Transportation in Tokyo – Travel Easily with Handy Smart Cards Suica and Pasmo


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As a city on the cutting edge of technology, Tokyo, offers almost all of activities to be done easier than in some of the other countries. Since Tokyo is one of the busiest city in the world, filled with lots of busy people, some kind of technologies in the transportation’s field is invented to make it easier for the busy Tokyo people to travel quickly. Suica and Pasmo are the best two examples for the technology in the transportation’s field that really could help you to travel quickly and easily as well as saving your time. Let’s take a deeper look about what are exactly Suica and Pasmo.

For the city that has so many trains operating in each day, buying tickets most likely will be a problem. Maybe for a short trip to your intended station it won’t be a problem, but what if it’s a long trip and makes you have to change the train for several times on the way? Calculating the total fare to reach your intended station would be a problem, and you’d better not to buy a wrong ticket! Not to mention in some of the biggest stations in Tokyo, where there are lots of people travel through it, sometimes you will have to queue to buy a ticket in the machine and it just waste your time of course. Fortunately, you don’t have to experience those problems as long as you have smart cards, either Suica or Pasmo!

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Yeah, those two are smart cards or prepaid card that can be used in to make your trip way more easier! Using either one of those cards, you don’t have to deal with something called train ticket anymore! You just have to purchase it, top up the cash, hold the card over the censor on the gate, get on the train, and that’s all! Easy, isn’t it? Now let’s see how you can get your hand on those card..

First, you need to buy either one of those card, of course. You can buy those card in every station which those cards can be used, you can buy it from a machine; the same machine to purchase train ticket; or in the train station office; which are only available in some of the biggest station. So, you can buy Suica from the ticket machines located in all of JR station in Kanto Region while from the ticket machines located in Metro Stations (Subway) you can purchase both Suica and Pasmo. For those who don’t have any idea about Japanese language you don’t have to worry since usually the ticket machines are in English.

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Just like in the pictures above, you can purchase the card from that machine. Buying Suica card will cost you 2.000 yen, 1.500 yen will be top upped to your card immediately, while 500 yen will become deposit money. You can have your 500 yen back if you return the card to any of the JR office, if me I prefer to keep the card as a souvenir. For the Pasmo card, it’s almost the same, the only difference is when you wanna take the 500 yen back, you don’t go to JR office but to Tokyo Metro office. White you’re buying that card, you can also choose to fill your personal data or make it into anonymous card. The difference is that if you fill your personal data there will be your name written on the card and in case you lose the card, you can transfer the amount in the card you lost to a new card. From that machine, you can also top up your cash in the card when you’ve run out of balance. All you have to do just to click on the amount you wanna top up to your card and put your money into the machine. After you’ve bought your own card, let’s proceed to the ticket gate!

Since you’ve bought the smart card, either Suica or Pasmo, you just have you hold the card over the censor on the gate. If the censor screen turns green; it means there’s no problem, but if the sensor turns red; it means the balance in your card is not enough so you have to top up the cash first.

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The price for the ride is the same as if you buy a ticket, so if you travel a lot, buying a thousand yen or two won’t be too much. Note that Suica can be used in all of the JR in Kanto region (the region where Tokyo is located), in all lines of the Tokyo subway network, both Tokyo Metro and Toei Metro, Yurikamome line to Odaiba, Keisei private railways (for example to Narita), Tobu railways (for example to Nikko), Tozan railways (for example to Hakone), Keio and Odakyu railways, with the subway network of Yokohama, Chiba, Saitama, and many other railway lines. So the conclusion is you can almost use Suica for all of the railways in Kanto. In other regions in Japan, you can still use Suica (like in Osaka, Nagoya, Hiroshima, Fukuoka, Sapporoyo), but it’s limited to JR lines only. On the other hand, Pasmo can only be used for the railways in Kanto region only.

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Beside making your travel by trains easier, Suica and Pasmo can be used to pay the fare for bus as well, both can be used for all of the city buses in Tokyo. Not to forget that using Suica or Pasmo, you can also buy some goods in the vending machine, so you don’t have to use your real money to buy it. For those who are going to go on vacation in Tokyo, I really suggest you to get your hand on one of those two cards, since it will not only make everything easier, but it also saves lots of your precious holiday time!

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Some of the data and picture used in this post are taken from tokyocheapo.com and youinjapan.net

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About Randy

My name is Albertus Randy, I'm 22 years old. I live in Bandung city, Indonesia. Now I'm still studying in Parahyangan University and my major is International Relation. I like almost everything about Japanese stuffs, like manga, anime, fashion, dorama, foods, etc. It is my biggest dream to be able to live in Japan and through this blog I would try to share my ever-lasting passion of Japan. よろしくおねがいします。。。

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