New Year, new vending machine, and this one is filled with fukubukuro.

Here at SoraNews24, we’ve started the year as we always do — by hunting down as many fukubukuro lucky bags as possible. These bags, filled with random items worth more than what you pay for, are an annual tradition in Japan, and while we’ve got our firm favourites, this year we discovered a type we’d never seen before, sold in a very unique location…at a vending machine.

There are two of these unusual machines, and they can be found in Kashiba City, Nara Prefecture, not far from where our reporter K. Masami lives, so she wasted no time in heading out there to find out more about them.

▼ When she arrived, she saw that these lucky bags were called “Company President’s Lucky Bag

The machines had “Umaimon Hokkaido” posters displayed at the top of them, which is a company that specialises in Hokkaido produce.

Taking a closer look, Masami found that the bags were named after Umaimon Hokkaido’s company president, whose idea it was to sell fukubukuro at these vending machines as a way to mark the first anniversary of the machines.

▼ The company president, looking like a boss.

Masami reached into her purse for 2,000 yen so she could buy the President’s Fukubukuro.

However, for some strange reason, the machine only accepted one of the bills, refusing to take the other one.

For a fleeting moment, Masami became worried that there was something wrong with the machine, but she quickly thought to look in her coin case, where she was able to insert the remaining amount in coins.

▼ The lights then lit up, and she was able to select the button next to number one, for the President’s Fukubukuro.

▼ The machine whirred into action and she reached down to retrieve her purchase from the tray below.

So what was in the bag? Let’s take a look at the contents!

There were eight products in total:

  • Hokkaido Donburiya Tokachi Pork Bowl
  • Fujiwara Seimen Sapporo Ginparo Rich Tonkotsu Soy Sauce Noodles
  • Hokkaido Red Beet Potage
  • Hokkaido Autumn Salmon Tororo Kombu Chazuke
  • Hokkaido Vegetable Sprinkle
  • Potato Farm potato chip snack
  • Fresh Pure Butter Cookies
  • Hokkaido Black Thunder (two bars)

The bag truly expressed the pride of Hokkaido and seemed to be a great deal for 2,000 yen. However, it was interesting to see that the chocolates, cookies and potato chips appeared to be taken out of multi-pack bags.

▼ These potato chips, for example, are usually sold in multi-pack boxes.

▼ As are these butter cookies.

Still, rather than feel duped by the smallest items in the bundle, they made us feel a sense of gratitude, as the president didn’t have to include any sweets or snacks in the fukubukuro at all. By including them, we could sense the president’s desire to give customers as many different tastes of Hokkaido as possible in return for their money, and that made the bundle sweeter, in more ways than one.

We’re not sure how much longer these bags will be in the machines for, so if you’d like to get a taste of the President’s Fukubukuro, you’ll want to head down to Nara as soon as possible. And if you’d like to widen your palate to enjoy dishes from around the world, you’ll want to visit this vending machine that sells in-flight meals in Tokyo!

Vending machine information

Vending machine “Umaimon Hokkaido” / 自動販売機「うまいもん北海道」
Address: Nara-ken, Kashiba-shi, Kawaraguchi 2306

Images © SoraNews24
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