Lotteries in Japan are understood to have originated in the late 16th or early 17th century, when visitors to the Minoh-san Ryuan-Ji Temple in the Settsu Province (modern-day Osaka Prefecture) wrote their names on wooden plaques for the first seven days of the year. Monks would select three winners at random and award them lucky charms.
A more formal lottery, now known as the Takarakuji Lottery, was introduced in 1954. The first Jumbo draw took place in 1979, with the term 'Jumbo' adopted by the Japanese media to describe large-scale draws with huge prize pots. There are usually five Jumbo Draws a year - the Valentine Jumbo, Dream Jumbo, Summer Jumbo, Halloween Jumbo and Nenmatsu Jumbo. Find out below when tickets go on sale and when draws are normally held.
Playing Jumbo Draws is really easy, but you need to be quick to take part. Tickets are put on sale for a limited period - usually around a month before the draw - and they can sell out early.
You can buy tickets from lottery stands, supermarkets, kiosks, tobacco stands and from the Mizuho Bank. You do not need to select numbers - each ticket will include a random six-digit number. Your ticket will also contain a two-digit group number.
All you need to do is decide how many tickets to buy. You can purchase a single ticket for 300 yen, or a set of 10 consecutive numbers for 3,000 yen.
The prizes are different in each Jumbo Draw throughout the year, but the format is always the same for how to win. One six-digit number is randomly drawn as the winner - the Nenmatsu draw on 31st December is the biggest of the year and the top prize is usually worth 700 million yen if you also have the correct two-digit group number.
The second prize goes to players whose number is one higher or lower than the winning number. For example, if the first prize is 123456, anyone who has the numbers 123455 or 123457 will also win big - in the Nenmatsu Jumbo this is worth 150 million yen.
There are lots of other prizes too. If you've got the winning number but another group number, for example, you win 100,000 yen in the Nenmatsu draw. Lots of other winning numbers are also selected. In some cases, you only have to match part of a number, and you'll even win 300 yen just for matching the final digit of a given number.
Here are the different classes of prizes that are available in the Nenmatsu Jumbo draw.
|Prize Class||How to Win||Group Number||Prize Amount|
|1||Match the winning six-digit number for the first prize||Match the winning two-digit group number||700 million yen|
|Codes of one greater or one smaller than the first prize||Match the winning two-digit group number||150 million yen|
|Match the same six-digit number as the first prize||Any group number||100,000 yen|
|2||Match one of the four six-digit numbers that are drawn for the second prize||Must also match the two-digit group number||10 million yen|
|3||Match one of the two six-digit numbers that are drawn for the third prize||Any group number||1 million yen|
|4||Match the last four digits of a given number||Any group number||50,000 yen|
|5||Match the last three digits of any of three six-digit numbers that are drawn for the fifth prize||Any group number||10,000 yen|
|6||Match the last two digits of a given number||Any group number||3,000 yen|
|7||Match the last digit of a given number||Any group number||300 yen|
The Summer Jumbo draw offers a top prize of 500 million yen, while there is 300 million yen in the Dream Jumbo and Halloween Jumbo, and 200 million in the Valentine Jumbo.
With so many different ways to win in each draw and such big prizes on offer, these Jumbo Draws pay out vast sums of money. They are among the most lucrative lotteries in the whole of Asia, or indeed anywhere in the world.
If you are lucky enough to win a prize, you can claim it either a lottery stand or from the Mizuho Bank. You will need to visit a branch of the Mizuho Bank if you win more than 10,000 yen, and if the prize is worth more than 500,000 yen you will need to present identification such as your passport or driver's licence.
Aside from Jumbo Draws, there are a range of other lotteries in Japan, giving you the chance to play games throughout the week. Here are some of the other draws games that are available.