When traveling in Japan you will most likely be using a lot of public transport. It can be frustrating to have to figure out ticket prices each and every time you want to go somewhere. We live in a generation of IC cards and of course there is one for the Japanese train system!

Suica is the name of the JR (Japan Railroad) East IC card and depending on what part of Japan you are in they can have different names. Except for a few privately owned lines you should be able to use your Suica (Pasmo, Icoca, etc etc) anywhere in Japan no matter where you are.

As you go into any train station you will see the ticket booth. Not every machine will be able to make a Suica so you need to find one with a screen that looks like the above photo. Go ahead and hit the English button to make life easier!

The next step is “Purchase new Suica”

Now you’re going to want to push the middle button. MySuica includes a lot of extra steps and in my opinion isn’t worth it for just a short vacation. Just make sure you keep your Suica in a safe place and you should be fine :D

Next you’re going to put down a deposit of 500 yen for you card and charge your card up with money so you can get traveling! Remember that whatever amount you put in, 500 yen of it will be unusable. At the end of your trip you can return your Suica card and get your 500 yen back (or just keep it for the next time you come.)

Once you’ve decided how much you’re going to put in your Suica you can feed your money through the slot at the bottom.
If your cash is too crumpled the machine might not accept it so try to smooth out any folded corners or wrinkles first.

After paying your deposit and charging your Suica with some money you should be the proud owner of a new IC card!

Here’s a video going through the above steps

An important thing to remember is that children under the age of 12 can ride for 1/2 price.
There is a way to make a children’s MySuica, but it’s a lot of paper work and Japanese.

My suggestion is to just buy the cheapest ticket and when you reach your destination to pay the difference at the fare adjustment. Just make sure to push the childĀ button on the machine when purchasing to ensure you get the cheaper ticket.

Fare adjustment is super easy and this can be used for both Suicas and tickets.
You’ll be able to find this machine near most ticket gates.

You can also add money to your Suica here too.

To get started you can tap the “English” button and scan your Suica or ticket.

You can either add a set amount of money to your card or just pay the short amount.

Now you’re on your way to becoming a professional tourist! (Is that a thing?)