Travel Tips

How to use the Pasmo or Suica cards

All of Japan is connected mainly by trains and when staying in a big city like Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, etc., it will be necessary to use the trains or meters within the city.
Normally when traveling by train or metro it is necessary to buy the respective ticket to use the service. Nowadays in Japan there are some cards that, after acquiring them, save the process of buying a ticket each time the service is used in exchange for simply recharging them with enough money to make several trips and when the balance is finished you just have to return to load and continue using indefinitely. These cards are called "IC Card" and come mainly in two presentations called "Suica" and "Pasmo".
The Suica card is issued by JR East for the Tokyo metropolitan region, for Niigata and for Sendai. Suica can be used not only on the JR East lines in the Tokyo metropolitan area, but also on the subway, buses and Tokyo monorail, which runs between Haneda airport and Tokyo. "Suica" is an acronym for "Super Urban Intelligent Card" and the green color of the card is related to suika which means "watermelon" in Japanese.
Pasmo is also an IC card of the metropolitan region of Tokyo, but is issued by railway, subway and bus operators that are not JR. The functions and characteristics of Pasmo are almost identical to those of Suica, and today Pasmo can be addressed at any station where Suica is used. Pasmo is identified by his cute retro-looking pink robot. The Pasmo robot has big black eyes, clamps for the hands and feet with wheels.
To acquire any of this card you must go to any metro or train station and look for the machines that sell the tickets, when you see the screen you can change the language on a button at the top and choose Spanish or English. Then press the PASMO or SUICA button and give the option to generate a new card. This new card can be personalized with the user's name and phone, so if the card is lost it is easy to locate its owner and if you want to stop using the service you need to show some type of identification to the person in charge of the station to perform the process. If you do not want to personalize this option is also to generate a blank, anonymous card. To acquire an IC card you need a deposit of 500 yen, so for example if you choose to recharge 2000 yen you subtracted the 500 yen from the deposit and the final balance will be 1500 yen. After generating the IC card you can travel on the metro or train lines by simply pressing the IC card lightly in a space indicated on the entrance to the train, when entering and leaving. In the exit, the cost of the passage of the route used will be subtracted.
At the end of the balance, at the time of departure the doors will be closed automatically, so you must go to the ticket vending machine, insert the card, touch the reload option, select the amount and insert the money. It should be noted that the IC cards can not only be used in transportation, but can also be used in vending machines for food or drink, in convenience stores and in all stores that have the symbol IC in their payment methods. Acquiring an IC card makes transfers within the city easier and faster, it also works as an electronic purse and it is easier to carry the money in this way than in physical form. When you no longer need to use the service, you must take the card to the station attendant, fill out a form with the user's information and then the 500 yen of the deposit and any additional money that was inside the card will be returned.
If you are staying in Japan for a while, it is advisable to purchase an IC card.