Translated by Takuya Erik Watanabe
How To Use A Suica Card Outside Of Tokyo
Suica cards are issued by the East Japan Railway Company, which operates in the Greater Tokyo Area. At present, it is usable in most stations in Japan. Today we'll be introducing how to use a Suica card outside the central Tokyo area.
Written by Mako Hayashi
Can You Use A Suica Anywhere In Japan?
A Suica is an IC card used for transportation by train issued by JR East Japan (East Japan Railway Company), which operates in the Greater Tokyo Area. At first, the Suica card was only usable in the area covered by JR East Japan.
However, at present, it has overcome railway company barriers and is usable in most stations in Japan (however, still not 100%). Today we will be introducing how to use a Suica card outside the central Tokyo area, as the card is probably something most visitors from overseas will be purchasing.
Know Where You Can Use A Suica
At present, you can use a Suica card in the following areas.
・Greater Tokyo Area
Tokyo and the surrounding regions.
The northern regions referred to as Tohoku and Hokuriku.
・Sapporo Area (SAPICA area)
・Kitaca Area (JR Hokkaido or Hokkaido Railway Company)
The Hokkaido area.
・TOICA Area (JR Tokai or Central Japan Railway Company)
・manaca Area (Transportation Bureau City of Nagoya・Meitetsu・etc.)
Nagoya and the surrounding regions.
・ICOCA Area (JR West Japan or West Japan Railway Company)
・PiTaPa Area (Surutto Kansai)
The western regions of Japan like Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima.
・SUGOCA Area (JR Kyushu or Kyushu Railway Company)
・nimoca Area (Nishitetsu, etc.)
・Hayakaken Area (Fukuoka City Transportation Bureau)
The Kyushu region.
In this way, the Suica card is usable in most regions of Japan. However, it might be hard for tourists to understand where exactly the train lines are just from the names of the areas. And there are a few railways where you can't use the Suica card. How do you know when you can't use a Suica card at a station?
Search For Two Marks
At stations where you can use Suica cards, there are marks indicating so. They are the Suica Mark and the Japan Transportation IC Card Mark.
The Suica Mark is easy to understand. The transportation IC card mark is a sign that indicates that you can use Suica at stations of railway companies other than JR East Japan (East Japan Railway Company).
As long as these marks can be found at a turnstile, you'll be able to use your Suica at that station.
Look Out! No Suica Here!
Some tips to conclude. You can only use Suica when you're moving within a certain area. If you're crossing over areas, you will have to buy a paper ticket.
If you're not from Japan, you might not know from where to where is within an area. As a rough standard, if the trip will take more than a few hours (for example Tokyo to Osaka), you will need to purchase a paper ticket.