People have flocked to department stores in Japan to buy New Year bargain packages known as lucky bags.
A store in Osaka opened earlier than normal on Monday morning. 7,000 people were waiting outside before it opened its doors. Staffers had prepared 50,000 lucky bags.
Beside only selling goods in the bargain events, department stores have been working hard to sell bags that let buyers have various special experiences.
A bag that sold for almost 700 dollars includes tableware for a baby's first meal, clothing for its first shrine visit and a photography session. Another with a price tag of more than 5,000 dollars features an imported camera and the photo session with a traditional female entertainer in the ancient capital of Kyoto.
Buyers of the bag can receive instructions from a professional photographer.
In Ofunato, northeastern Japan, which was hit by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, a makeshift shopping district opened for its last New Year sales.
Temporary shops set up after the disaster will be demolished after 5 years of business. Permanent facilities are scheduled to be completed in April.
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Twenty-eight hospitals in Japan have been registered on a government list of medical institutions recommended for non-Japanese as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's administration seeks to promote the nation's advanced medical services. (Japan Times)