[Basic Knowledge] Suica / Pioneer of electronic money in Japan

Quotation Sauce:JR East

Hello ! My name is shinta, Japanese blog writer, born and raised in Japan. I’m introducing real Japanese culture, from Japan to the world.

This page may assist who want

  • to know what is ‘Suica’ in Japan
  • to know history of ‘Suica’ in Japan
  • to get bits of knowledge about ‘Suica’ in Japan

In this page, I would like to introduce ‘Suica’ in Japan

You may get knowledge of ‘Suica’ in Japan, as well as Japanese have, after reading of this article. Have fun ! 

What is Suica

‘Suica’ is a prepaid transportation IC card, which is issued by JR East (East Japan Railway). With this IC card, people can pass through the gate at the station, without having ticket inspection. There’s no need to buy a ticket to get train.

Basic knowledge of ‘Suica’

  • IC card to get on the train
  • Issued by JR East
  • No ticket inspection
  • Topping up deposit at the station
  • Green color is the trademark


The service of ‘Suica’ was started in 2001 in Tokyo and suburbs. Before issuance of ‘Suica’, there were mainly magnetic ticket and cards to get train. However, after 2001, it’s drastically changed. As other rail operators issued similar services, IC card becomes a majority in getting train.

History of ‘Suica’

  • Started service in 2001
  • Initially Tokyo and suburbs only
  • 2004 Interoperation with ICOCA, IC card by JR west
  • 2007 Interoperation with PASMO, by Rail operators in Kanto area
  • 2013 Interoperation with all transportation operators completed

More information about Suica

Other than getting train, we can use ‘Suica’ in various places outside of the station. At convenience stores, vending machines, drug stores, Game Center, etc. ‘Suica’ and other transportation IC cards have large share in the market of electronic money.

Various services around Suica

  • Get on the train
  • Payment at various stores
  • Payment at vending machine
  • Mobile Suica, unified to smartphone
  • Key of coin rocker at the station


In the end, I would like to summarize the points of this article as follows


I use ‘Suica’ almost everyday.

What is ‘Suica’ in Japan

  • IC card to get train
  • Started sales in 2001
  • Available other than getting train, shopping, key of coin rocker, etc


That’s all today.
How was the content today ?

I’m heavy user of Suica actually. I commute to work to office with mobile Suica, and make payments for lunch by Suica. Buying soft drinks on vending machine, by Suica, and so on. It’s quite nice tool for me.

In the end, thank you very much for your reading today and see you again !