Author: M.Kok

Eye tests in Japan

You lost your glasses or maybe eating all the nutrient-rich Japanese snacks and gaping at neon signs has made your eyesight better, and now you need a new pair. 

If it is new glasses that you are after you are in luck!


Most stores selling glasses do eye tests for free(you need to buy the glasses). The bigger ones like Zoff, JINS and Megane Ichiba are also the easiest to find. There is at last one of these around most average sized train stations. Depending on how busy the shop is, getting a new pair of glasses can take somewhere from one to two hours. 

You don’t need an appointment, but it might be worth looking out for days the stores do deals. 

A new pair can cost you as little as a few thousand(3~4).


For contact lenses, you need a prescription. It is not too difficult to get, but it does involve a visit to the optometrist. You can expect to find one in an eye clinic. Again, you won’t need an appointment for most, but depending on how busy the clinic gets, you might want to get one.

Once you have your eyes tested you, get a prescription. To whomever, you take this is entirely up to you, but the clinic will likely try to hook you up with their own merchandise or ‘introduce’ a local shop to you. Nothing wrong with that, there is also nothing wrong with you asking if you can get a deal of some sort.

 Just make sure you are happy with the place you go to because once you hand the prescription over it is gone. In return, you usually get a ‘members card’ or something of the same nature that allows you to buy contacts from that shop.

 It is usually cheaper to buy in bulk if you use disposables. There is no limit on how much you can buy(usually), but the prescription does expire.

The cost of the lenses depends on the type and quality. For disposables, it starts from around a hundred yen for a pair and for permanent lenses, the bottom end is somewhere under ten thousand yen. 

The test plus the prescription depending on what type of health insurance you are under and what clinic you go to can vary from thousand to three thousand yen.

Eye test for a Japanese drivers license

Many driving schools around the world require you to have your eyes tested outside of the school. In Japan, however, most driving schools have testing facilities of their own. They will make sure you know the difference between right and left up and down and will also check how many of the traffic light colors you can name. 

It is pretty much the same if you want to convert your license from back home to a Japanese one.


To have your eyes checked in Japan is not that difficult. If you are sure that you know what kind of contact lenses you need, you can get them online. If not just go and get the right prescription. No sense in cutting corners on something as important as being able to see.

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