Buying spectacles in Japan from Zoff

women's glasses

women’s frames from Zoff in Japan

What? Zoff. This is the name of a company in Japan that sells glasses.

Why? scintillating spectacles the same day; a week if you have an unusual prescription

Where? Ikebukuro, Tokyo

How much? around $130 CDN or Y12,600 for frames, thin lenses, coatings and case

Who? Hubby and I are fans

When? Since 2008; most recent buy was February 2014

glasses in cases

trio of spectacles in cases

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Glasses Experience at Zoff

The Zoff store is in Lumine, which is attached to Ikebukuro Station. As of 2014, signs in Ikebukuro Station still say Metropolitan, which is the old name of the building that Lumine took over.

The store is now on the 5th floor but check the signs at the elevators or escalators. The stores in this building change frequently.

Frames are displayed in an open-concept space. It is easy to try on multiple pairs.

Once you have chosen a frame, you are directed for an eye exam. The exam is done in an alcove within the store. It’s not private but your back is to the store. Note! In restaurants and other service oriented businesses, there is often a basket beside, under or nearby each table or chair. This is for your personal belongings and I love this convenience.

My Japanese wasn’t great when I bought my first pair of glasses in 2010. During the exam, I was shown an eye chart with “c” shapes oriented in different ways instead of the Hiragana chart. I pointed in the same direction as the open part of the c shape. I knew directions but it was faster for me to point and the technician had no trouble with this. For my exam in 2014, I could use more Japanese but had forgotten most Hiragana so I had the c shapes again.

Next, I filled in a form for my order. Even if you don’t understand Japanese, it’s easy to complete. The important parts are your name and a contact phone number. In 2014, I made mistakes on the form and forgot to use Japanese text but this was not an issue.

The pricing plans are simple. If you’ve worn glasses, it’s not hard to figure out the plans, even if your Japanese is limited.

Glasses are ready the same day and you pay when you pick them up. My prescription is hard to fill so mine took a week. When you pick up your glasses, the rep will ask you to try them on for fit and to look outside the store to check for clarity. You will also be asked to choose a case by colour and that’s it!

flexible glasses frames

Hitoshi’s frames from Zoff – 2012. You can bend, twist and stretch them so our baby loves to play with them.

The Backstory

Hitoshi introduced me to Zoff in 2008 when he got a pair of frames there. I thought the prices were reasonable and the service was faster than I had experienced in Canada.

men's glasses

Hitoshi’s first pair of glasses from Zoff

By the time we moved to Canada in 2009, my glasses were falling off my face and cracked at one of the joints. I loved my glasses though and didn’t want to give them up. I also thought I could buy new glasses in Canada and use my supplemental health insurance to cover the cost.

I was stunned looking for glasses in Canada. I couldn’t find a frame I liked below $200 and with thin lenses and coatings, the cost came close to $500.

In 2010, we returned to Japan for a vacation and our first stop was Zoff for new glasses for me. I translated and submitted the receipts when we got back to Canada and my supplemental health insurance covered the full cost. We did the same thing for Hitoshi in 2012 and for me again in 2014.

Have you bought glasses in Japan? What was your experience like?

8 thoughts on “Buying spectacles in Japan from Zoff

      • >What have your experiences been like elsewhere?

        Quite similar to the way you described above!
        I have only recently begun needing glasses, so these are my first pair…I have no experience buying glasses anywhere else to compare my experience to.
        But, just as with everywhere in Japan, their customer service and product-quality are excellent.

        • Glad to hear! The only issue I’ve found with the frames is some warping, but this is common in plastic. Hubby’s bendy frames broke earlier this year (through standing on them!) and we’re going to see if we can get them replaced. We have to use family though as Zoff doesn’t ship outside Japan. And welcome to wearing glasses… maybe? 😀 I’ve been in glasses since I was 3 and am waiting for the soon-to-come day when I wake up and need some other sort of correction for older eyes.

          • >waiting for the soon-to-come day when I wake up and need some other sort of correction for older eyes.

            That’s what happened to me. I had perfect vision until I became 40. Then I got 「老眼」 (old-age far-sightedness)!

          • >welcome to wearing glasses

            Thanks. I said that I’ve “recently” begun wearing them…but that’s relative. It’s already been four years since I first started wearing them.
            Since I have to wear glasses now…I’m happy with the frames that I got from Zoff.

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