Welcoming in the Japanese New Year with Surprise Bags

Living in Japan, we get to do things that are much harder to experience if you are just coming to the country on vacation. However, we can tell you what to look for and how to do it, so you can experience it as well. One of the really cool New Year’s traditions is to go shopping…with a twist! The twist? Every store, from the local grocery store to the high end fashion boutique makes special bags with a gift of their products inside.

They can go for really cheap, say 500 yen upwards of hundreds of thousands yen. These are bags full of goodies, some of which are clearly marked as to their contents and others that are a complete surprise.  We chose to buy a surprise one from a grocery store.  Check out our video below to see what we got!

Welcoming in the Japanese New Year with Monkeys and Surprise Bags

How to the Japanese Shop for New Year?


Additional Reading:
Mochi, Mochi, Mochi – Another New Year’s Tradition
How to Hanami – Cherry Blossoms in Japan
Christmas Dinner in Japan at KFC
Cultural Exchanges and Making Life-long Friends

28 thoughts on “Welcoming in the Japanese New Year with Surprise Bags”

  1. Interestingly (to me), in Russia they also nod to the Chinese horoscope at New Year by having a lot of themes decorations and such based on whatever is coming up next, so I am already well aware it is the year of the monkey next. Love the idea of celebrating this a at monkey park. Also love the idea of surprise shopping bags – like stockings from santa for grown ups!

  2. Happy New Year! Loved your video. That is a great tradition. Loved all of your reactions to the bean paste (something I hate!) Thanks for linking up. #TPThursday

  3. Sophie @ Sophie's World

    I’m always home for new year’s – traditions, traditions… time to try something new next year, I think. Ringing in the new year in Japan sounds fantastic.

  4. That is a fun way to get into the new year for sure. Trust the Japanese to come up with a whacky shopping experience. We noticed when we were in Kyoto that sweet biscuits were a strange lot and we purchased a new packet nearly every day as Marty has a sweet tooth and there was so much packaging that there were not a lot in each packet. It certainly was fun. :)

  5. Loved your video, Corinne! You seem as fun as you come across on your blog. Every year I seem to miss these bags at Takashimaya Singapore. They only sell them one day during Chinese New Year, and I really want one but I always miss it by like a day. Thanks for your reminder I’ll be keeping a keener eye out for them. Wish me luck! Also, I can’t believe how much food you got for 1000 yen in that bag. Pretty cool.

    1. Karen, Yes, after living in Asia a total of six years, that was my first bag too! Really, it was because Devon and Erika reminded me. Good luck getting one. If you do, let me know what you got. So much fun! And happy new year!

  6. I loved your first video, Corinne! You made me want to do it too, not necessarily for my blog. My husband used to film us when our son was young, but now that he is all grown up nobody films me anymore. I think you did a great job and I’m looking forward to seeing more videos from you.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top