People who didn’t win the official New Year’s greeting card lottery now have a new chance to win discounted or even free entry to certain hot springs.

You may have heard of nengajo, Japanese New Year greeting postcards, but did you know that each official card purchased through Japan Post has a unique number stamped in its lower right corner? If not, you might suddenly feel a bit more grateful towards your friends because that number is actually your special entry into a massive lottery.  

Each year, Japan Post reveals the winning lottery numbers a few weeks into January (giving you time to send cards in return to those who sent you one, as etiquette dictates), with tiers of prizes in decreasing value based on the number of matching numbers. This year’s winners were revealed on January 16, with 770102 as the first-prize winning number, numbers ending in the last four digits 1208 as second-prize winners, and numbers ending in the last two digits 54, 50, or 02 as third-prize winners.

▼ I actually scored third prize this year–which translates to a simple sheet of two free stamps!

However, this year there’s a bit of a silver lining for anyone who missed out in Japan Post’s lottery. Hot springs company Onsen Dojo has announced that six of its onsen facilities are currently offering a special nengajo promotion. Between January 17 through February 28, if you take a winning nengajo to one of the sites, you can score either discounted or free entry to the baths!

Here are Onsen Dojo’s winning numbers and prizes:

  • If the last two digits of your nengajo are 04 or 26 (26, with some linguistic wrangling, can be read as furo, the Japanese word for “bath”), you can receive 200 yen (US$1.76) off your admission fee.
  • If the last four digits of your nengajo are 2022 or 1126 (the latter a pun on ii furo, or “good bath”), you can receive free entry.

Perhaps the trickiest part of the deal is the limited locations of the participating onsen–five in Saitama Prefecture and one in Mie Prefecture. The following outlines the specific locations.

Saitama Prefecture

1. Showa Style Retro Onsen Sento Tamagawa Onsen (Tokigawa City)

2. Ofuro Cafe Hakuju (Kamikawa City)

3. Ofuro Cafe Utatane (Saitama City)

4. Ofuro Cafe Hareniwa (Kumagaya City)

5. Bio-Resort Hotel & Spa O Park Ogose (Ogose City)

Mie Prefecture

6. Yokkaichi Onsen Ofuro Café Yumoriza (Yokkaichi City)

If you won during this second bonus lottery, make sure you bring your nengajo with you to your onsen of choice for staff to verify the winning numbers. One person is limited to using each winning card once.

For more Japanese New Year’s fun, a trip to Disney might be in the cards (pun intended) to snatch up the 2022 Year of the Tiger merchandise.

Source: Onsen Dojo, PR Times
Top image: PR Times
Insert images: SoraNews24, PR Times
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[ Read in Japanese ]