Amazing Uses of Suica in Japan – One Card, Explore More.


Public transportation network in Japan is most efficient in the world especially within metropolitan areas and between the large cities. No matter how far your traveling is, the vast network of public transportation provides you a fast, on time and efficient way of reaching your destination. Therefore, many tourists must buy a Suica card for starting their journey.  

What is Suica? Suica is prepared smart card that allows us to use most public transport in Japan. Just simply touch the Suica to the illuminated reader for a second at the ticket gate and the fare is automatically deducted from Suica. Therefore you need to make sure you have enough money in this card.  Do you notice some Japanese use Pasmo? Both cards are same function. The only difference is the issuing company of the cards. Suica and Pasmo are interchangeable and can be used at any station in Tokyo.
Photo credit: trip-box.net

Suica can be used for shopping as well such as spending at convenience stores, restaurants or purchase drinks at vending machines. It’s super convenient and you will not worry a lot of small coins. Let’s see how Suica has used widely in Japan as below pictures.

1) In restaurants, the meal ticket machine has a panel to scan your Suica.
Photo credit: ikidane-nippon.com

2) Various convenience stores, supermarkets and large electronics stores accept Suica.
Photo credit: ikidane-nippon.com

3) More vending machines also accept Suica.
Photo credit: ikidane-nippon.com

4) Suica can be used to take a bus and taxi as well. Please note that there are some buses that doesn’t accept card.
Photo credit: ikidane-nippon.com

Japan government and private-sector companies will develop a new system special to foreign tourists and practical use ahead of 2020 Tokyo Olympic. Foreign tourists can use Suica to check in at hotels and purchase tax-free goods. Excited? I am waiting the new system in Japan. In this topic, I will explain Price, Purchase, Regions, Recharge, Refund and Validity (2P3R1V).

Price
Starting from April 2014, the prices of Suica are stated as following:- 
Adults: 1,000, 2,000, 3,000, 4,000, 5,000 and 10,000 yen. 
Children: 1,000, 2,000, 3,000, 4,000, 5,000 and 10,000 yen
Prices above have included 500 yen deposit. Prices for adults and children are same, only amount deduction is different due to transport fare. 
 
Purchase
Suica is offered by JR EAST. You will notice ticket vending machines in major JR EAST stations. Additionally, Suica can be purchased at JR Ticket offices and Travel Service Centers. For those who arrive at airport and without a card on hand, don’t panic. 
 
In Narita airport, you can purchase the card at the vending machine in JR Narita airport if you want to take JR Narita Express to town. In Haneda airport, you can purchase the card at the vending machine in Tokyo Monorail Haneda airport International terminal Station if you want to take Tokyo Monorailm to Hamamatsucho. 
 
Don’t worry if you can’t read Japanese, you can select your language when purchase Suica via ticket vending machine. Let’s me explain how to purchase new Suica.
 
1) Touch English button on the right corner screen, press Purchase New Suica on the lower left panel. If you need recharge your card, you can select Charge.
Photo credit: ikidane-nippon.com

2) You will see 3 options, My Suica, Suica and charge. Select the second Suica New Purchase on the screen or Charge to top up fees. If you need to save your personal details on the card, you can select My Suica.
Photo credit: ikidane-nippon.com

3) Several options you can choose. Select how much you need to top up.
Photo credit: ikidane-nippon.com

4) Insert cash into the machine and finally take your Suica change (if any) and receipt.
Photo credit: ikidane-nippon.com

Regions (Where Suica can be used) 
Suica can be used on JR East lines in the Tokyo Metropolitan area and for subways, buses and Tokyo Monorail that connects Haneda Airport with Tokyo.In Tokyo area, the Suica can be used for certain transportation systems in the Sendai and Niigata, Hokkaido, Tokai, West Japan and Kyushu areas. Remember, you can’t use Suica for continuous travel between areas. When you start in one area, you must be ended in that area. When you crossing from one area to another, you need to leave the ticket gate first and re-enter.
Photo credit: jreast.co.jp

Suica is interchangeable with other cards. Therefore, it can be used wherever you see the logos as below are displayed.
Photo credit: jreast.co.jp
Recharge 
You can recharge your Suica up to a maximum of 20,000 yen at ticket vending machines with Suica mark.  Recharge by credit card is not available. However, you can use Suica with Apply Play for transit anywhere. If your Suica is set as your Express Transit Card, simply hold the top of your iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus or Apple Watch S2 and scan at the ticket gate when you enter and exit.
Photo credit: jreast.co.jp

Refunds 
When the card is returned, remaining amount and 500 yen deposit will be refunded which the amount have been deducted 220 yen processing fee. My tip: Keep your Suica and I am sure you will come back to Japan someday. Save your processing fee to buy onigiri in convenience stores.  

Validity
You can keep Suica for future travel due to it will remain valid for 10 years. For those invalid Suica, you need to get replacement card and transfer the remaining amount to your new card. If you don’t want to get replacement card, the remaining amount and deposit of 500 yen will be refunded. 

Suica card can make your trip easier in Japan. Hopefully this article can help to understand what Suica is and how the card bring great convenience to you. And, remember what I say: One Card, Explore More. Go to explore Japan with one Suica. 
 
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Love Ally 


Sumi Ally C