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If you wear corrective contact lenses and come to Japan for a long period of time, you might not be able, or simply do not want to bring a whole stock of contact lenses and solution in your luggage. In some countries procuring contact lenses can be easy and quick and in others unnecessarily complicated and time consuming. With the exception of the language barrier the process of buying contact lenses in Japan is pretty straight forward.
Even if you went to a doctor before arriving here and thus already have a prescription, you will still need to do an eye examination in Japan to be able to buy contact lenses. Finding an ophthalmologist (眼科医, Ganka) is really easy, you can simply go to a contact lens shop and the staff will guide you to the nearest doctor. Some contact lens shops can do the eye exams for you on site. In most cases you will not need to make an appointment, you just have to show up. If you are fluent in Japanese, no problem. If not, you can find an English speaking ophthalmologist here on HealthyTokyo.
Now that you have the eye examination done and a prescription, you can go to any contact lens shop (eyeglass shop) or some larger drug stores. The staff will help you decide on which brand and type of contact lenses and solution will be the most suited for you. Once again, going with someone who can speak Japanese in case you do not will greatly simplify the process.
You can also buy contact lenses in Japan at Costco and some of the giant electronics shop like BIC Camera.
Another way to get contact lenses is by ordering online. There are many websites where you can order them, the main pro here is the price – usually cheaper through the internet than in stores. In most cases you have to scan and send your prescription by email. You will find below a list of some of the main contact lens resellers.
If you choose to buy contact lenses in Japan online, you should make sure to not only choose the correct power, but also the right diameter and base curve (also called radius). In fact, several studies revealed that these parameters are different between Asians and Caucasians eyes. Thus, in some cases some stores or online stores may not have lenses with the best diameter and base curve for your eyes. These parameters won’t interfere with the sight but with the fitting and the comfort of the lenses on your eyes. For this reason, be especially careful if you choose a Japanese brand.