This is what ¥12,000 worth of Japanese lottery tickets look like. If you’re trying to save money, Takarakuji is certainly not the way to do it.
Many will say that spending a little on the lottery in order to stand the chance of winning big is worth it, but they are fooling themselves for a short-lived indulgence of excitement. Playing the lottery is not an investment and really shouldn’t be thought of one.
You could save that money, and buy yourself some training for a new qualification that will potentially add thousands to your monthly pay check. Or how about donating the money to sponsor a child – a genuine investment in a child’s future, not simply lining the pockets of lottery executives. There are a million more worthwhile things you could do with the money than throw it away on the lottery.
Which begs the question… how exactly did we end up with ¥12,000 worth of Takarakuji tickets at the hub of thriftiness that is Frugalista Japan?! Well, we certainly didn’t pay for them ourselves, I can tell you that. They were in fact a New Years present from a client at the traditional Japanese restaurant my partner works at – kind of like the traditional “otoshidama” (usually a coin or some notes in a special envelope) – only with the albeit incredibly small potential of becoming a lot more. After checking the winning numbers, we came out with about ¥3,900 of winnings. Not bad for nothing, but personally I wish they’d have just gone with shopping coupons or cash!
How does the Japanese takarakuji system differ from the normal lottery?
The lottery as you and I probably know it is a simply drawing of numbered balls. Match them all, and you get the top prize; match only some and you get a smaller prize. That form of lottery also exists in Japan, called simply loto, but the Takarakuji is by far more popular and certainly more traditionally Japanese.
Takarakuji is more like a raffle. You buy unique numbered tickets for around ¥300 yen each. Each ticket is arranged into a numbered “gumi” and then another 6 digit unique number. Apart from the main large prizes awarded to unique ticket numbers, there are a number of smaller prizes awarded to all tickets containing a certain number at the end etc. For example, we won because one of tickets ended in the number 856, regardless of the rest. It seems to me like the Takarakuji is easy to win smaller prizes, but my arguments against any forms of lottery still stand. Never buy them yourself!
I’ve also heard that even if your ticket doesn’t win for Takarakuji, you should keep hold of your ticket as you may be able win household goods in a later drawing (kitchen, toilet paper, hand soap etc). Last time this happened we forgot to buy the early edition of the newspaper that the secondary winning numbers were printed in though, so I can’t confirm this.
Have you had any experience with playing the lottery or takarakuji in Japan? Tell us about it in the comments!