Where can you use Suica?
When in Tokyo, Suica, the IC card with the penguin that you can use to ride public transportation in the greater Tokyo area is hard to miss.
Once you got your Suica you might start wondering… Which areas are covered? Can it be used on a bus or shinkansen, too?
Understanding your Suica can mean the difference between a smooth trip, or stressful delays. That’s why we put together this short guide to give you an overview of the basics on where Suica is valid exactly.
Coverage in Tokyo
While you can ride close to any train, subway and bus in Tokyo using your Suica, there are still some exceptions.
Where you cannot use Suica
- ・Highway and long-distance buses
- ・Airport shuttles
- ・Express trains
For limited express trains and riding the Green car, a separate ticket is necessary.
Coverage outside Tokyo
Suica is valid in the greater Tokyo area including (luckily) Chiba, Yokohama etc. and even extends to day trip locations like Nikko.
The card is also valid at JR stations in Niigata and Sendai, as well as Sendai subway lines.
Even when you leave Tokyo, you can keep using your Suica. When using your Suica in Osaka, Kyoto, or elsewhere, just make sure to stop by at JR stations to recharge when your balance runs low.
In cooperating with local providers, Suica can be used and charged in the following areas in Japan:
- ・Kansai: ICOCA (JR West)
- ・Kansai: PiTaPa
- ・Nagoya: manaca
- ・Chukyo: TOICA (JR Central)
- ・Fukuoka: SUGOCA (JR Kyushu)
- ・Fukuoka: nimoca (Nishitetsu etc.)
- ・Fukuoka: Hayakaken (Fukuoka City Subway)
While the card can be used within these areas, the card cannot be returned at non-JR East stations, and travel between areas is not possible. Buy a separate ticket when crossing area borders to avoid any complications.
Discover Japan by train!
Overall the Japanese IC card system is extensive and well-integrated. Even if something doesn’t go according to plan you will not get stuck. You can use Metro or other train or subway systems with your suica, too. Only, at non-JR stations you may not be able to charge outside the gates, but fare-adjustment machines behind the gates or train staff can usually help you out even then.
If you really manage to find yourself somewhere you cannot use your Suica, continue with a normal ticket, or get the local IC card for around 500 yen. Ask the station staff for assistance, they will help to find a solution to your problem.
How long is Suica valid？
Suica is valid 10 years from the last time you charged it, so whether traveling or living in Japan, there is no need to worry that your card might expire. If you do one day decide that you no longer need your Suica card and want your deposit back, just remember to return it in the same area where you bought it. While you can use Suica interchangeably with other IC cards, other providers cannot offer handling services not related to their own cards. Considering the validity period, are you sure you won’t be needing it again one day?
Have you ever had any troubles with your Suica? Share your experiences in the comments!