Due to the global chip shortage, Japan temporarily suspended the sale of two commonly used transportation IC cards for travelers, Suica and Pasmo, starting from August 2nd. While there were previously special physical cards available for travelers, such as Welcome Suica and Pasmo Passport, they had a limited validity period of only 28 days. This meant that if you planned to return to Japan, you’d have to go through the inconvenience of purchasing them again. In this regard, we recommend using the mobile versions, Mobile Suica and Mobile Pasmo.
Please note that Mobile Suica and Mobile Pasmo require Android smartphones sold in Japan, as they rely on the FeliCa technology, which is exclusive to domestically sold Android phones in Japan. Therefore, travelers with Android phones purchased outside of Japan may not be able to use Mobile Suica and Mobile Pasmo. In the following instructions, we will exclusively cover how to install and use Mobile Suica and Mobile Pasmo on an iPhone.
Both iPhone and Apple Watch Can Use Mobile Suica
Installing Mobile Suica via Apple Pay
Installing Mobile Suica via the Mobile Suica APP
First, you’ll need to download the Mobile Suica APP:
After installing the app, you can follow the animation provided by JR East Japan below to apply for a new Mobile Suica card.
The All-New iPhone-Compatible Mobile Pasmo
Previously, Mobile Pasmo was only supported on Android phones, but it started supporting iPhones from October 2020.
Installing Mobile Pasmo via Apple Pay
Installing Mobile Pasmo via the Pasmo APP
Similarly, you’ll need to start by downloading the Pasmo APP:
Once installed, you can follow the official process on the Pasmo website (Source: Pasmo Official Website) to apply for a new Pasmo card.
- Launch the PASMO APP and tap on “Start (はじめる)”.
- Choose “Create a New PASMO Card (新しくPASMOを作る)” from the card type options.
- Select “Anonymous PASMO” from the card type, confirm the usage rules on the next screen, and tap “Agree (同意する)”.
- In the “SF Charge (SFチャージ, Balance Top-up)” screen, tap on the “Charge Amount (チャージ金額)” to choose the initial top-up amount. You can also select “No Charge (チャージしない)” if preferred.
- If you’ve chosen to top-up, tap the “Apple Pay” button and then, on the Apple Pay screen, click “Continue (続ける)” to add the card to Apple Pay.
- In the Quick Transit Card Settings screen, tap “Finish (完了)” to prioritize the use of Pasmo.
- By agreeing to the rules, you have successfully created a new Anonymous PASMO card.
Mobile Suica and Mobile Pasmo: How to Charge
Charging Mobile Suica and Mobile Pasmo at the Station
Once you’ve set up Mobile Suica or Mobile Pasmo, you can find these two types of machines at the station for charging.
At JR East Japan stations, you can find the red charge machines on the right for Mobile Suica.
At Toei Subway & Tokyo Metro stations, you can find similar charge machines for Mobile Pasmo.
The charging process is straightforward. Simply place your phone in the designated area and follow the on-screen instructions.
For Mobile Suica, place your phone where you see a bright blue light. For Mobile Pasmo, place your phone on the left side where there’s an IC symbol.
Charging Mobile Suica and Mobile Pasmo via Apple Wallet
You can conveniently charge your Mobile Suica and Mobile Pasmo using Apple Wallet. Here’s an example using Mobile Suica:
Open Apple Wallet, select Mobile Suica, and tap “Add Money.”
Choose the amount you want to charge or enter a custom amount using the number pad. Afterward, tap “Add” in the upper right corner.
Double-click the side button to make the payment.
Additionally, if you have a Japanese credit card, you can also use it to charge Mobile Suica and Mobile Pasmo through their respective apps.
The header image in this article is sourced from the official Pasmo website.
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