How to get “Suica” or “PASMO” as of 2024

How to get Suica or PASMO as of 2024 Tips

The Suica card is now an indispensable part of life in Tokyo; when it was introduced in 2001, it served only as a train card, but since then, more and more functions have been added to its usable features. It is very convenient to use not only for trains, but also for buses and shopping at stores.

automatic ticket gate

However, from August 2023, the launch of Suica and other transportation IC cards has been stopped. The reason is due to the shortage of semiconductors, which is a worldwide problem, and is likely to last for a long time.

Without Suica card, the only way to get a ticket is to check the fare to the destination station each time and purchase a ticket from a ticket vending machine.

But is that really the only way? Let me introduce an alternative to the Suica.

Locations where you can buy Suica card as of April 2024

Suica cards (with penguin illustrations) can be purchased at JR EAST Travel Service Centers located in major stations in Tokyo (Tokyo, Shinagawa, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Ueno, Ikebukuro). This is also the Japan Rail Pass exchange office, so ask while you exchange. It is not necessary to show your passport at the time of purchase, but you may need to be there in person since only one Suica card can be purchased per person.

Suica cards can be used in major city areas throughout Japan, but refunds can only be made at stations in Tokyo and other eastern Japan cities. A 500 yen deposit is required, but will be refunded when you return the card. If you plan to come back to Japan within 10 years, it is recommended that you keep the card.

Welcome Suica

As for the Welcome Suica, as of December 2023, it is available only at Haneda Airport. If you wish to obtain a Welcome Suica, buy it from a ticket vending machine dedicated to Welcome Suica at Haneda Airport.

As of 1 February 2024, Welcome Suica at Haneda Airport are sometimes sold out. You should consider yourself lucky if you can buy one.

You can also buy welcome Suica at Klook, but note that you can only pick it up at Haneda Airport.

PASMO Passport

If your passport has a temporary visa, you can purchase a PASMO Passport. It is available at Haneda and Narita airports. It also has a cute appearance with Sanrio characters on it.

As of April 2024, sales have not been suspended and a campaign is underway to waive issuance fees.

When arriving in Japan, purchase a PASMO PASSPORT. This is a special IC card with privileges only available to overseas ...
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App for Mobile

You can put Suica functionality into your smart phone. If you are an iPhone user, you can try the app. You will need to register your credit card, but some cards issued overseas cannot be used, so you will have to give it a try.

Recommended is the PASMO card with Apple Pay

So far we have written only about Suica, but there are dozens of different types of transportation IC cards in Japan. All of them have the same functionality, just from different issuers. The procedure for issuing a new Apple Pay PASMO card is summarized here, so you can follow this procedure.

Use PASMO with Apple Pay
PASMO is an IC card that can be used on transportation in Japan. Adding it to your iPhone or Apple Watch Wallet app make...

Other Alternatives

Although it does not have all the features of the Suica card, there are several free passes available for sightseeing by train in the city of Tokyo. If you have one of these, at least you will not have to check the fare each time and buy a ticket in cash from a ticket machine. Besides, the more often you take the train, the more you get out of it.

 JR Tokyo Metropolitan District Pass

This ticket allows unlimited rides on JR lines in the central area of Tokyo. The ticket is only for JR lines and can be purchased on a daily basis from the first train of the day to the last train of the day.

Tokyo Metropolitan District Pass (Tokunai Pass) | Fares & Passes | JR-EAST
JR-EAST: Tokyo Metropolitan District Pass (Tokunai Pass)

Tokyo Subway Ticket

Unlimited rides on all Tokyo Metro lines. It can be used only on the Metro lines. The ticket can be used for 24 hours from the start of use.

In addition to 24-hour tickets, 48-hour and 72-hour tickets are also available.

Tokyo Metro | Tokyo Subway Ticket
Tokyo Metro's ticket information. You can search for fares and transfer routes as well as detailed information on ticket...

Japan Rail Pass

Unlimited travel on all JR lines throughout Japan for 7, 14, or 21 days. The pass allows unlimited rides on Shinkansen bullet trains (some are not covered by the pass) and limited express trains. Of course, unlimited travel on JR lines in Tokyo is also available.

JAPAN RAIL PASS, which is essential for sightseeing in Japan, is a pass offered jointly by the six JR Group companies.
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The Future of Suica

Suica card

In fact, the Suica card does not cover all of Japan’s railroads. Even in East Japan Railway Company (JR East), where the Suica card is sold, there are still many lines in rural areas where the card cannot be used. The company aims to abolish the conventional ticket and make it usable on all JR East lines.

Japanese railroads may seem complicated, especially to foreigners, but the day will soon come when all you need is a Suica card and you will not be afraid.