Our best Ghibli merchandise haul to date!

Our Japanese reporter K. Masami is a big fan of Studio Ghibli and the Donguri Kyowakoku chain of stores that sells the studio’s official merchandise. While she loves to browse the shelves at Donguri Kyowakoku for new Ghibli goods throughout the year, she knows to save some money for New Year, when the chain releases its annual fukubukuro lucky bags, as they’re always filled with fantastic goods worth more than what you pay for, and they haven’t disappointed her yet.

The only downside to these bags is their popularity, which means you can miss out if you’re not in the know with how and when they should be purchased. Thankfully, Masami knew that reservations, which had to be made in-store, began on 8 December, but as she had to work that day, she was unable to get to a branch until the afternoon, by which time a lot of places had already reached their reservation quota.

The store in Osaka that she was relying on to make her reservation had also reached its quota by the time she got there, so in a panic, she called a store in Kyoto to see if she could make a reservation there. They told her they had a few spots left but they were going to close soon, so she hopped in a taxi, asking the driver to take the fastest possible route, and spending 1,400 yen (US$10.68) on the fare.

At the end of her panicked cab ride, Masami was successful in making a reservation, handing over 5,000 yen ($38.13) for the bag and receiving the below voucher in return, which she would have to hand over to staff at the store between 28 December and 4 January to redeem her fukubukuro.

Since the fukubukuro is paid for in advance, it has to be picked up from the same store where the reservation was made. Masami had reserved hers at the Ninenzaka branch, right near Kiyomizudera temple in Kyoto, so that’s where she returned to pick up her bag at the start of the year.

▼ The Ninenzaka branch is located in a tourist area that isn’t frequented by a lot of locals, which is likely why she was able to secure a reservation there.

It was a happy day when Masami picked up her fukubukuro, especially as she’d been so close to missing out on it, and when she opened the bag to see what she’d received, she was thrilled to find it was her best haul to date.

Let’s take a closer look at everything she received, starting with the Spirited Away Accessory Box Feast, which turned out to be her favourite item.

This cute container is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, yet it has a solid feel to it.

Normally priced at 4,730 yen, this item alone pretty much makes up the entire cost of the bag, meaning that everything else would be like free bonuses!

So what did she essentially receive for free? A whole swag of goods, including a Kiki’s Delivery Service Nostalgic Piggy Bank in the shape of magical black cat Jiji.

▼ There was also a Kiki’s Delivery Service Rain Bag

▼ …a My Neighbour Totoro Antibacterial Lunch Box

▼ …a slightly larger My Neighbour Totoro Antibacterial Lunch Box with more compartments…

▼ …a Kiki’s Delivery Service Antibacterial Dishwasher Compatible “Combi Set” containing a reusable spoon and pair of chopsticks…

▼ …and an Earwig and the Witch Badge.

▼ Oh, and we can’t forget the cute “Donguri Kyowakoku” (“Acorn Republic”) branded bag it all came in.

The price of this Ghibli lucky bag may have increased from previous years — the bags cost 4,000 yen in 2022 and 2020, and 3,000 yen in 2019 and 2018 — but Masami reckons it was totally worth it, as it was the best bag to date in terms of value for money as well as contents.

She’ll definitely be purchasing a bag again next year, providing she can find one before they sell out, of course. Ghibli goods are always in high demand, so much so that the recent humidifiers and New Years’ decorations sold out as soon as they went on sale, so she’ll definitely be clearing her calendar for lucky bag reservation day come December!

Photos: ©SoraNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]