Navigating Tokyo with Suica: A Practical Guide


Exploring Tokyo is relatively easy, and using an IC card for transportation can make it even simpler. Depending on your location in Tokyo, you may opt for trains, subways, taxis, or local buses. Buying tickets each time you take a train or subway can be cumbersome, and local buses have different payment methods, making it complex and time-consuming. In this guide, I’ll introduce you to Suica.

Suica is a popular contactless smart card widely used for transportation in Japan. It’s convenient for both travelers and residents, providing a seamless way to navigate public transportation and make quick transactions. You can use Suica for train and bus rides, as well as for purchases at various vending machines and stores.

How to get Suica

While Suica cards are available, I recommend using Mobile Suica. This is crucial, especially when arriving at main airports like Narita or Kansai International, where access typically involves trains or subways. Mobile Suica can be issued from your home before departure, allowing you to use it immediately upon arrival at the airport.

Issuing Mobile Suica

To issue Mobile Suica on your iPhone, tap the + icon in the top right corner of the Wallet app, choose “Transit Card,” find the “Japan” region, select Suica, choose the amount you want to charge, and complete the process.


With Mobile Suica, you can charge at your convenience without needing to be at a station. When your balance runs low, charge from your registered credit card on your smartphone. You can set up notifications for balances below 500 yen to avoid forgetting to charge.


When using it at the station gate, simply touch the Suica card to the reader. While Suica is primarily for JR East Japan, it’s accepted on most railways in the country. After using Suica, you can check your travel details and expenses in the Wallet app.

For some express trains, Green cars, and Shinkansen, additional tickets are required. Purchase them at station ticket machines or online.

Suica isn’t just for train rides; you can also use it for vending machines, lockers, and payments at convenience stores and restaurants. Press the Suica logo or IC card button on vending machines, lockers, or automated payment machines, then touch your smartphone to the card reader. When using it at a convenience store or restaurant, inform the staff that you’ll be paying “by Suica” before tapping your phone on the reader.

One Suica, One Person

A single Suica card can only pay for one person’s fare. If everyone has a smartphone, issue Suica to each device. For those without a smartphone, it’s recommended to issue a physical Suica card at the ticket machine. Visit this site ( for assistance.

Question About Suica:

For more detailed information about Suica, visit JR East Japan’s website (

Your exploration of Tokyo just got a major upgrade. With Suica by your side, enjoy a delightful and seamless travel experience. Safe travels!