In the United States, the New Year is a time for $1 gym memberships — but in Japan, it’s fukubukuro, or lucky bag, season.
With the exception of Tatcha’s free-with-$100-purchase lucky bags (which swept the beauty news circuit), this trend unfortunately hasn’t swept the U.S. yet the way some other Japanese fads have. If it were my choice, I would take the lucky bags over the diet culture any day!
Thankfully, you can still get fukubukuro in some select locations here in the U.S. Some of these fukubukuro are shipped from overseas, while others come from the States themselves. While the wait may be longer for those that are shipped internationally, it’s always worth it once you open up your lucky bag and see what’s inside.
These four fukubukuro will help you ring in the New Year with a kawaii surprise. Just make sure you grab one before it’s too late: fukubukuro are usually available for a limited time only!
Tips for Getting Fukubukuro in the United States
Because fukubukuro are a Japanese trend that hasn’t yet become widespread in the United States, you’ll need to do some digging in order to get your hands on authentic Japanese lucky bags. My best tips for getting fukubukuro in the United States are as follows:
- Look at U.S.-based kawaii and Japanese pop culture stores first. Many of these stores have adopted the lucky bag trend, and you’ll pay less in shipping than if you get your fukubukuro from Japan.
- Use a proxy service to order off of Amazon Japan or other places that sell fukubukuro. Proxy services like ZenMarket hire someone to buy Japan-only items for you. Then, they mail them to you at a lower shipping cost than if you were to purchase them yourself.
- Search for prior years’ fukubukuro (or unwanted new fukubukuro) on sites like Poshmark and Mercari. Some people are getting rid of theirs at a far lower price point than what they retail for!
- Expect to pay up to $200 for authentic Japanese lucky bags. The price typically depends on the size, but generally speaking, you’ll need to pay more for a Japanese lucky bag than for a lucky bag sold by a U.S. company. This is because lucky bags are highly coveted in Japan, and fukubukuro season can get competitive among consumers!
Four Lucky Bags That Ship to the United States
Run by the subscription box company Japan Crate, Sugoi Mart is a shop for getting Japan-only items. Much of their stock centers on Japanese food, which often comes in flavors we would consider wild here in the U.S. If you want to test your taste buds (and snag some kawaii bonus items in the process), grab yourself a Sugoi Mart Lucky Bag this January. They cost $50 and are guaranteed to contain double the value.
Blippo Kawaii Shop sells both signature and character goods. Shipped from Singapore, the $22.50 lucky bag is guaranteed to contain a mix of home goods, stationery, plush, and more from their rich warehouse. You’ll get at least 15 adorable products when you buy a Blippo surprise bag. Because it’s such a steal, I just got my hands on one today. I can’t wait for it to get here so I can show you all what I got! (Note: while I’ve worked with Blippo in the past, I purchased the lucky bag with my own money; this is not a PR product.)
Tofu Cute is a U.K.-based kawaii shop that sells signature lucky bags stuffed with kawaii goodies. They have both vegetarian and carnivorous versions, since their bags contain a mixture of snacks and Amuse plush. You can also get a version of the lucky bag that contains Amuse plush only — perfect for the plushie hoarder in your life! The Tofu Cute lucky bag costs about 30 GBP, which comes out to about $40 when converted to USD.
JapanLA is a Japanese pop culture store based in, you guessed it, Los Angeles, California! Their proximity to Japan makes it easy for them to get their hands on authentic Japanese merchandise. This $40 lucky bag says it’s for kids, but I take that to mean that it’s for the young at heart 🙂 What the bag really contains is an assortment of Hello Kitty items valued between $100 and $150, making it perfect for any Sanrio fans out there. If you’re feeling extra lucky, they also sell a $75 version, too.