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Japan Post Nengajyo (New Years Postcard) Lottery

Happy New Year!

** Update: The 2018 Winning Post card numbers and prizes located at the end of the post.

By now you should have received nengajo (年賀状) / New Year Cards in your mailbox. Nengajyo are the equivalent to the Western custom of sending out Christmas cards. The latest date nengajo are delivered by is January 7th. If you have received a card from someone you did not send one to, it is customary to send one in return within the first week of the year. If you`ve run out of New Year`s card don`t worry, stop by the nearest convenience store or post office and pick one up. *If you think the nengajyo will arrive at the destination post January 7th it is customary to send a special winter greeting card instead.

Nengajyo not only helps express your gratitude towards and keep in touch with family, friends and colleagues, it also enable receivers to win prizes in a nation-wide lottery. Located on the lower right hand corner of most New Year Postcards is a six-digit number. In mid-January, Japan post selects random numbers, similar to a New Year Postal Lottery. If you match any of those number you can win a prize (100,000 yen cash, travel, electronics, food or stamps).

“According to NHK, the idea of combining nengajo with a lottery started in 1949, when the price of a postcard was 2 yen. In the years right after the war, the exchange of nenga-hagaki took on special meaning, since it was a good way to inform friends and relatives that you were still alive and where you were. The lottery, which is called otoshidama, the term for New Years gifts of cash given to children, made it even more appealing, because so many people had nothing at the time, so the prizes were for the most part practical: sewing machines, skeins of wool, bolts of fabric. As Japanese society became more affluent, the prizes became more aspirational: TV sets and other high-end home appliances, or coupons for international or domestic travel.” – Yen for Living

The 2018 Nengajyo lottery numbers will be announced on Sunday, January 14th via newspaper, tv and on the Japan Post website. Check the number on the back to see if you’ve won. If you have, bring the winning postcard and ID to a post office by May 17, 2018 to claim your prize. Note First and Second prizes will be mailed to your home. Good Luck!

2018 Nengajyo Lottery Numbers

*Please click on the prize link for details.


2018 PrizesPercentage of winnings
(number of winnings)
Scored number
First Prize
All six digits need to match
120,000 pt in Smart Gifts
(e.g. 100,000 yen cash, hotel stay, food, spirits,
kitchenware, home appliances, etc.)
One in one million
Second Prize
Only the last four digits need to match
Furusato parcelsOne in 10,000
Third Prize
Only the last two digits need to match
New Year stamp sheetTwo in 100


Japan Post Nengajyo (New Years Postcard) Lottery


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