Exploring Tokyo, you may have to get on and off the train several times a day. When reaching a busy hectic station and trying to figure out your route, maybe you'll be standing scratching your head in front of a train ticket machine, trying to find the right button to press and worrying about having the right change. If you come in a group or as a family with children, then the trouble multiplies with the number of people! That may be the difficulty that you will come across each time you have to take a train.
If you're in Tokyo for several days, and don’t want to waste time on those ticket machines there is a solution. For me, I think I would be confused in front of those machines and would spend a long time trying to figure them out. On top of that, each station might have different machines. For those who are not proficient in Japanese or English, you would spend a lot of time purchasing each ticket. So, I would recommend the Suica card that allows you to escape such difficult problems.
What is the Suica card?
People who familiar with the Skytrain prepaid Card ‘Rabbit’ in Bangkok or the London Oyster cards will quickly understand; it is a contactless smart card similar to those ones.
The Suica Card is a kind of e-money. You purchase the card in advance and load it with cash. When the time comes to take the train, simply tap the card at the check-in machine at the entrance. The fare will then be deducted from your card. You can put more money on the card anytime. And what makes it better is that you can use it on any train of any company in Tokyo, not only the JR trains.
The Suica card comes in different prices from 1,000 yen to 10,000 yen and is available in 2 different types, children or adults cards to reflect the different fare structures. The prices include a deposit fee of 500 yen that you will get refunded back along with the left over money when you are done travelling. But keep in mind that you have to go back to get your refund at the company you brought the card from. For example, I purchased my Suica card from the JR East Travel Service Center at Narita Airport. Then when it is time for me to get my refund, I just have to go to any JR East window at any station, including Narita Airport. If you plan to visit Tokyo again within 10 years, then you can keep the card for your next visit, if you want to.
The benefits of the Suica card are not only making it easy for purchasing train tickets, you can also use it to buy food and drink in the trains, at some stores or vending machines that have the Suica sign on them. You can get all the detail from here.
The Suica card allows me to wander around Tokyo at ease and saves a lot of time. Goodbye train ticket machines. Hello Suica, I love you.
Note: The Suica card can also be used in Kyoto and Osaka.