Get Suica, an E-Money Card for Railway and Shopping in Tokyo and All Over Japan
Looking at the train map of Tokyo and the first thoughts will be “wow… very complicated.” So many train and subway lines, and even buses too. Checking not only the line to find your final destination, but also the fare is required. And what is worse, sometimes re-buying the ticket is also needed when you use two or more different lines (for example, taking JR line and private subway line.)
To make that situation better, start using Suica, prepaid e-money card which you can get at major stations of JR East.
Down below is the description of getting, using and returning Suica!
1. Get a Card
Buying from the ticket vending machine is the easiest way.
First of all, find a machine which sells new Suica. There are several types of machines so that you need to find the one written “Buy a New Suica” on the top. Then, select the language English, (unfortunately, only English is available as of July 2018.)
Next, choose “Purchase new Suica” on the lower left and select the type of Suica; “MySuica” or normal “Suica”.
MySuica requires to fill out your name, birthday and phone number so that it can be reissued if lost. If your stay is not so long, just select normal “Suica” and decide the amount of money you charge.
The card itself costs ¥500 so that choosing ¥1,000 means ¥500 for card deposit and charging ¥500. When you return the card, the deposit will be returned (more details come down below.) From ¥1,000, ¥2,000, ¥3,000, ¥4,000, ¥5,000 and ¥10,000, choose the suitable amount of money for you and done! Finally, you got your own Suica!
When you are not confident enough to use the vending machine, simply visit the JR ticket office (midori-no-madoguchi) and tell the staff that you want to buy Suica.
2. Use, Use and Use the Suica Card
Now use the convenient card in your hand! There are numerous ways to use it. Let’s see what you can do with your Suica.
> Riding trains
Simply touch Suica to the reader at the ticket gate to get in and out of the station. The fare is automatically calculated at the station when you get off. If the balance is insufficient and the gate is closed, you need to add some more money to your Suica. Note that additional tickets must be purchased to take some of the express lines, reserved seats such as Green-car of JR. Also, Suica cannot be used to take Shinkansen. But other than that, you can use Suica for other private train and subway companies in Tokyo and beyond, such as central or West Japan.
> Riding other transportations
Suica can be used for other transportations such as buses and taxis as well. Just ride and touch it, or tell the driver to pay by Suica. Easy!
Your Suica can be also used to buy a snack at a convenience store, veggies at a supermarket, Advil at a pharmacy, a cup of coffee at a cafe, a bottled water from a vending machine, a magazine at a bookstore, and even a battery at a major electrical appliance store. Of course, no sophisticated way is needed. Just say “by Suica” and touch it.
3. Recharge it Up
When the balance is insufficient, you need to add some money up to a maximum ¥20,000 at a ticket machine or a fare adjustment machine with the Suica logo or other train IC card logos on it. You can also recharge at the most of convenience stores and Kiosks. However, only yen cash and no credit card is available to recharge.
4. Return the Card
When you leave Japan, return Suica and you can get the refunds and deposit. Go to JR ticket office (midori-no-madoguchi) and tell them to return it.
There is a return fee of ¥220 so that you can get the rest of the amount of money charged in Suica and the deposit of ¥500.
For example, when a balance is ¥1,000, you can get ¥1,280 in total; refunds of ¥780 and deposit of ¥500. Also, when a balance is ¥100 or less, or zero, you can get the only deposit of ¥500.
For your information, Suica is valid for 10 years after the last use. If you think you come back to Japan in 10 years, you can keep and bring it again. When Suica becomes invalid and you return, only the deposit will come back.
This very convenient card takes you anywhere you want easily and quickly. Get your own Suica and explore as long as you can!
Suica card also makes you easy to get to the nearest station where you stay. But first, download this app and find the best accommodation.