Suica and Icoca are popular Integrated Circuit (IC) cards in Japan. They are especially chosen by tourists visiting Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto. They serve as a convenient method for paying fares on various modes of public transport, including buses and trains.
In addition to public transportation, these cards are also accepted in various other locations. This article will explore the top 10 destinations and services where you can use your IC card for payments.
It's important to note that these places welcome not just Suica and Icoca, but also a range of other IC cards like Pasmo, Toica, Sugoca, among others.
In Japan, nearly every local train and subway line welcomes IC card payments. This allows passengers to avoid the hassle of purchasing a physical ticket, as they can simply tap their IC card when entering and exiting stations.
One thing to note, though, for long-distance and limited express trains, passengers generally need to buy a special ticket. Therefore, I recommend you to check with a station attendant before boarding these types of trains.
The same thing applies to the Shinkansen high-speed trains. Most routes on this network require a physical ticket, and using an IC card often involves a separate registration process.
City buses throughout Japan also accept IC card payments, offering a more convenient alternative to cash payments. Using an IC card is not only simpler but often cheaper than paying with cash, as exact fare amounts can be deducted without the need to round up to the nearest coin denomination.
While Tokyo has only a single tram line, in smaller cities like Hiroshima, trams are a significant part of the public transport system. Experiencing this classic mode of transportation is a must when visiting Japan.
Just like city buses, trams accept both cash and IC card payments. The convenience of using an IC card is evident, as we don't have to have the correct cash amount ready for payment.
Japan is well-known for its vending machines, which are found everywhere and offer a wide variety of items. These machines have adapted to modern payment trends, and a significant number now accept IC cards for transactions.
This shift to IC card usage is a great solution, especially when carrying the exact cash amount is a challenge. It also avoids the hassle of dealing with a large amount of coin change.
In Japan, lockers are conveniently located, particularly at train stations, and are a great help for those who prefer not to carry their bags or other items while exploring tourist attractions.
While most of these lockers operate with coins, an increasing number are now accessible with IC cards. The advantage of IC card-operated lockers is they usually don't provide manual keys, thus removing the worry of losing them.
Convenience stores, known locally as 'konbini,' are a boon for tourists in Japan. Stores like 7-Eleven and FamilyMart offer a range of affordable and tasty food options. More and more of these stores are now accepting payments made with IC cards.
Besides facilitating payments, many convenience stores also provide the service of recharging IC card balances. This feature is particularly useful when you need to top up your card as it allows you to do so conveniently while picking up your shopping items.
Beyond convenience stores, a wide variety of retail outlets, from small boutiques to large supermarkets, are now accepting IC card payments. This trend extends to the dining sector, including restaurants and even small roadside food stands.
To check whether a particular shop or restaurant accepts IC card payments, simply look for the IC card logo. Its presence is a clear indication that IC card payments are welcome there.
In summary, these seven types of locations commonly accept IC card payments. With an IC card, the need to carry cash is greatly reduced, as all transactions can be done with a single tap.