6. Queue for a Happy Bag (Fukubukuro) at the First Sale of the New Year (Hatsu-uri)
Most companies in Japan will close for about a week from the end of December to the first week of January for their employees to rest and enjoy New Year holidays. However, be rest assured that departmental stores, shopping malls, convenience stores and restaurants will still be open.
This is the best shopping time in Japan because all departmental stores, shopping malls and literally every shopping street will be having the first mega nationwide sale of the year, known as Hatsu-uri. A distinctive feature of the Hatsu-uri is the sale of “Happy Bags”, known as Fukubukuro. These are sealed bags filled with items from the same shop or the same brand, and each bag must be priced much lower than the actual total value of the items, making it a really great bargain.
Some shops might disclose the category of items inside but it will still be a great bargain. Popular brands of fukubukuro sought after in Japan include Apple, Muji, Starbucks, Cecil McBee and various shopping malls. Besides fukubukuro, most departmental stores, shopping malls and shopping streets will have up to 70% sale. It is highly recommended to bring more cash and be prepared to shop till you drop.
I hope these tips will help you to understand the Japanese culture of Ganjitsu celebration and you will enjoy your New Year winter holiday in Japan.