If you have traveled to Japan before or are coming to Japan, you will notice that the train system is incredibly complex in that there are over 13 different train lines alone in Tokyo that go to any given point of the city and beyond. Navigating the train system is difficult enough but having to research the different prices and operating a ticket machine adds to an already stressful experience. In comes the Suica card!
What is a Suica Card?
The Suica card is one of many IC cards that are used throughout Japan which eliminates the need to buy a ticket every train ride. IC cards are rechargeable cards that can be used to pay for train and bus fares. The Suica card can also be used to pay for just about anything that accepts IC cards as payment such as, convenience stores, some restaurants, vending machines, and plenty more. Sucia is provided by JR East for use on trains in the Tokyo, Niigata, and Sendai areas. Convenience and Japan definitely go hand in hand with the Suica card.
Where Do I Buy a Suica Card?
The Suica card can be purchased at any ticket vending machine in front of any major train station in Tokyo such as Shinjuku, Tokyo, Ikebukuro, etc. There is an English option available which will definitely make purchasing you Suica card easier. You will need to provide a 500 yen deposit if you are purchasing a Suica card for the first time.
How to Purchase Suica
Purchasing a Suica card is incredibly simple to do. Here is a step by step guide for purchasing your Suica card.
Approach the ticket machine and press the English option button at the top right screen. Your options will turn to English and you will be able to easily understand the process. Press the “Purchase new Suica”
Press the Suica purchase option to purchase your Suica card.
Insert a minimum of 1,000 yen to the machine and you will be issued your new Suica Card.
Customize Your Suica
For those who want to put a personal touch to their Suica card, visitors can put their name on their Suica card. The process is similar but there are a few more steps to go through to purchase your customized Suica Card.
This time press the “My Suica” option to personalize your Suica card.
Buyers name, birthday, and other personal information will be asked in the process of making a customized Suica card.
From here buyers will be asked to put in their first and last name of which will appear on the surface of the Suica card.
Buyers will be prompted to input their gender as well when purchasing a customized Suica card.
A birthdate will always be required of buyers for a customized Suica card.
A telephone number will also be required when purchasing a personalized Suica card.
How Do I Use the Suica Card?
Using the Suica card is very simple. You just need to approach the ticket gate with your Suica card in hand and tap it lightly on the the IC card pad that is well lit. This will allow you to enter the gate and you will do the same when you exit the train station. The same IC card pad can be found anywhere that the Suica card or other IC cards are accepted. It’s a great alternative to carrying around change or having to inconvenience yourself with constantly purchasing tickets.
Where Can I Use the Suica Card?
The Suica card is part of a nationwide network of IC cards that are exclusive to most major cities in Japan. The Suica card can only be purchased in the Greater Tokyo, Niigata, and Sendai area but it can be used anywhere in Japan where they accept IC cards as payment. This is not limited to train and bus stations only. The Suica card, and other IC cards can be used at convenience stores such as NEW DAYS, KIOSK, and so on. The Suica card can also be used for shopping at various locations around the country.
How do I recharge my Suica Card?
A Suica card will need to be recharged once running out of money to enter the gate. This can be done at the very same ticket machine that was used to purchase a Suica card.
This time from the main screen travelers will press the “Charge” option.
Recharging the Suica card is incredibly simple and easy. You simply go to any ticket vending machine and insert the card. From there you can select charge and put in the amount of money you want to charge onto your Suica card. This can be done an unlimited amount of times up to 10,000 yen. The Suica card is definitely a must have item when traveling around greater Tokyo, or even through out Japan.
What do I do with my Suica card when I am done using it?
When you have finished using your Suica card, you can simply go to a JR ticket office and give it back. You will be charged 220 yen for the refund of which will be taken out of your initial 500 yen deposit. If you have a remaining balance left on your Suica card, you will be returned the balance minus 220 yen. Please not you can ONLY return your Suica card to a JR East ticket office for a refund. It will not work in other cities such as Nagoya, or Osaka.
What is the difference between Suica and Pasmo?
Suica vs. ICOCA
The ICOCA card is one of many IC cards provided through out Japan. Most major cities have their own IC cards unique the them. ICOCA is native to the JR West Company and services the Kansai area, as well as the Okayama and Hiroshima areas. The differences are in the name alone as the Suica card can be used any any of the stations in these and other regions in Japan.