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Ultimate Guide to Black Friday in Japan

Japanese Black Friday has become a mainstay in the country’s year-end shopping season. It allows shoppers to get great deals, discounts, and online store points before the Christmas and New Year seasons. And despite not being as big as other Japanese year-end sales, there are still plenty of Black Friday deals in Japan.

Amazon Japan, Rakuten Japan, and AEON are the forerunners of Japanese Black Friday sales. Shoppers will find everything from basic commodities to high-end gadgets and gear. Plus, items on sale aren’t just old items stores are trying to get rid of. Even newer gadgets get significant price cuts that are hard to resist.

Also, it is worth noting that items on sale aren’t just products that buyers can easily acquire elsewhere. Japanese Black Friday slashes the price of limited-edition and Japanese-exclusive items, making it the perfect time to get them.

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about Japanese Black Friday. We will talk about the history behind Japanese Black Friday, how popular Black Friday is in Japan, and the stores to watch out for during the sale.

 

Does Japan have Black Friday?

Japan is well-known for its rich culture that is celebrated through lively festivities. However, in the past decades, the country has also started incorporating global celebrations from the west. Today, Christmas, Halloween, and Valentine’s celebrations are a big deal in Japan.

Given its love for festivities, it comes as no surprise that Japan has also adopted the US Black Friday shopping tradition. However, Black Friday in Japan is still fairly young and isn’t quite as big as the other Japanese celebrations of the year. And like most imported events, Black Friday in Japan has several differences compared to its US counterpart.

Originally, Black Friday is celebrated after Thanksgiving day in the US. During this three-day sale, online stores, shopping malls, and retailers offer huge discounts on many different items. It is highly considered to be the busiest shopping day of the year in the country.

In addition, Black Friday signifies the start of the holiday shopping season. This tradition started in the 1950s. But in recent years, it has become a global shopping phenomenon that appeals even to countries that do not celebrate Thanksgiving.

 

In Japan, Black Friday isn’t an official holiday. It also has no cultural significance and isn’t tied to any local celebration. Instead, it is simply a sales event patterned from its Western counterpart.

In addition, Japanese Black Friday isn’t quite as busy or chaotic as it is in the United States. No extremely long lines or fights ensue over highly discounted electronics.

With that said, there are still plenty of great deals on Black Friday in Japan. Plus, many different promotions and campaigns carry over to the much bigger Christmas and New Year Japanese sales. And in typical Japanese fashion, Black Friday is a perfect opportunity to get limited-time goods to commemorate the event.

 

History of Black Friday in Japan

The Japanese Black Friday scene is fairly young. Even today, not all Japanese retailers are offering Black Friday discounts. However, many of Japan’s biggest malls and retailers have jumped in and are helping Black Friday grow further in Japan.

Toys “R” US-Japan held the earliest recorded instance of a Black Friday sale in Japan in 2014. GAP soon followed in 2015. Both were small-scale sales and weren’t successful enough to fully bring the Black Friday tradition to Japan.


Toy's R Us Japan Black Friday Sale 2014

 

In 2016, AEON helped officially kickstart Black Friday in Japan by offering the largest-scale Black Friday sale at the time. In addition, the company put out several different Black Friday-specific advertisements to help make the event more successful.

By the end of the sales campaign, AEON reported that they received a 20% sales increase. After the successful AEON Mall Black Friday sale, other Japanese retailers have been following the trend.


Aeon Mall announce their Black Friday Sale for 2016

 

In 2019, Amazon Japan officially joined the Japanese Black Friday scene. At the time, Amazon was already a large player in Black Friday celebrations in many countries and wanted to translate their success to the Japanese market.

Amazon Japan’s Black Friday 2019 deals followed a special theme. Around ten thousand black-colored items ranging from Wagyu Beef to electronics had significant special prices during the promotion.


Amazon Japan Black Friday Sale listings 2019

Also Read: HOW TO BUY FROM AMAZON JAPAN | AMAZON JAPAN SHOPPING GUIDE

 

How Japanese customers perceive Black Friday has also changed throughout the years. According to an article from Japan Times, Black Friday awareness in Japan has significantly increased.

In 2017, Black Friday was barely a thing, and according to a survey, only 30% of responders were aware of the tradition. But in 2021, 70% of responders were aware of Black Friday.

The increased awareness of Black Friday in Japan is also clearly reflected in the number of stores participating in the event. In the past, most retailers participating in Black Friday sales were large international online stores.

But today, even Japanese stores that are only familiar to Japanese customers are offering Black Friday campaigns, sales, and discounts. In addition, most Japanese customers weren’t too enthusiastic about Black Friday sales in the past. But today, it has become something that many look forward to due to the larger discounts and availability of items.

 

But despite the success of Black Friday in Japan, some stores are hesitant to participate for several reasons. During an interview with the Japan Times, Daiwa Institute economist Yutaro Suzuki mentioned that bonuses are not yet given in November, with many Japanese people receiving their bonuses until mid to late December.

Thus, Japanese consumers may be hesitant to spend too much, with year-end and New Year sales remaing the more popular sales period in Japan.

Despite the mixed reception from consumers and retailers, Japan’s Black Friday keeps growing yearly. More retailers are offering unique special discounts, bonuses, and bundles making each Black Friday more special than the one that came before it.

 

When is Black Friday in Japan?

Unlike Black Friday in the United States, Black Friday sales in Japan do not have a specific length or duration. The start and end days of Japanese Black Friday sales and campaigns depend on each store.

Some online stores that offer Japanese Black Friday deals opt to start before November 25. Rakuten Japan, for instance, usually starts their Black Friday campaign on November 18th, or 19th.


Rakuten Black Friday Sale 2021

 

Other stores with international branches, such as Amazon Japan, try to synchronize their Black Friday sales with their US counterparts, meaning they start on the 25th or 26th of November.

In addition, online retailers and physical stores tend to have the freedom to decide how long they want their Black Friday sales and promotions to last. For instance, Amazon Japan’s 2021 Black Friday Sale lasted seven days. Some stores even go as far as ten days.

And lastly, Japan does not celebrate Cyber Monday, which is geared more toward electronics. Instead, most Japanese electronics stores tend to offer their sales during their Black Friday sale.

 

What Sales Does Japan Have on Black Friday?

There are plenty of deals happening during Japanese Black Friday. The most common deal that retailers offer are discounts and special prices. Japanese stores tend to hold 30% to 70% discounts on their products during their campaigns.


Shimamura offering Half-price deals on Black Friday

 

Another type of Black Friday special sale is special bonus points campaigns. Most Japanese retailers utilize a points system that gives bonus discounts and rewards to loyal customers. During Black Friday, it is common to see double points and various points campaigns that can carry over to future sales, such as the upcoming New Year Sale.

Japanese stores also take advantage of the Black Friday sales to hold special clearance sales. Older generation products, particularly electronics, are given special prices to help clear stock.

Lastly, some stores offer “Fukubukuro,” which translates to lucky bags. Fukubukuro is usually offered during the New Year sale. However, some retailers have started offering them during Black Friday. Essentially, these lucky bags contain mystery items that are usually more expensive than the lucky bag’s asking price.


Aeon Mall Black Friday Lucky Bags (Fukubukuro)

Also Read: HOW TO BUY LUCKY BAGS (FUKUBUKURO) FROM JAPAN

 

Which Stores do Black Friday Sales in Japan?

The number of participating stores has dramatically increased since the early days of Japanese Black Friday. Today, everything from basic commodities to high-end gadgets can be purchased for discounted prices during Japanese Black Friday. We have listed some noteworthy stores to check out during Japanese Black Friday.

Do note that each store's campaigns and sales promotions may vary each year. Below are some examples of the amazing deals that each store has offered during their previous Black Friday sales.

 

Amazon Japan Black Friday Deals

Amazon Japan is one of the biggest stores when it comes to online Japanese Black Friday sales. The company’s previous Black Friday promotions have been very successful. And each year, Amazon Japan keeps proving that their Black Friday deals are worth keeping an eye on.

In terms of item selection, Amazon Japan has plenty to offer during its Black Friday sale. Everything from lifestyle and fashion accessories to electronics and gaming consoles is heavily discounted.

In the electronics category, Apple is arguably the most popular brand. Their products are a big deal in Japan, especially since the company has a large market share in the Japanese smartphone market.

Also Read: CHEAP YEN 2022 - BUY LUXURY PRODUCTS NOW!

 

In addition to Apple devices, Amazon-branded devices will often be on sale. Amazon also usually offers gaming-related items from brands like Nintendo during their Black Friday sale. And, of course, smartphone accessory makers, such as Anker Japan, also usually hold special sales and promotions.

Of course, Amazon Japan’s Black Friday sale isn’t limited to electronics. Other products, such as clothing and sneakers, also tend to have great prices.

Some brands that have official Amazon Japan pages include Nike, Adidas, ASICS Japan, and New Balance. Amazon Japan’s Black Friday sale will have a dedicated section on their website.

Also Read: HOW TO BUY FROM AMAZON JAPAN | AMAZON JAPAN SHOPPING GUIDE

 

Rakuten Black Friday Campaign

Rakuten Japan is another popular online retailer that offers great Black Friday deals. They are the country's largest e-commerce store and one of the forerunners of Japanese Black Friday along with Amazon Japan.

Like Amazon Japan, Rakuten Japan also offers many discounted items during their Black Friday promotion. However, what sets them apart is their emphasis on points and coupons.

In terms of item selection, Rakuten Japan and Amazon Japan share many similar items. However, plenty of limited edition and hard-to-find goods are available on Rakuten Japan during the Black Friday sale. Some noteworthy brands that often go on sale include Zara Japan, River Light Japan, and Dyson Japan.

Also Read: HOW TO BUY FROM RAKUTEN JAPAN: A COMPLETE GUIDE

 

Rakuten Japan also tends to offer travel reservations for the holiday season on Black Friday. Overall, Rakuten Japan's Black Friday sale is highly recommended and is a perfect alternative to Amazon Japan’s Black Friday deals.

 

Nojima Japan Black Friday Campaign

Nojima Japan is touted as Japan’s biggest online electronics store. During their Black Friday sale, you can expect to find video game consoles, cartridges/games, PC parts and peripherals, and many more.

Some items that usually go on sale include Nintendo Switch consoles, games, and accessories. There are also usually appliances such as washing machines, televisions, refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, cooking appliances, and many more. Overall, Nojima Japan has a pretty good selection, especially for those who are looking specifically for electronics.


Nojima Black Friday Sale 2021

 

 

E-earphone Japan and Fujiya Avic Japan Black Friday Deals

E-earphone Japan and Fujiya Avic are two of Japan’s most popular earphone and headphone specialty stores. They are known for carrying niche audio brands that are usually not available on Amazon Japan or Rakuten.

During Black Friday, they offer special deals and discounts on popular headphone categories, including full-size audiophile headphones, wireless headphones, gaming headsets, custom in-ear monitors (earmoni), and true wireless earphones (TWS).

 

Sound House and Ikebe Gakki Japan Black Friday Deals

Ikebe Gakki and Sound House Japan are two popular Japanese music instrument retailers that offer enticing Black Friday discounts. During their Black Friday sales and campaigns, both stores offer discounts on musical instruments, such as electric and acoustic guitars, bass guitars, drums, etc.

In addition, music production equipment, such as music production software, microphones, headphones, etc., may also go on sale.

Also Read: HOW TO BUY FROM JAPAN? ZENMARKET TUTORIAL

 

Disney Japan Black Friday Sale

Disney movies, toys, and merchandise are very popular in Japan. They have even influenced Japanese creators, including Osamu Tezuka, the father of Japanese anime himself. Disney Japan often includes sales on different celebrations, including Black Friday.


Disney Japan Black Friday Sale 2020

 

During Japanese Black Friday, Disney Store Japan offers various discounted items, including Disney-themed blankets, toys, and Lucky Bags (Fukubukuro). Some examples of Disney Japan’s Lucky Bags include “Disney Character Cosmetics,” “Disney Happy Bag,” and “Marvel Happy Bag.”

Also Read: HOW TO BUY FROM DISNEY JAPAN [STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE]

 

Google Store Japan Black Friday Offers

Google’s smartphones and tech products are a perfect choice for tech enthusiasts looking for an alternative to Apple products. Google Store Japan offers discounts on several products during their annual Black Friday sale.

Some first-party Google hardware that often goes on sale includes the Nest family of devices, Chromecast, and Google Pixel accessories. Google Japan also occasionally gives discounts on Google Pixel smartphones.

 

AEON Mall Japan’s Black Friday Campaign

AEON was one of the first major Japanese malls to adopt Black Friday sales in 2016. Today, they are still going strong with their annual special Black Friday deals. AEON Japan’s sales and promotions vary each year.

In previous years, AEON offered different kinds of deals. In 2018, AEON Mall offered original goods such as their special “AEON Black Friday Curry,” discounts on products, all-you-can-eat offers, and many more.

 

In 2019, AEON offered various deals throughout their different shops. The participating stores included AEON Shop, AEON Style Online, AEON Net Super, AEON de Wine, and AEON Digital World.

 

Toys “R” Us Japan Black Friday Japan Sale

Since introducing Black Friday to Japan in 2014, Toys “R” Us Japan has regularly been conducting Black Friday sales. The store offers many different items for sale during their Black Friday promotion.

Some sales have included toys and merchandise from popular TV shows such as Kamen Rider, educational toys from brands such as Lego, school goods, themed furniture, bicycles, etc. The Toys “R” Us Black Friday promotion usually lasts seven days. The maximum discount for Toys “R” Us products is usually 30%.

The Toys “R” Us Japan Black Friday selection is pretty good, especially for those looking for toys and merchandise based on popular Japanese TV shows. It is also perfect for buying toys and general merchandise for kids.

 

Fashion and Lifestyle Stores

Black Friday shopping wouldn’t be complete without fashion accessories. Various stores offer special Black Friday deals for those looking for the best deal on winter clothes for the holiday season.

In addition to selling sneakers on their official Amazon Japan store, Adidas Japan usually offers a Black Friday promotion in their physical stores. In their past sales, participating Adidas Japan branches have held 30% off on select items. Adidas Japan also tends to offer a special Lucky Bag campaign for men, women, and children’s accessories.


Adidas Black Friday Lucky Bags 2019

 

There are also several different stores selling winter clothes and accessories. The main ones to consider are Uniqlo, GAP, and Zara Japan.

Uniqlo holds their annual “Birthday Thanksgiving” sale, which is essentially Uniqlo’s Black Friday campaign. During the event, buyers can get winter clothes at great prices.

Also Read: HOW TO BUY FROM UNIQLO

 

GAP also continues to hold their annual Black Friday sale that started in 2015. During the campaign, buyers usually get up to 40% off on new winter and autumn items. An additional 20% off is also usually given to GAP members.

 

Does ZenMarket have a Black Friday Sale?

ZenMarket had a Black Friday sale last year with great success. For the ZenMarket Black Friday sale, we heavily discounted our service fee, meaning you can purchase more items for less!

We will announce the details of this year's ZenMarket sale soon, so stay tuned!

In addition to our ZenMarket Black Friday sale we will also be holding a giveaway - make sure you're following our socials and stay subscribed to our email communications so you don't miss out!

Remember, due to the weakness of the Japanese yen, now is a great time to secure yourself a discount by taking advantage of your country's great foreign exchange rates. 

Also Read: CHEAP YEN 2022 - BUY LUXURY PRODUCTS NOW!

 

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Article| 04/11/2022 |