How to buy a Suica card

Train travel in Japan can be intimidating at first, but once you get the hang of it, the sky’s the limit! Yes, you can purchase an individual fare ticket, but life is so much easier with the Suica card. It is a re-loadable card that allows you to simply scan the card at the station, and it will deduct the money as you exit at your destination, just like a debit card. Here’s how you do it in a few easy steps!

2015-06-25 10.06.35

STEP 1 Find a ticket machine at the station with the Suica banner above. (Not all machines sell new Suica cards.)

2015-06-25 10.07.06

STEP 2 In the top right corner of the machine, there will be an “English” button, first select that, then choose the blue button titled “purchase new Suica”.

2015-06-25 10.07.47

STEP 3 Select the middle button titled Suica. (NOT the one called My Suica).

2015-06-25 10.07.55

STEP 4 Select how much money you would like to load onto the card. (Keep in mind, the purchase of the Suica card is Y500, so that will not count towards your balance.)

2015-06-25 10.08.08

STEP 5 Insert your money (cash only) into the proper slot at the bottom of the machine.

2015-06-25 10.05.09-1

And your card will dispense from the slot below. It’s that easy! (Remember, losing your card is just like losing cash, you will not be refunded any balance.)

2015-06-25 10.11.25

You are good to go! Approach the turn style with the green “in” arrow.

2015-06-25 10.11.33

Place your card directly over the blue window and the gate will open. And that’s it!

***Don’t forget- this card is re-loadable. To check your balance, simply insert your card into any machine, and it will display your balance. Then, add more yen if needed.

A children’s Suica card is also available for purchase, but you must go to the window with the child’s passport and purchase directly with an agent, since children travel at half fare. Not every station sells children’s cards , but depending on which side of base you live on, Akishima (at Moritown mall),  and Haijima,  are the closest options.2015-06-25 10.14.08

***Children under 6 years of age do not need train fare. Simply swipe your own card and walk through the turn style together. There is usually a wider lane with no turn style doors for strollers or wheel chair use. (The rules regarding children’s fares can be a bit confusing, but 6 years of age is when the child is considered school age, therefore needing train fare.The Japanese school system begins in April, so if your child turns 6 prior to April, 1st of the current year, you must buy a card. If your child turns 6 after April of the current year, you are good until the next April. Hope that makes sense!) Jamie Cowan, June 2015.

One Response to How to buy a Suica card

  1. Jennifer Smith

    If you register your card and get one with your name, if it gets lost and returned to a station you will get it back! I know buying your Suica at Ushihama Station will get you one with your name on it 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.