IC transportation tickets around Japan (SUICA/PASMO/ITOCA etc.)

IC transportation tickets around Japan (SUICA/PASMO/ITOCA etc.)

If you are using Japanese trains, IC transportation tickets such as SUICA will be useful.  It is an IC card issued with a train ticket function. By charging (making deposit) the card, you can go through the gate by just touching it, automatically paying for the ticket price of your train ride. You can repeatedly use it by re-charging it at a ticket machine etc, when charged amount runs low. 

If it is a transportation ticket usable as e-money, it will be useful, as you can pay for shopping at convenience stores or for taxi rides. 

There are various IC transportation tickets issued by regions, and below cards are interchangeable in each of the covered areas.  Therefore if you are traveling from Tokyo to Kansai region, you can use your SUICA purchased in Tokyo, in Kansai region as well. 

Hokkaido Area 

“Kitaca” IC card issued by JR Hokkaido is valid in Kitaca area and within any area with interchangeable trains. Kitaca is not valid if you are traveling to non-Kitaka areas in Hokkaido.

Tokyo Area 

“Suica” and “Pasmo” are two types of IC transportation cards available in Tokyo area.  Suica is an IC card issued by JR East Japan, and PASMO is an IC card issued by other private railroad companies. Both cards can be used to ride JR lines and private railways in Tokyo.

Tokai Area

“TOICA” and “manaca” are two types of IC transportation cards available in Tokai area. TOICA is an IC card issued by JR Tokai Japan, and manaca was originally issued for use on Toyohashi railway, Transportation Bueau City of Nagoya, Nagoya Railway, and Nagoya Rinkai Railway.  By using TOICA and manaca, railways in Tokai area can be used mutually.

Kansai / Chugoku Area

“ICOCA” and “PiTaPa” are two types of IC transportation cards available in Kansai/ Chugoku area. ICOCA is an IC card issued by JR West Japan, and PiTaPa is an IC card widely used in Kansai/ Chugoku area, usually issued with credit card function, offering post-pay (deferred payment) and discount.

Kyushu Area 

“SUGOCA”, “Hayakaken” and “nimoca” are three types of IC transportation cards available in Kyushu area.  SUGOCA is issued by JR Kyushu, Hayakaken is issued by Fukuoka City Subway, and nimoca is issued by Nishitetsu railway.

IC cards such as Suica and ICOCA sometimes are issued in limited designs.  There have been many limited edition cards issued in the past, such as designs in Thomas the Tank Engine, Pokemon, 100th Anniversary of Tokyo Station, etc. For information on future issue of limited design cards, you will need to check the website of each railway company.

David li

Male Chinese who works for major advertising agency in Tokyo. 15 years of living in Japan has made him an expert on various Japan related topics. He came to Japan after graduating from high school and now permanently settled in Japan. His hobby is to enjoy local cuisines while travelling around various parts of Japan. He has a personal goal of visiting all prefectures in the country and in the process of achieving it, enjoying trips and dining experiences in the nation on his off-days with his family.

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