IC cards are lifesavers that would make your travel in Tokyo so much easier and commute less of a headache. You are able to use your card anywhere in Tokyo. It’s very simple to use, and these handy IC cards can even be used as electronic money to shop at convenience stores as well as at a lot of major stores anywhere in Japan.
Craving for an onigiri or sando for snacks? You won’t have to deal with the 30 Yen coin changes that would just make your wallet heavy. Whether it’s PASMO or Suica, how do you use your IC card? These are some of the basics in using your IC card to make your travel in Japan so much easier.
How do you get your cards?
Whether you land at Haneda or Narita airports, you will be able to obtain both PASMO and Suica cards at their designated places. PASMO can be obtained at the Keikyu Railway Station at the Haneda Airport, while Suica can be purchased at the JR Stations.
They have English menu at their ticket machines so you don’t have to worry about figuring out the how-tos during your time purchasing. If you order the Japan Rail Pass, you also ave the option for the IC card to be delivered to your hotel or even to your home before departure.
However, most of the time this would be unnecessary as you will be able to get PASMO or Suica almost virtually anywhere in Tokyo.
Top Up Your Balance
You can easily top up your balance at any of Tokyo stations using the fare adjustment machines available at the stations.
The minimum top of for obtaining the card is 1,000 JPY, in which the 500 Yen would be a deposit for the card, that can be refunded after you ‘re not using your card anymore. The rest would be your cards balance.
After the initial top up, you can add to your balance using coins, the smallest amount is 10 Yen. Too bad 1 Yen coins can’t be used to top up your card. But getting rid of coins of 10 Yen and above would help in making your purse less heavy with coins that are a hassle to use.
Return your card
Once you have reached the end of your stay in Japan, you’re able to return your IC card to get your remaining balance in cash. However, you can only return your card in Tokyo.
Make sure to go to the respective stations, Suica users to JR East Stations, while PASMO to non-JR subway lines. You would be able to return your Pasmo or Suica at any major train stations in Tokyo, for example, Ikebukuro stations, Shinjuku stations, Tokyo stations, etc. However, this won’t be necessary if you only have little to no balance left.
The card is valid for 10 years, and you’ll be able to use your IC card again if you’re coming back to Japan. You can even save the card as a souvenir from your travel, a reminder of your trip in Japan.