IC Card! The Most Important Thing You Need to Know About Japanese Transportation!

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If you don’t have much time to research about Japanese transportation, you need to at least read this one since it’s very very important!

What is an IC CARD? Have you ever heard of SUICA? Then that’s what IC Cards is. Basically it is a card that you can top up with money. You can use it to buy stuff from conveniences store or vending machine. But the main usage is to use it on public transportation such as train and bus.



Where to buy it?

You can buy it directly on ticket vending machine and ticket locket within a train station in the airport.

Should I buy it overseas?

There are some people who are worried that they might not be able to buy one of their on in Japan and thus it gives opportunity for people to sell them overseas. But it’s really not hard to buy, so we think you don’t need to buy them overseas since it doesn’t worth the added cost.

What if I don’t want to buy it?

Really?… Japanese train in busy hours are very very packed with people. People are packed like a sardine in a can. Don’t believe us? Check out this video below!

If you don’t have IC CARD with you, it means you need to get a proper ticket EVERYTIME you’re going to ride a train (trust us, you don’t want to lined up for ticket in rush hours…)

And sometimes you might not have the bill/coins to buy the ticket. It really doesn’t worth the time. Buy an IC card and get rid of all the inconveniences.

How to use it?

Very simple! Just tap the card when to get inside the gate and tap again when you get out.

How to top it up?

Find a ticket vending machine within a train station. Click on the ENGLISH button first, then you can follow the instruction displayed on the machine. In some area where you cannot find a vending machine, you can talk to the train officer in a locket to help you top it up. When you need a help from someone, say “すみません Sumimasen…”

What happened if there’s an error in my card and I can’t get through?

Don’t worry, officers always standby near the gate and they can help you to fix the card and let you get in.

What happened if there’s not enough money in my IC card?

The gate will not open. But an officer nearby will help you. They will check your card and you can give them money to pay for your ticket or to top it up. So no worries!

A few important points you need to know about IC CARDS:


• To buy an IC CARD you need to put down a deposit of 500 yen. This deposit cannot be used but it will be given back to you when you return the card. But note that you can only return the card in a specific area where you can buy the card. So the SUICA can only be refunded in Tokyo while ICOCA can only be refunded in Osaka.
• In Tokyo, there are 2 different cards. PASMO and SUICA. There is no big different other than the design, but you need to refund them to the proper company which issued the card.

And that’s one of the most important thing you need to know about Japanese transportation! Another one? Okay… NEVER USE TAXI IN JAPAN! The cost is irrational. You better use that money to buy yourself a Kobe beef instead! _:(´□`」 ∠):_

If this is the first time you’re going to Japan, you can read href=”http://crunchynihongo.com/?p=10032″>this article to help you plan what you need to have in Japan.

Language can be an obstacle since many people in Japan couldn’t speak English. You could either try to learn a bit of basic Japanese or you could also use free apps like Japan Travel Phrasebook to help you.

This app provide a lot of practical phrase you will need to travel such as “I want to go to …” or “Where is the toilet?”. You can imitate the phrases until you memorize them or you can simply bookmark the phrases and show it up to local so they can immediately understand what you need.

Hope it helps and have a wonderful trip! °˖✧◝(⁰▿⁰)◜✧˖°