A lucky bag so popular it can only be purchased by lottery winners.

Every New Year in Japan comes with the chance to snare a once-in-a-year bargain in the form of fukubukuro lucky bags. Some are filled with used goods, others with coupons for edibles, and some with mystery items that everybody is sure to love, purely because of the brand that distributes them.

That’s certainly the case with the Starbucks fukubukuro that appear in Japan every year. In fact, the lucky bags from Starbucks have become so popular that in recent years they’ve been made available only through lottery applications, making them some of the most hard-to-get fukubukuro in the country.

Contrary to popular belief, we have no advertising partnership deal with Starbucks whatsoever, so ten of our office staff applied to purchase a Starbucks fukubukuro when applications opened to the public at the end of last year. Out of the ten only one was a lucky winner, our Japanese-language writer Yuichiro Kazusa.

Walking on cloud nine after his lucky win, Yuichiro headed down to Starbucks on New Year’s Day to pay for his fukubukuro, and after picking it up he brought it back to the office for everyone to gawk at.

In return for the 7,000-yen (US$64.70) cost of the bag, Yuichiro received the following items:

▼ House Blend ground beans (250 grams [8.8 ounces])

▼ Pike Place Roast ground beans (250 grams)

▼ A 473-millilitre (16-ounce) Stainless Steel Tumbler

▼ Three branded clips

▼ A Picnic Sheet

▼ And six drink vouchers (valid until 28 June)

▼ That’s a grand total of six different items, plus the tote bag.

After feeling like a millionaire upon winning the coveted lottery ticket to purchase the highly sought-after fukubukuro, Yuichiro felt sadly deflated after opening it. The array of half-a-dozen items scattered on the table looked a lot less generous than what he’d received in last year’s lucky bag from Starbucks.

▼ The 2019 Starbucks fukubukuro contained a tote bag with eight items that were far more exciting than this year’s products.

Choosing to look on the bright side, Yuichiro was happy to see there were two more drink vouchers in this year’s pack, which had a long expiry date and could be exchanged for basically any drink, up to the cost of 610 yen, plus tax.

This is great for people who actually prefer to receive exchange vouchers for free drinks at Starbucks rather than branded merchandise, and having six in hand meant one free drink per month until June.

And while the number of items in the fukubukuro had decreased, this year’s bag was all about quality over quantity, with a tougher, more durable tote bag…

And a more long-lasting picnic sheet, which came with a protective lining on one side and a charming green-and-white design on the other.

The size was good for two people to sit on, or one to lie down on, which is what Yuichiro did immediately, making everyone in the office mermaid-green with envy.

The reusable tumbler also came with a reusable straw, and a 20-yen discount each time it’s filled up at Starbucks.




All in all, the Starbucks fukubukuro turned out to be a worthwhile purchase. Not only did it contain an array of exclusive goods that Japanese customers have come to expect from New Year’s lucky bags, but it had everyone in the office oohing and ahhing over the products with envy. And, as any good customer knows, that’s the priceless appeal that really ups the value of the price tag!

Photos © SoraNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]