Suica IC Card
Suica is an IC (integrated Circuit) card designed to easily pay for local transport in Japan. Originally launched in 2001. The Suica is like the NSW Opal Card, the Queensland Go Card, the Victorian Myki Card etc. although perhaps more technically these Australian cards are like the Suica as it was first.
Suica is a contactless card that you pass over the sensors in gates in train stations or buses and the system will track your swipe on and swipe off and deduct the appropriate fare.
For our clients we usually provide you with a Suica that is pre-loaded with some credit, usually 3,500 yen. You can re-charge (add money to) your card at ticket machines located at most stations. Using these machines is relatively straightforward as they have an English button which you can press at the start and then follow the steps on the screen and insert your desired amount of cash to add. If you need assistance please ask your guide, or one of the station staff, or a friendly local!
In addition to paying for public transport your Suica can be used to pay for various other items, including drinks from selected vending machines, or purchases at Konbini (Convenience Stores like 7Eleven) etc.
Suica is the IC Card used and operated by JR East which covers the Tokyo area. The ICOCA card is used and operated by JR West most commonly in Osaka and Kyoto for example. Both of these are mostly interchangeable nowadays although originally they were separate systems.
Did you know? The readers attached to the gates are angled at 13 degrees as this was determined to be the angle that optimised the contact/reading time for the Suica card as it was passed across the reading zone.