So you’re going to be in Tokyo for a few days and you know you need a suica card!
And if you don’t know…
The reason you will HIGHLY want to consider getting a suica card is because it can basically make your life easier while traveling around Tokyo!
These cards won’t save you any money, but they will allow you to avoid the hassle of having to buy individual train tickets before you board the train, and they will allow you to avoid having to pay for the bus fare with coins.
They are basically cash cards, and all you need to do is swipe to pay for your ticket!
You will be able to use a suica card at most places across Japan that accept “IC cards.”
If you’re landing in Tokyo at Haneda airport, can you get a suica card right away?!
Yes, you can!
And you can use it immediately to get to your hotel in Tokyo by train from the airport!
Where can you buy a suica card at the airport?!
If you’re headed into the city, you can get there by first taking a train from Haneda airport.
So once you arrive in Tokyo…
You will look for signs that point you in the direction of the train line you want to take.
The directions below are if you are taking the “monorail” train.
But depending on where in Tokyo you’re heading, you might be looking for another train line. Consult Google Maps for which train line is best to take for your destination.
No matter which train you take (or even if you won’t be taking the train at all from the airport – there’s a bus too), the process is basically the same for buying a suica card!
So following the signs will bring you to the train ticket gate.
And right next to the ticket gate, you will find a number of ticket machines.
This is where you would buy train tickets if you weren’t going to use a suica card.
And it’s also the place where you can get your first suica card.
How to actually buy a suica card?!
Once you’re at the ticket machine, it’s pretty straight forward!
First click the “English” button, and then just follow the prompts!
You have the option to get a “suica” or “my suica” card.
With the my suica card, you can put your name on it.
You will then be prompted to choose how much money you want to put on your card.
You will want to choose at least the 2,000 yen option if you’re headed to Tokyo Station, Shinjuku, or another main area of Tokyo.
Since there’s a 500 yen deposit with the suica card, if you choose the 1,000 yen option, that leaves you with 500 yen on the card.
This won’t be enough to get you to Tokyo.
Adult/child train fare from Haneda Airport
Then you’ll enter the cash into the machine. (No credit cards at this machine as of February 2019.)
And then you have your suica card!
How to use the suica card for the train from the airport?!
And then once you have the suica card in your possession, it’s swipe IN, and swipe OUT!
At the ticket gate, there will be a spot that says “IC card.”
And it’s here that you will swipe your card to get through the ticket gates and onto the train.
Most ticket gates will also have a display that says how much money you have left on the card once you swipe.
Then you’ll take the train to Tokyo!!
(Or maybe 2 trains.)
And then when you are at your destination, you will swipe to get out.
That’s when money will be deducted from your card.
There is also usually a display of how much was charged and how much you have left.
If you have extra time, wander around Haneda airport to check out the Nihonbashi Bridge (above), the Edo Market, or the observation deck for airplane spotting!
HAPPY USING YOUR SUICA CARD FOR THE FIRST TIME AT HANEDA AIRPORT!
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Among the top 3 things people get specific for a trip to Japan
- JR pass for quick and easy long distance train travel (see price here and see here how to calculate train routes to figure out it's worth it for you)
- Pocket wifi to make travel in Japan easier (see price here)
- Travel insurance for natural disasters just in case especially for travel disruptions (see price here and see here for past natural disaster that affected foreigners)
Food in JapanIf you are in Japan for FOOD, then be sure to see where to try different types of Japanese food! (Sometimes for cheaper!)
And also have a look at some of these cooking classes in Japan too.
When the JR pass is worth itIn general, 2 long-distance shinkansen train trips will likely end up making it so the JR pass will be worth it. But here's how to calculate it to be sure. See the current price of a JR pass from an official vendor.
Natural disasters in JapanUnfortunately, Japan can be prone to natural disasters which means risk for travel delays. So be sure to look at travel insurance for natural disasters.
My travel insurance took care of my accommodation and food costs when I was forced to stay extra days in Japan because of a typhoon. There have been a few typhoons that have hit Japan in the past couple of years and they can cause real travel disruptions!
See how much insurance costs for your trip.
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