Understanding the Japanese Lucky Dip Bag

If you’ve ever been to Japan around New Years you’ll see what appears to be a whole bunch of Lucky Dip Bags. The difference between the New Zealand and Japanese versions is mainly to do with price and quality – in New Zealand Lucky Dip bags contain crappy gifts and cost about $5. In Japan, Lucky Bags, or Fukubukuro (福袋, lucky bag, mystery bag) are serious business, with the most expensive bags costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

So what do you get? Well, it’s a mystery of course! And yet, it’s not really. I went to an electronics store in Hiroshima once and saw Digital SLR camera Lucky Bags. The bags specified the minimum specifications of the camera, but you didn’t get to choose the brand or model. Rest assured you were more than likely going to get something great and at a heavy discount.

I ended up paying 10,000 yen (roughly $160 NZD) for a Lucky Dip of Japanese clothing worth $600 NZD. Awesome bargains, I ended up getting a puffy jacket, puffy vest, hoodie, beanie, long sleeve shirt and t-shirt. Not a bad haul, though bear in mind that fashion taste in New Zealand is often different from Japanese fashion – while puffy shiny jackets are in vogue in Japan, they certainly are not in New Zealand.

Interested in seeing some examples of lucky dip bags? Check out a collection of lucky bags at Rakuten, Japan’s largest online shopping mall.

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