Written by Ramona (GREATERTOKYO_Explorer)
Cashless = Hassle-free! Use The Welcome Suica Card From Narita Airport
Welcome Suica is a prepaid IC card that can be used for shopping and traveling all around Japan. By using this card, you won't need to worry about local currency or buying train tickets. From Narita Airport, use the Welcome Suica to ride the Narita Express and travel in comfort directly to Tokyo.
Welcome Suica - Travel Cashless in Japan
Welcome Suica is a prepaid IC card that can be used for shopping and traveling in Japan. Released at the beginning of September 2019 by JR EAST, this card makes it so much easier for visitors to Japan to travel cashless and hassle-free.
If you arrive in Japan at Narita Airport, purchase your Welcome Suica from the JR EAST Travel Service Center at Narita Airport Terminals 1, 2 or 3. To travel from the airport to central Tokyo, we suggest using the Narita Express (N'EX), which connects Narita Airport Terminal 1 with major stations such as Tokyo, Shinjuku, and Shinagawa.
Why Use Welcome Suica?
One of the things you have to deal with after arriving in Japan is getting used to the local currency and to buying train tickets to get to the city and to your hotel.
By using a prepaid IC card such as Suica, all the payments and purchases are performed with a single touch. It saves time and lets you turn your attention to the more pleasant aspects of your trip.
The Welcome Suica can be used for payments at any facility, shop or restaurant that has the "Suica" mark on it. You'll usually see the green Suica mark at the register.
In addition, the Welcome Suica can be used on all the train lines in Japan that accept IC cards. This means that you don't need to bother calculating the ticket fare each time you board a train or a bus.
The Welcome Suica was conceived with the travelers' needs in mind. This IC card is valid for 28 days from purchase time and no deposit money is necessary when buying it. This means that, at the end of your trip, after using all the money on it, you can take the card with you as a souvenir.
How to Purchase and Use the Welcome Suica
If you arrive at Narita Airport, drop by the JR EAST Travel Service Center of Narita Airport Terminal 1. Here you can purchase a Welcome Suica card, a ticket for the limited express train N'EX Narita Express (*1) to get to the city, as well as convenient discount travel tickets such as JR TOKYO Wide Pass or JR EAST Pass.
*1... Limited express trains such as N'EX Narita Express require an additional seat reservation ticket, which is issued separately.
At the counter, purchase your Welcome Suica, which you'll use for shopping and traveling during your entire stay in Japan, and the reservation ticket for the Narita Express, which will take you from Narita Airport to the center of the city.
Alternatively, you can buy your Welcome Suica from a vending machine at the entrance to the JR Narita Express line.
Select your language and the sum you want the card to be charged with. Insert the money and your Welcome Suica card will be issued on the spot. You'll also receive a Reference Paper mentioning the validity period of your Welcome Suica card. Please keep this Reference Paper in a safe place.
Before hopping on the train that takes you to the city, how about buying a drink or a snack from the airport? Of course, you can make the payment using the Welcome Suica card, so no need to worry about currency or change.
Travel to Tokyo Station by Narita Express
The Narita Express (N'EX) is a limited express train that will take you directly from Narita Airport to major stations in central Tokyo, such as Tokyo Station, Shinjuku Station or Shinagawa Station.
The seat reservation ticket for the Narita Express can be purchased either at the JR EAST Travel Service Center or from a vending machine at the entrance to the JR lines.
If you buy your ticket from the vending machine, select your language and the type of ticket you want to purchase. NEX or N'EX stands for Narita Express.
The fee for a reserved seat on the N'EX from Narita Airport to Tokyo Station is 1,730 yen. (*The fee for a seat reservation ticket is 200 yen higher in the busy hours of the day, and 200 yen lower at the more relaxed times of the day.)
When passing through the ticket gates, insert the seat ticket into the machine and then touch your Welcome Suica on the IC card panel. The transportation fare (1,340 yen) will be deducted from your Welcome Suica. Remember to pick up your seat ticket, as you'll need it in order to find your seat on the train.
The advantage of taking the Narita Express is that you'll be traveling in comfort and fast directly to the central Tokyo area, with no stops on the way. The N'EX reaches Tokyo Station in 59 minutes, Shinagawa Station in 67 minutes, and Shinjuku Station in 85 minutes.
The screens in the car offer information in English, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. You'll know at every moment how much time is left until you reach your station.
The cars have a special place for large luggage where you can secure your suitcase using a numerical code. Make sure you memorize the code in order to recover your luggage before getting off.
Every car is equipped with spacious and multi-functional toilets. Baby care rooms are also available.
All passengers can use the JR EAST free Wi-Fi service on the Narita Express, as well as electric charging sockets. Instructions on how to use these services are available at each seat.
As a passenger on the Narita Express, you'll just have to lie down, relax and enjoy the scenery until you reach your destination in Tokyo.
Start Your Trip with Welcome Suica and Narita Express
Use the Welcome Suica in combination with the Narita Express and you'll start your adventure in Japan in a relaxed mood, free of stresses related to local currency, changing trains, or buying train tickets.
If you're using Haneda Airport to arrive in Japan, please check the article below. It introduces how to purchases the Welcome Suica and how to use it to make the most of your trip from your very first day in Japan.
For more information on discount tickets offered by JR EAST, please refer to this website: https://www.jreast.co.jp/e/
The writer visited these facilities on September 26, 2019.
Supported by East Japan Railway Company