits everyone's budget.


From Traditional to Trendy: The Evolution of Mystery Bags at Sugoi Mart


Offering lucky bags online is a newer concept that has only appeared in recent years. With Sugoi Mart, you can jump on this trend and get your very own fukubukuro without heading to Japan. Each bag is full of surprise items (like a traditional mystery bag) yet has fun modern themes like the Demon Slayer bag. Other options help you feel like you've been transported to Japan, like the Sugoi Mart Lucky Bag. This bag features finds from various categories, including Japanese Kit Kats, bath bombs, stationary, manga, plushies, and more.


Customer Favorites: Top Picks from Sugoi Mart's Lucky Bag Range


Unsure what to pick from Sugoi Mart's lucky bag options? Here are a few of the top picks from previous customers!


Sugoi Mart Sanrio Lucky Bag - This fukubukuro is perfect for Sanrio lovers. You'll find items like plushies, candy, snacks, utensils, and more in this lucky bag - all Sanrio-themed! Customers love how cute the items in this bag are.


Sugoi Mart's Sanrio Lucky Bag


Sugoi Mart Ghibli Lucky Bag - Calling all Ghibli fans, you'll want to try to "win" with this lucky bag. It has various items like puzzles, toys, and stationery that are Ghibli-themed. Customers loved that this pack was snack-free and high-quality.


Sugoi Mart's Ghibli Lucky Bag


Sugoi Mart Kirby Lucky Bag - This Kirby-themed bag has everything from snacks to toys, figurines, and more. You may even get lucky and get an extra prize - like an Otomatone - in your bag!


Sugoi Mart's Kirby Lucky Bag

How to Choose Your Perfect Fukubukuro at Sugoi Mart


The perfect fukubukuro is in reach with various guides and other options that help you narrow down your lucky bag options. Start with this lucky bag quiz that will provide a curated selection based on a few quick questions. Then, check out this lucky bag guide, which explores the range of options, from collectibles to Japan-exclusive Starbucks items.


Still unsure of which one to grab? Consider who you are buying a mystery bag for (yourself? or someone else?). What are your interests (anime, gachapon, or something else?)? Then, select a favorite type of item. If you're stuck between two bags, you can always get both. When in doubt, opt for the seasonal lucky bag, like the Sakura Lucky Bag, available this year.


Sugoi Mart's best seller Lucky Bag: the seasonal Sakura Lucky Bag

Conclusion: Embracing the Excitement of Fukubukuro with Sugoi Mart


Whether you celebrate Japanese New Year or not, fukubukuro is a fun way to start the year right. With little surprises and random items, you'll begin the year with excitement, wonder, and new items to try out. This tradition is also a great way to explore Japanese culture for yourself and your loved ones. Try out the fun options from Sugoi Mart to skip the lines! Or, snag some lucky bags with free shipping from the Sugoi Mart pop-up store.


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