There are two train companies in Tokyo, the Metro Subway and Japan Rail East. If you have a JR pass, you don’t have to worry about buying a train ticket when you ride any JR trains since your JR pass will allow you to have unlimited rides to any of their trains (including shinkansen or bullet trains) for a definite amount of time. All you have to do is show your JR pass to the train guards. Easy peasy!
At times when you have to use a train or any other type of public transportation by a different company you won’t be able to use your JR pass and this is when your Suica card can come in handy.
You can get a Suica card right when you land at Narita International airport and load it up with money at the JR East Travel Service Centre located in the basement of the airport.
Your Suica card is not exclusive to public transportation as you can also use it to purchase items from vending machines or convenience stores. It is super easy to use as it’s basically tap and go. Check out the tutorial I made below 🙂
If you have heard of a Pasmo card, it does the same thing as a Suica card. They are just two different brands (think Visa or Mastercard!). Take note, though, that only Suica cards can be reloaded at any JR East offices but both cards can be reloaded in any train station or convenience store including Family Mart and 7/11. I personally chose Suica card because it has a cute penguin on it.
Two reasons why you should get a Suica or Pasmo card:
- Saves time – As long as you have enough money on your card, you can ride trains without the hassle of figuring out how much you need to pay to get from point A to point B. Trust me, it can be a bit tricky trying to understand those ticket dispensing machines. You also won’t have to buy tickets every single time you ride the trains.
- No need to carry cash or loose change around – It is super convenient having a card that you can just tap when purchasing items through vending machines or train ticket dispensers.
Any leftover money in your Suica card can be refunded to you at the airport when you leave Japan.