Harajuku New Year’s Day 2010 Sales & Lucky Bags

New Year’s Day is a day when many – maybe most – of us think of sleeping in to recover from the hard partying that we did the night before. But, in Tokyo, it’s also a big shopping day. Some shops and department stores close on the first and re-open on the second, but the stores that do open on the first day of the year are usually packed.

Probably the most famous New Year’s Day shopping spot for fashionable young Japanese girls (and a few guys too) is LaForet Harajuku. In fact, when we were stumbling home after our New Year’s Eve parties – around 6am in the morning of New Year’s Day – there were already girls lining up outside of LaForet so that they could be the first into the department store when it opened (opening time was still hours away). That’s dedication!

LaForet Harajuku New Years Day

Most of the shops on Takeshita Dori are also open on the first day of the year in Japan. The shops that do open for New Year’s Day usually have the famous Japanese fukubukuro on sale – attracting large crowds of excited shoppers. Fukubukuro (also known as Lucky Bags, Mystery Bags, Happy Bags, or Fun-Word-Here Bags) are fixed-price bags that you buy from a shop without knowing what’s inside. The attraction is that you can get a huge value for your money. If the bag costs 10,000 yen (US$110), it might have 50,000 yen (US$535) worth of goodies inside. It’s a way for shoppers to get much more from their favorite shops and brands than they can get at any other time of the year. The downside is that you don’t know what’s in the bag, so you might be getting some of last-year’s fashion or something that doesn’t fit or something strange that will shock you. But if that’s the case, then you can always turn around and try to sell it on Yahoo Auctions, right?

While we were not able to wake up early enough to catch the morning mayhem at LaForet (we partied a little too hard on New Year’s Eve for that), we did take a quick evening walk down Takeshita Dori and Meiji Dori to see what was going on. We tried to hit Cat Street too, but it looked like most of the shops there were waiting for January 2nd to get their fukubukuro on. So, please enjoy these photos from New Year’s Day evening (sounds like a contradiction, but I think it’s correct?) in Harajuku:

Takeshita Dori Crowded Shopping Street
Looking down Takeshita from Harajuku Station.

Harajuku Sale and Mystery Bags

Trpp Girl Mystery Bags
Trpp Girl Lucky Bags!

Wonder Rocket Fukubukuro
Wonder Rocket fukubukuro.

Tutuanna New Year Sale
Tutuanna – underwear and leggings – everything on sale!

Claire's Fukubukuro
Claire’s accessories.

Japanese Guy With Bullhorn

Elleme Winter Sale
Elleme Winter Sale!

Amos Style vs. Kimono
Amo’s Style and a woman in a kimono!

Japanese Cosmetics Sale
Lots of cosmetics on sale.

Last Chance Outlet

Pink Bags at Porta Portese Harajuku
Porta Portese Harajuku

Liz Lisa Fukubukuro
Liz Lisa big rolling lucky bags!

Liz Lisa Harajuku Sale
More Liz Lisa fukubukuro goodness!

Takeshita Dori Fukubukuro

Harajuku Goodie Bags

500 Yen Shop
A 500 Yen Shop – their bags might have some fun stuff inside!

Indio Harajuku Sale
The Indio shop on Takeshita Dori.

Zen Mall Harajuku
Zen Mall Lucky Bags.

Body Focus Fukubukuro
Fukubukuro inside of Body Focus.

WEGO Takeshita 2010 Sale
Big sale at WEGO!

Wonder Rocket Scary Rabbit Sale
Another Wonder Rocket store – this one with a white rabbit out front.

Happy Bag For Ladys
Happy Bag For Ladys.

Forever 21 Harajuku Happy Bag
Forever 21 Harajuku sale bags!

Forever 21 Harajuku Fun Staff
Forever 21 Harajuku staff promoting their New Year’s Day sale.

LaForet Harajuku Shipping Boxes
Hundreds of shipping boxes outside of LaForet Harajuku. After you buy too much stuff at the sales, you can have it shipped home instead of having to carry it all on the train.

LaForet Harajuku New Years Sale

LaForet Harajuku 2010

Kitson Harajuku Huge Bag
The world’s biggest Kitson tote!

You can click any of the photos to see them in higher quality.

That’s all we’ve got from the first day of the year. But, January 2nd is the day that Shibuya 109 opens for the first time in 2010. By then, we will have recovered from the holiday and we’ll be up bright and early to get pictures of the insanity that goes on there. So, check back soon for more pictures of New Year’s fukubukuro, big sales, and shopping madness!

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  1. I knew about these, but I didn’t think it was such a big thing. Very cool! Also Claire’s in Japan? WEIRD.

  2. tokyo

    OMG! I’ve never been awake early enough on New Year’s Day to see that LaForet line. That’s more hardcore than the Grand Bazar lines! Did you take those pics? Crazy!

  3. How amazing! I had no idea a big, flat-rate myspery bag of items was such a popular thing.. From a sellers viewpoint, its actually quite clever when you want to get rid of old merch and/or overstocked items.. Are all the contents displayed on the bag’s label?? I see some with lots of writing on it, but others that are completly blank. Oh i wish i could read Japanese! :/


  4. Pingback: Japanese Lucky Bags 2010 - Lots of Pictures!

  5. @Tokyo, my bf has taken those pics, I am in the first pic wearing the pink cat ear hat lol. That day I joined the line and I managed to get 2 bags from Lolita brands :) it was fun to do this!
    Next year I want to go again lol!

    This year I go in March to Japan so no sale for me *sob*

  6. tokyo

    Haha Leyla – those bunny ears are too cute. That’s awesome that you were able to wake up that early on New Year’s Day. Maybe next year I’ll try to wake up – but I’ll probably fail again. In March, I guess you miss most of the big sales, but at least you’re in Japan! :-)

    PetitLolita – Some of the bags do say what’s in them, or at least they list the size or whether it’s for boys or girls. But, a lot of them are totally blind – you get what you get. As long as the girls (or guys) pick brands they love, then they generally get some items they like – and they can always trade/sell what they don’t want. If you check the related Shibuya article we just posted, you can see some of the girls selling unwanted items out of their Lucky Bags right in front of Shibuya 109!

  7. @Tokyo, thank you :p that way my bf could always find me in a crowd lol!
    Yeah we had a kind of borring night befor it so we went to bed not so late.
    yeah I know I am happy already that I can go back again!

    The bags I bought were from Putumayo and Angelic pretty,
    Putumayo showed on their website a picture of the outfit that you could get, only the color was a surprice.
    For angelic pretty you could choise pink or black but you didn’t know what outfit it was.

    I am happy that I am small and fit in almost all Japanese clothings, otherwise I would not gamble if I would get something that fits or not.

  8. I love that. they have to ship stuff home because of all the shopping..Japan is like another planet altogether..<3 <3 <3