Japan’s most renowned eyeglass-manufacturing district
Mentioning that Google Glass frames are produced in Sabae conveys something of the region’s outstanding quality. In the early 20th century, development of eyeglasses began in Sabae as a winter sideline to farming. Production expanded during Japan’s period of high economic growth, and Sabae’s production volume is now ranked first in Japan and second-largest worldwide. Sabae produced the world's first titanium frame glasses, and its technology is at the highest level in the world. With one-sixth of Sabae’s working population employed in the glasses business, this is Japan’s most renowned eyeglass-manufacturing district.
Artisanal handicrafts produce the glasses of Sabae.
Indispensable to the glasses of Sabae are the dependable techniques of its master craftspeople. Countless artisans are active in Sabae, from young workers to veterans, with many employed in manufacturing glasses by hand. These complex designs and delicate curves cannot be reproduced except through handcrafting techniques. These craftspeople are uncompromising in their work, and take pride in the fact that their glasses will become part of someone’s face. The robustness for which Sabae glasses are famed is born from such artisans.
Want to know the history of glasses? Head to the Megane Museum.
If you want to know the history of eyeglass manufacture in Sabae, head to the Megane Museum (megane means “eyeglasses” in Japanese). In addition to a store selling almost 2,500 varieties of glasses, the Museum also features a workshop corner where visitors can make their own eyeglass keychains. The Glasses Museum section, where you can learn all about the history and manufacturing processes of Japan’s glasses industry, was just renovated on May 14, 2016. The Megane Museum also features a cafe and souvenir shop—so why not stop by?
- 2-3-4 Shinyokoe, Sabae-shi, Fukui-ken
- Opening hours
- 10 A.M. to 7 P.M. (museum, workshop, and cafe until 5 P.M.)
- New Year holiday period
- Admission is free
- Komatsu Airport is a 1-hour flight from Haneda Airport. Fukui Station is about 1 hour by shuttle bus from Komatsu Airport. JR Sabae Station is 7 minutes by limited express train from Fukui Station. The Megane Museum is a 10-minute walk from JR Sabae Station.