Take a look at the gifts waiting for beef lovers in Japan for the New Year.
In Japan, fukubukuro lucky bags they have long been part of the joy New Yearsbecause they contain a bundle of random items worth more than the price you pay for the bag, which makes them look like surprise gifts.
In recent years, the tradition has evolved a bit, so some lucky bags are sold well before New Year’s, and in the case of the Yoshinoya Beef Chain, no bag at all. Instead, Yoshinoya sells his fukubukuro in boxesand our reporter Seiji Nakazawa ordered one online and received it a few days later.
▼ Lucky box in a standard box.
This wasn’t Seiji’s first rodeo as far as Yoshinoya fukubukuro is concerned, having previously ordered one for himself last year. Back then, his box contained several bags of retort flour, which was enough to throw into boiling water to prepare, so he almost expected to see them again this year.
▼ Last year’s Yoshinoya fukubukuro haul
Seiji found that the ready-made sachets came in handy late last year when he didn’t feel like going out in the cold to eat at a real Yoshinoya branch.
▼ One of the meals he made last year.
There are many different Yoshinoya fukubukuros available, and Seiji opted for a box for 7,700 yen ($55.95), which is the same amount he paid last year.
As he lifted the lid of the box, he looked forward to seeing some retort sachets, but this year there was another collection of gifts waiting for him inside.
As you can see, Seiji was now the owner seven round plastic balls. Our site readers may recognize these balls as containing gacha capsules miniature Yoshinoya beef bowls and meal kitswhich were first released in 2021.
The miniatures inside each pod are fun to put together and the attention to detail is just as fantastic as when we first compared them to real beef bowls.
However, this is not the end of the happy content – at the bottom of Seiji’s box another mysterious gift was waiting…
Judging by the size and shape of the dish, Seiji had a feeling it would be Yoshinoya’s bowl, but he had no idea what it would look like until he took it out of its packaging.
▼ Wow, what a great bowl!
▼ See the shiny golden kanji for “Yoshinoya”!
This bowl was exactly what Seiji was hoping for, so he held it up high and did a little happy dance to express his joy at receiving it. In 2020, Seiji lined up for a lucky bag at Yoshinoya’s store in Tama Plaza Terrace, Kanagawa Prefecture, only to receive a dish inside that looked like this.
It was a distorted but stylish piece of porcelain, complete with the Yoshinoya logo, and while it was pleasing to the eye, it was not ideal for Seiji, who found it difficult to hold.
So he secretly stuck to a round bowl of rice, not only for practical reasons, but also because it provides a more authentic Yoshinoya experience at home.
▼ Especially with branded chopsticks included.
So Seiji got seven capsule toys, each worth 500 yen, along with a pair of chopsticks worth 1,870 yen, and a Yoshinoya bowl, which is usually only available as part of a set with retort pouches, starting at 5,225 yen.
Seiji was pleased with his loot, especially since these fukubukuros are only sold in limited quantities. While it would be nice to have something edible in the box, he won’t complain, especially since he still has a few bowls of canned Yoshinoya beef in his pantry!
[ Read in Japanese ]