How to: Purchase your own SUICA Card in Japan

It gives you a sense of belongingness in a society that’s been known for its exclusivity.

Japan as a country has been known for quite a number of things: Sushi, electronic company brands, anime, the kawaii culture and of course its trains. I’ve travelled to other parts of Japan before but traveling within Tokyo I quickly noticed something different. Unlike Japan’s countryside people, Tokyo’s inhabitants prefer using the more affordable and convenient mode of transportation instead of buying and owning their own cars: TRAINS. 

 ‘Trains’ from the Latin word “trahere” meaning ‘to pull’ or ‘to draw’ is something the Japanese has indeed revolutionized again and again thus, making them its top manufacturer all over the world. Not only are Japanese trains dependable and affordable they also boast of one thing: being ON TIME, always. For today’s article I’ll be guiding you on how to create your very own Japanese SUICA card or train card, why you should make one for yourself when traveling around Tokyo and how you can personalize yours in 5 easy steps. 

Why get yourself a SUICA?                      

Suica is a rechargeable contactless smart card used instead of manual tickets on train stations in Japan and since it is interchangeable with Pasmo, it is virtually supported by any train, tramway, and bus system ALL OVER the country except for Shinkansen or Bullet trains. 

It is popular since you won’t need to purchase a train ticket EACH time you ride the train to your station, all you’d have to do is swipe your card instead. No more waiting in queues or wasting your time waiting for others to finish purchasing their ticket, it is seamless, fast and convenient. Also, you can use your card to pay in convenient stores and vending machines located all around the stations. 

 How to make your own SUICA card

There 2 ways of making a SUICA card but the one I’ll be teaching you is the most helpful for foreigners or tourists. 

STEP 1: Look for a SUICA making machine


The SUICA making machine looks like this and can usually be found near the entrance of big stations such as Tokyo Station, Shinzyuku Station and so on. On the upper right corner of the screen you’ll see the word ENGLISH, click it to change the language of the screen into English.


 STEP 2: Press the Purchase New SUICA button


STEP 3: Press ‘My SUICA’ button

This is the better option between the two because if ever you lose this, you can have it reissued form the JR or Japan Railway staffs.


STEP 4: Press the ‘Confirm’ button

 This type of SUICA card needs to use your information but before they get it you need to click the CONFIRM button which would also serve as a terms of agreement button between you and the issuing company.


STEP 5: Enter your first and last name

Click on the first name button and enter your first name, do the same for the your middle and last name.


STEP 6:  Choose your gender


STEP 7: Enter your birth date details

Enter your birth day and year with your birth year first proceeded by the month and then the day.


STEP 7: Enter your telephone number

Enter your phone details, you can also input your mobile number incase you bought a sim card for Japan.


STEP 8: Check the details of your card and then pay

The details you input in your SUICA will flash on the screen, confirm it then choose which payment you’d like to do. 500 yen will be placed for your deposit,  this 500 yen is refundable once you surrender your SUICA card to jR staffs before you go back to your home country. As for me I choose not to give it back because I keep it as a souvenir and you may use this card for ten years. You never know, ten years is a long time and you may find yourself in Japan again.  


STEP 9: Get your card from the machine


STEP 10: (Optional) Buy a case for your SUICA card 

There are a lot of cute pouches especially made for the purpose of SUICA which are being sold in many stores althrougout Japan. I chose this Taiyaki Designed one because Taiyaki is one of my most favorite Japanese sweet.

Check Out JR-East’s Official SUICA Webpage here:        



  • There are times when the SUICA doesn’t work although you still have load in it, but don’t worry! In this case just inform the station staffs of what is wrong and they can fix it in one swipe. 
  • The station staffs are equipped with iPad and other translation devices used to help foreigners so don’t be afraid to ask for help.

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