To be honest, we can’t imagine traveling in Tokyo without a Suica Card. Suica means “watermelon” in Japanese. Yes, it’s also the Japanese version of Hong Kong’s Octopus Card and London’s Oyster Card. Why isn’t it named after a sea creature? We don’t know. What we know is Suica card is a must while traveling in Tokyo – or actually all around Japan!
The Suica is a prepaid e-money card for moving around and shopping. There is no more need to buy a ticket from a vending machine. Just touch your Suica to the ticket gate and the fare is automatically deducted from your Suica. The Suica can be used not only for JR East trains, but subways and buses as well.
The Suica can also be used to pay for things with e-money. Buy soft drinks and coffee from vending machines and on the train. Even buy a newspaper at the station kiosk without fiddling for coins. For traveling in Japan, the Suica makes a more pleasant trip. (Source)
- We get automatic discounts when using it on trains and buses
- No hassle when transferring from different lines for example from JR Line to Odakyu Line in Shinjuku Station – there is a special entrance for transferring passengers but only when you have a Suica (or other brand of pass).
- It’s very convenient to use on buses as well
- You can also shop with it at Japanese malls (example at Lumine Shinjuku)
- When you’re done using your Suica card, you can get ¥500 rebate
How to use your Suica card?
Simply touch the Suica card to the reader at the ticket gate when out and about. There is no need to purchase a ticket from a vending machine.
The fare is automatically calculated at the station where you get off.
When you get off the train, the fare will be calculated at that station. If the balance is insufficient, however, you will need to add more money to your Suica.
Additional tickets must be purchased to use the Suica for travel on a limited express, express or Green Car. The Suica cannot be used for travel on the Shinkansen. (Source)