How to buy a Suica card
You are in Tokyo and decided to get a Suica, or just happen to be at a JR East train station in need for a ticket. Either way, getting an IC card will save time, small change and spare you from navigating these giant maps over the ticketing machines that show how much you need to pay.
1 Where to get a Suica
You can buy Suica at:
・all big stations in the Tokyo area
・Haneda and Narita airport
Inside the station, you will find them at:
・Multifunctional Ticket Vending Machines,
・JR Ticket Offices (みどりの窓口) and
・travel service centers
I recommend using the ticket machines if you are looking for a time-efficient way. Since they have an English menu they are easy to use.
2 Locate a ticket machine
Go to the ticket machines with a black frame around them near the ticket gates of JR East stations.
3 Choose the language
Click the blue button in the upper right of the screen to set the language to English.
4 Select “Purchase new Suica”
This time push the blue button on the bottom left. From this screen, you are also able to buy normal single ride tickets, commuter passes and charge your card.
5 Choose the card type
You have the choice between a normal Suica or MySuica, a personalized version. The difference is that a MySuica will have your name printed on it and can be reissued in case you lose it one day.
For the MySuica you will need to enter: full name, gender, birthday and a Japanese phone number.
6 Choose your deposit
If you choose the general Suica the next screen will ask you to pick with how much money to charge your new card with.
The options of 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000 and 10000yen include a 500yen deposit that will be refunded when the card is returned to JR East.
Example: You put 3000yen into the machine for a new Suica. This means that you paid 500yen for the deposit and the card you received will be charged with 2500yen.
7 Pay and receive your card
Now just confirm the transaction on the next screen, insert the money and you are done.
Congratulations! You now own a card with an adorable penguin and can freely move around Tokyo. No worrying about how to spell your station in Kanji or how often to change trains. Just swipe the card at the ticket gates and you are good to go.