Japan travel

Travelling in Japan: how to buy Suica IC card

Would you like to know how to buy a Suica card in Japan? It took us three visits to Japan to finally buy our Suica IC cards. To be honest, for some reason I thought the process of buying the card will be more complicated. Ha! I couldn’t be more wrong.

What is Suica?

It’s a prepaid, rechargeable, IC card which can be used to pay fares on public transportation (bus/train/metro – like Myki, GoCard or Opal in Australia) or to pay for goods at a large number of shops, restaurants and vending machines. There are many operators issuing IC cards across Japan – Suica is issued by JR East but can be used country-wide.

Why should you buy one?

For convenience! It takes less than 30 seconds to purchase a new card and saves you time later on – you don’t have to buy paper tickets every time you use the metro, train or bus. And also, you don’t have to worry which ticket you need to buy as the fare is automatically deducted from your Suica.

Buying a Suica card is very easy

Look for pink machines marked “Suica | Buy a new Suica/Charge“. You don’t need to know Japanese, all the instructions are available in English.

Here’s a quick video of me buying a Suica card:

Pre-order your IC card

You can also pre-order your IC card. For Narita Airport, Haneda Airport, Shinjuku, Harajuku or Osaka Airport pick up pre-order Suica here. For Osaka Airport or Osaka City Air Terminal pick up pre-order ICOCA here.

Read more useful tips about travelling in Japan:

How much does it cost to travel in Japan?

A guide to accommodation options in Japan

It’s not just sushi – the beauty of Japanese cuisine

Japan for first timers – 25 useful tips

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