How to return your Suica
So your time taking the train in Japan has come to an end? You will not have any use for your Suica any longer? When leaving Tokyo you have two options: return your Suica or take it with you.
As I wrote previously Suica can only be returned at JR East stations in the Tokyo area (and the outposts at Niigata and Sendai). The cards long validity, until 10 years after last use, makes keeping your Suica a realistic option if you are however slightly inclined to return to Tokyo one day.
Find a JR Travel Office “Midori no Madoguchi”
Refunds and returns have to be performed at a counter so head to one of the “Midori no Madoguchi” Ticket offices run by JR East.
Ask the staff for a refund
Show your card to the staff at the ticket office, and ask for a refund called 払い戻し (はらいもどし). Refunding your Suica comes with a charge of 220yen, so the money you will get back will be calculated as follows:
Refund = remaining balance – handling fee + deposit
If your remaining balance is less than 220yen, you don’t have to pay the refund charge and get back your full deposit of 500yen regardless. So even if you empty your card on the ride to the airport before returning it, you are guaranteed some change for convenience store snacks and a drink at the gate.
Have an expired Suica?
If you do happen upon the rare case of an invalid Suica, fear not, as it can be replaced and the original balance restored.
Alternatively, you can get a refund for invalid cards, in which case the original deposit of 500yen and the remaining balance will be returned to you after substracting a refund fee. So consider taking unused Suicas to one of JR’s Ticket Offices “Midori no Madoguchi” before throwing them out.