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Story See More of Japan With the Help of the Suica Card
The All-in-One Tourist Card to Travel and Shop
By JNTO on 13 January 2023

Figuring out ticketing machines at train and bus stations and how to get to popular destinations in Japan can be challenging for foreigners but there are some hacks you can do for a fuss-free travel experience such as getting a Suica card. 


suica card

Please note that this information is current as of January 2023 and may be subject to change.


Issued by the East Japan Railway Company (JR East), the Suica card, easily recognised through its penguin mascot motif, is a prepaid, rechargeable card that you can use for many purposes. 


Besides using it for JR East train lines, it can also be used for many bus lines, major convenience stores, vending machines, and even coin lockers. Covering a wide transportation network extending beyond the Tokyo metropolitan area, the all-in-one Suica card is easily one of the most popular and convenient tourist cards! 


Where Can I Use the Suica Card?


Getting Around Japan:


jr east train line


The Suica card can be used for the JR East train lines in Tokyo’s metropolitan area. It can also be used for many buses and subways. This is good to have handy for the Tokyo Monorail, which connects Haneda Airport with Tokyo, too. Tourists who are contemplating their choices will also be pleased to know that the Suica card is fully compatible with the Tokyo metropolitan area’s Pasmo system.


Outside of Tokyo, it can be used in areas where Kitaca, PASMO, TOICA, manaca, ICOCA, PiTaPa, SUGOCA, nimoca, Hayakaken, and odeca are available; these can be used from Hokkaido to Okinawa for railways, buses and more. However, do note that the Suica cannot be used for continuous travel between areas. When crossing from one area to another, you have to first exit the ticket gate and then enter the next station.


Some modes of transportation such as certain highway buses and express trains do not accept the Suica card since you may need to book and pay in advance to use these. To avoid confusion and optimise your travel plans, do check for the latest updates because the valid usage area is constantly expanding. 


front of suica card


Shopping With Ease:


More than just a transport card, the versatile Suica card can be used for shopping as well. A wide variety of retailers have started to accept the Suica card as a means of payment, which means the Suica card is your tap-and-go wallet. 


You don’t have to worry about not having enough cash on hand as this easy and convenient option can help you pay at many establishments.


vending machine that accepts suica card payment


For a start, you can use the Suica card to pay for purchases at major local convenience store chains that many tourists love. Adding to the list are beverage vending machines, supermarkets, drug stores, cafes and even some fast-food chains. The full list of stores can be found here, or just keep a look out for the Suica and partners’ logos displayed at the store.


Where to Buy and How to Top-Up the Suica Card?


jr east ticket station


Travellers flying in from Narita or Haneda International Airport can purchase a Suica card easily at JR East Travel Service Centers. You can also buy a prepaid Suica card from ticketing machines at major JR East train stations and JR Ticket Offices (Midori-no-madoguchi).

Expect to pay JPY1,000 for the initial purchase of a Suica card, which includes a JPY500 deposit fee that is fully refundable when you return the card. However, do note that a charge of JPY220 is deducted upon return. (If there is less than JPY220 left on your card, it will not be refunded.) 


jr east train station


You can easily top up your Suica card at Automatic Ticket Vending Machines and Multi-Functional Ticketing Machines found at train stations and most convenience stores. The rechargeable amounts available are JPY500; JPY1,000; JPY2,000; JPY3,000; JPY5,000; and JPY10,000. You can load a minimum amount of JPY1,000 at convenience stores. 


Short-term visitors can also consider the special Welcome Suica card. This tourist card with a sakura design comes without a JPY500 deposit fee but is valid for only four weeks and the balance credit cannot be refunded. It makes a cute souvenir to take home for memories.


welcome suica card

If effortless travel and shopping convenience matter greatly to you, the Suica card is one good thing to have when exploring Japan. Reduce the stresses of public transport and shopping language barriers. Navigate Japan as the locals do; simply tap the card and go! 


*Suica is a trademark of East Japan Railway Company.

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