This multi-block queue has to be seen to be believed, as people spend hours lining up due to traditional beliefs.

Sometimes when you walk the streets of Tokyo you can can find people queued up at random spots, and what they’re lining up for can often be a mystery, even to locals.

However, there’s one queue in Ginza at this time of year that’s well known to locals, and many of them will be tempted to join it because it’s something of a tradition for many. If you’re unfamiliar with this tradition, our reporter P.K. Sanjun would like to introduce you to it, so you can find out exactly what it’s about, and what it’s like to actually stand in the queue.

The line of people starts at the Sukiyabashi Crossing in Ginza, outside what’s famously known as “Japan’s luckiest lottery shop” (as seen in the photo above). It’s said that this particular location gives you the best chance of winning in Japan, and in particular the number 1 ticket window has produced many first prize winners, hence the long queue of wannabe millionaires hoping for a chance to win big, as the year-end Jumbo Lottery offers 1 billion yen (US$6.97 million) in total prize money.

The place is so busy it even has a signboard to let people know which windows take cash only (“現金のみ”) and which ones accept cashless payments (“キャッシュレス”).

The most popular day to buy a lottery ticket is taian, the most auspicious day according to rokuyo, a traditional calendar that ranks every day of the year into one of six lucky tiers. This year, taian fell on 19 December, and it was even more auspicious than usual, as it happened to coincide with ichiryumanbaibi (“A single seed can produce 10,000 seeds”), a date connected to the solar calendar when luck can increase 10,000-fold.

▼ “Today is lucky day ichiryumanbaibi”

This overlap of lucky dates appealed to P.K., who took it as a sign to go and buy himself a ticket at the luckiest lottery shop, but as it turns out, he wasn’t the only one who felt that way, because when he got there, the line didn’t stop at the corner — it went all the way to the next block…

▼…and the next block again.

P.K. has only ever bought a lottery ticket a few times in his life, so he’d foolishly thought a punt on this lucky day would take him about 10 minutes. However, as he walked past the queue of people in an attempt to find the end of the line, it just kept going…

▼…and going…

▼…and going.

At this point, he was wondering if it was worth going to such extreme lengths to buy a lottery ticket. But then, he finally, finally, came to the end of the line.

With hopes that the line might move quite quickly, P.K. took his place at the end of the queue, thinking it might be about an hour wait. However, five minutes after joining the queue, a security guard appeared with a sign that read “End of the line for Jumbo Lottery Window No. 1″ and he made a pitiful announcement.

▼ “It’s expected to take about four to five-and-a-half hours from this point.”

“Whaaaaa?!?!” P.K. couldn’t quite believe his ears, and all colour drained from his face at the thought of the office being almost six hours away.

That’s a quarter of an entire day, and almost a whole workday, which P.K. couldn’t afford to miss out on. So he decided to give up on buying a ticket at window number 1 and headed back to line up at window number 7 instead. This turned out to be a much faster option, as he only had to wait about 30 minutes to be served.

He purchased 10 consecutively numbered tickets, for a total of 3,000 yen, pausing to rub his tickets on a manekineko (lucky beckoning cat) for extra luck before putting them in his pocket.

He may not have bought his ticket at the super famous number 1 ticket window, but with 7 being a lucky number for P.K., this wasn’t a bad result.

Here’s hoping the actual result is even better — perhaps 10,000-fold better — so he can share the bounty with his mates back in the office, perhaps by buying them one million yen worth of scratch lottery tickets, like we did back in 2016.

Images © SoraNews24
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