Suica Guide 2024: How to Buy a Suica Card in Japan

The most popular way to travel around Japan, especially on a budget, is by using Japanese trains. Renowned for their punctuality, speed, and convenience, Japanese trains provide direct access to most tourist destinations. For a smoother experience, purchase a Suica Card upon your arrival in Japan. With a Suica card, you can effortlessly enter and exit train stations by simply swiping the card, bypassing the hassle of calculating fares and purchasing separate tickets for each journey.

Suica card

From:JREast Official Website

Wondering how to obtain a Suica card? Do you need to speak Japanese at a ticket counter? This article will guide you through the process of purchasing a Suica card in Japan. If you’re curious, keep reading!

Updated on April 26, 2024Japan discontinued the sale of registered/unregistered Suica and Pasmo cards on June 8, 2023, and August 2, 2023, respectively. As of January 12, 2024, foreign tourists can purchase unregistered Suica cards (the green regular version) at JR East Japan Travel Service Centers (駅たびコンシェルジュ) located in Tokyo, Shinagawa, Shibuya, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, or Ueno stations.

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Buying A Suica card in Tokyo: Suica Card Revival from 2024?

Train Tickets in Japan

The ticketing system in Japan is based on the combination of the train company and the distance between stations. If you don’t possess a Japanese transportation card or pass, you’ll need to purchase a single journey ticket. To do so, first, identify the fare based on the route map displayed at each station, then proceed to purchase the ticket from the vending machine.

For instance, if you plan to travel from Ueno to Akihabara, you might opt for the JR Yamanote Line. Let’s use the JR East vending machine as an example.

On this map, you’ll notice a number next to each station indicating the fare from the current station (marked by the red square) to that particular station. For example, the fare from Ueno to Akihabara, which is two stations away, is 140 yen. However, with a Suica card, you don’t need to worry about calculating fares. Simply tap your Suica card at the start and end of your journey, and the correct fare will be automatically deducted.

It’s worth noting that the route maps displayed at each station only illustrate the routes and fares of the specific train company operating there. For instance, JR stations display only JR routes and fares, omitting information about Tokyo Metro or Toei Subway stations and their respective fares.

If you need to travel from Ueno to Nijubashi-mae Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line), where the Imperial Palace is located, you can take the JR Yamanote Line to Nishi-Nippori and then transfer to the Chiyoda Line. However, the fare for the Chiyoda Line segment from Nishi-Nippori to Nijubashi-mae is not listed on the JR map. Using Suica simplifies this process, allowing you to transfer between different train lines seamlessly without worrying about fare discrepancies.

How to Buy Train Tickets at Ticket Machines

The one on the left is the machine used to purchase tickets.

Select fare according to destination

After the fare screen is displayed, put in cash

Machine spits out tickets and change

A ticket for 220 yen

What is a Suica Card?

With the Suica card, fares are automatically calculated with a single touch. You no longer have to check the fare and buy a ticket every time or wait in line to buy a ticket. Isn’t it much more convenient?

Suica stands for Super Urban Intelligent Card, and it can be used for transportation and shopping.

Adult Child
1,000 yen 1,000 yen 1,000 yen
2,000 yen 2,000 yen 2,000 yen
3,000 yen 3,000 yen 3,000 yen
4,000 yen 4,000 yen 4,000 yen
5,000 yen 5,000 yen 5,000 yen
10,000 yen 10,000 yen 10,000 yen

Please note that the purchase price includes a 500-yen deposit. If you pay 1,000 yen for a Suica card, 500 yen of that amount will automatically become a deposit, and you will be able to use 500 yen of the stored value. If you pay 2,000 yen, you can use 1,500 yen, and if you pay 10,000 yen, you can use 9,500 yen.

How to Apply for a Suica Card

Buy a Suica Card at the Counter

Some of the larger stations have a Green Window (Midori-no-Madoguchi, Ticket Office) where you can tell staff that you need a Suica card.

Buy a Suica Card from Machines

Update in May 2024: It is now not available to buy Suica cards from ticket machines. Please go to JR East Japan Travel Service Centers (駅たびコンシェルジュ) located in Tokyo, Shinagawa, Shibuya, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, or Ueno stations, to purchase unregistered Suica (the green regular version).

Buying A Suica card in Tokyo: Suica Card Revival from 2024?

How to Use a Ticket Machine to Purchase a Suica Card

If you choose to purchase a Suica via a ticket machine, you will find many machines at the bottom of the fare map in JR stations. Find such machines as the following:

You can then follow the steps below to purchase a Suica.

Click on the fourth item “Suicaの購入(Suica purchase)”

Click on the second item “無記名Suicaカード(No-Name Suica Card)”

Choose the amount of charge

Suica card will be dispensed here after processing

Of course, you can also choose English, which are similar to the Japanese buttons and are easier to understand.

Application of the Suica Card

Suica can be used in most areas throughout Japan.

From:JREast Official Website

You can use Suica in the areas shown in the picture above, and not only on trains, but also on certain buses without having to buy a ticket!

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