Did you know that it's much less expensive to buy glasses in Japan than it is in the US? Even though I knew glasses were very inexpensive in Korea, I never even wondered about getting any here because I'm such a dedicated contacts wearer.
But when my sister's glasses broke just before her visit she did a little research and discovered it would be an excellent opportunity for her to get new glasses. (She found this and this to be particularly helpful blog posts.) And it's totally doable without speaking a word of Japanese! While they prices aren't as incredible as Korea they are phenomenal compared to what we are used to paying. After considering Megane Super, Zoff, and Jins my sister decided she liked the styles at Jins best, so off we went.
Jins has many locations, but we went to the one in Harajuku because they have a large selection as well as English speakers on staff. All the frames on display have price tags, and this price includes the cost of an eye exam and regular lenses. You have the option of paying extra to upgrade to tinted lenses, PC lenses, or sunglass lenses. When I saw how much fun Julie was having and how low the prices were I decided to jump on the bandwagon, and got a pair as well. My last pair is probably ten years old, and terribly out of style.
The process is very simple. After you select a the frames you want, give them to the cashier. They will give you a slip of paper telling you your appointment time, and if you are wearing contacts a case for you to put your lenses in. Our appointments were scheduled for 20 minutes later, so we browsed in some nearby shops before returning. The eye test was surprisingly quick. First you look into a machine that tests you for astigmatism and then read an eye chart with a optician. I read from a hirigana eye chart, but if you don't read any Japanese they have another chart of circles with one side missing. You just tell them (or point to) the direction. Once they've determined your prescription they will put test lenses in a contraption for you to try out. Don't hesitate to tweak the prescription if it's not quite right. Once that is done you pay, and then they put the lenses in your frames. My appointment was at 4:40, and I was already finished paying at 4:49. They told us it would take 30 minutes to put the lenses in, but finished and brought them to us much more quickly. As I was checking out they told me that they will replace the lenses up to twice for free if the prescription isn't correct.
In the end, my pair cost 5900 yen, or about $50. Julie got a more expensive pair and paid an additional 4000 yen (about $32) to get the special lenses for looking at computer screens.
The funniest part of this whole experience is that there was a camera crew filming inside the store while we were there, and they became very interested in us. In the end we did a little interview with Raku acting as translator and they filmed us trying on lots of frames. We have no idea if this was for a TV show, a commercial, or something else, but it was a lot of fun.
|Doing the Eye Test|
|Plenty of Selection|
|We're So Famous!|
Hours: 11:00-10:00 Mon-Sun
Location: 6-12-17 Harajuku, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo