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How to Travel Around Tokyo with SUICA Card

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)


suica-card.jpg Why do we prefer getting a Suica card than a one day pass?

  1. We get automatic discounts when using it on trains and buses
  2. 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).
  3. It’s very convenient to use on buses as well
  4. You can also shop with it at Japanese malls (example at Lumine Shinjuku)
  5. 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)



4 thoughts on “How to Travel Around Tokyo with SUICA Card

  1. For people who don’t know how to move around train/subway in japan, definitely this is a life saver! You don’t have to worry in each station about how much is the ticket you have to buy, or read the kanji or name of the station or even try to find yourself on those crazy train lines.. hahaha
    It is easy, fast and amazing~
    The problem is when you get inside shinjuku station, for example, and you decide to leave at the same station for some reason (I forgot my bag at a coffe shop before going inside) and you can’t get out because you can’t get charged for not traveling lol

  2. Hi!! May I know what’s the different between JR pass and SUICA card? I am travelling to Osaka in March and I totally have no idea if JR pass is worth. We will be going to Osaka-Kyoto-Tokyo-Osaka. Is SUICA card can be used for Shinkansen? Thank you.

    1. @Jocelyn: Hi Jocelyn! I think that you will be able to maximize your JR PASS if you will be traveling from Osaka to Tokyo and vice versa. Suica is the rechargable card. You might spend more if you just use Suica during your entire stay. ^^ Hope that helps! – Kaila

  3. Hello! Thank you very much for your artcile, it helps me a lot.. I’m going to Tokyo in October..and hardly understand the difference between JR pass and Suica card. And then I read it on your article, i appreciate your time to write about this :)

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