Bring in the Year of the Ox with some delicious beef curry, courtesy of CoCo Ichibanya!

The year coming to a close means only one thing here in Japan — lucky bags! Lucky bags (called fukubukuro in Japanese) let you get an assortment of goods from your favourite store at a fraction of the price, the catch being that you don’t know the contents of the bags until you’ve already paid for them. Sometimes you can get really lucky, and sometimes you end up with a bunch of crab; that’s the fun of lucky bags!

So what lucky bags have we got your eyes on this year? Well, fresh from the spicy highs of Curry Bread Day back at the beginning of December, we decided to get Japanese curry chain CoCo Ichibanya’s 2021 lucky bag. The CoCo lucky bag was a steal at just 2000 yen (US$19.30), but what sort of things would we find inside a restaurant lucky bag?

Right away, we noticed was that the contents of the lucky bag seemed somehow different than usual. Where were the predictable ‘bonus items’, like cup noodles or novelty curry? There didn’t seem to be any of that this year.

No, what caught our eye first was not curry at all, but rather four 500-yen coupons for use at the restaurant. Wait a minute… that’s 2000 yen worth of coupons, meaning if you’re a CoCo Ichibanya fan, you’ve already got your money’s worth with the coupons alone.

Die-hard CoCo Ichibanya fans may be scratching their heads at this point; after all, they give out these coupons every year as part of their lucky bags. Why is this year any different? Look closer at the coupons and you’ll see something isn’t the same…

While previous coupons were able to be used up until March of that year, 2021’s lucky bag coupons are going all-out and extending their use-by date until the end of April, giving you an extra month to enjoy some tasty curry. We’ll take this any day, especially over useless ‘bonus’ items! CoCo Ichibanya, you’ve really come through this year, like when you pop to the toilet quickly before paying, and you come back to find your boss has already settled the bill. What a great feeling!

But wait! There’s more! On top of the 2,000 yen worth of coupons, the lucky bag itself comes in the form of a denim tote bag. For the last three years, CoCo Ichibanya have given away freezer bags as part of their lucky bag sets, but this year bucks the trend again with this stylish tote bag made by Onward. It’s cute and sophisticated, two words that instantly spring to mind when one thinks about curry.

And not only is the tote bag sophisticated, it’s practical too; it can hold about six 500-mililiter (16-ounce) plastic bottles, or about three liters of curry (we don’t recommend this though, unless you really, really like curry.)

Of course, it wouldn’t be a CoCo Ichibnaya lucky bag without some actual curry in it. 2021 is the Year of the Ox, so this year’s curry offering is two sachets of beef keema curry, using CoCo Ichibanya’s original recipe.

So if you’re still on the fence as to what lucky bag to go for this year, you really can’t go wrong with CoCo Ichibanya. The lucky bags went on sale December 26, but they will be offering a second round of lucky bags at the beginning of 2021. Head to your local restaurant to check when they go on sale and how many bags are left to order, and thank us later when you’ve got a belly full of delicious curry. Don’t forget to leave some space for dessert too, with this Mister Donut lucky bag!

Photos © SoraNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]