Tokyo’s Spectacles Museum, the Coolest Eyewear Store That Ever Was

For 50 Years, the Rogan Megane Hakubutsukan or Spectacles Museum in Ikeburo, was the most iconic place to go shopping for eyeglasses and sunglasses in all of Japan, probably the world.

Located on the Higashi-dori shopping street in Minami-Ikebukuro, Tokyo, the Spectacles Museum was one of the most Instagram-worthy places in the Japanese capital. Although this was once a simple warehouse, under the guidance of founder and longtime owner Yutaka Takei, it became a giant advertisement for the products being sold inside. What really put the Spectacles Museum on the map was its unique facade, which consisted of thousands of pairs of colorful sunglasses attached to a giant metal frame. It was meant to attract attention, and that’s exactly what it did, in time becoming one of Ikebukuro’s main tourist attractions.

When Yutaka Takei first open shop here, he operated as a wholesaler of miscellaneous goods, but as businesses started dealing directly with manufacturers, wholesale became less profitable, so he had to reinvent the business. He started focusing on eyewear, and to make sure his store stood out, Takei invested heavily in marketing, decorating the Spectacles Museum with thousands of sunglasses and even making deals with tour operators to bring tourists over.

Apart from its unique decor – tens of thousands of eyeglasses and sunglasses lining the outside and the inside of the store, the Spectacles Museum also became famous for its incredibly low prices, selling eyeglasses for as little as 300 yen ($2). Takei was able to drop prices mainly by picking up discontinued items in bulk for cents on the dollar.

Photo: Takahashi Eiji Yuko/Facebook

The Spectacles Museum didn’t just show off tens of thousands of eyeglasses and sunglasses on its walls, it also had a huge inventory, with up to 120,000 pairs on site at any given time.

Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever, and that includes the Spectacles Museum. In March of 2022, after 50 years in the business, Yutaka Takei announced that the unique store would be closing down due to a variety of factors. The founder was 76 at the time and didn’t have the energy to handle the workload, and there was the COVID-19 lockdown, and the decline in prices for eyewear that made the business unsustainable.

Photo: Takahashi Eiji Yuko/Facebook

“In the past, regular glasses cost 30,000 to 40,000 yen, and glasses shops only had to sell one pair a day. Now it’s 5000 yen, 6000 yen,” Takei said. “When this happens, only the major companies can survive.”

Some sources claim that the Spectacles Museum is still operating at a different location in Tokyo, but it no longer has the unique look of the original store, so most of its charm died a couple of years ago. Luckily the internet is still full of pics and clips that capture the magic of the greatest eyewear store that ever was.