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Column / 2023.06.05

【Living in Japan】Prepaid IC cards for trains and buses

Do you know IC cards can be used on trains and buses? By charging them, you can ride trains and buses all over the country without buying a ticket every time. It is a useful card that also can be used at some convenience stores and restaurants.

1) How to make a prepaid IC card

The easiest way is to buy it from a 券売機(けんばいき)- ticket machine at a station in Japan.

Choose adult or child, then pick charge amount, and insert the money.

A deposit of 500 yen to 1,000 yen is required to make a card.

If you don't use it anymore, you can always get your deposit back by taking it to the ticket counter at the station.

2) How to use a prepaid IC card


Tap your prepaid IC card when you pass through the ticket gate.

The remaining balance on the card will be displayed on the machine at the ticket gate.

If you don't have enough balance, you can recharge it at the 「のりこし精算機(せいさんき)」- Fare adjustment machine near the ticket gate.

You can also recharge your card any time from the ticket machine.


Tap your prepaid IC card to the machine near the entrance or exit door.

There are 3 methods to tap the card depending on the bus company.

① Tap the card only at the entrance door.

② Tap the card only at the exit door.

③ Tap the card both at the entrance and exit door.

If you're not sure, please ask the driver.


Tell the cashier that you will pay with an IC card.

Check the information near the cash register to see if you can pay with an IC card.

3) Popular prepaid IC cards

Commonly used prepaid IC cards differ depending on the area. There are various types of IC cards, but all of them can be used nationwide. If you download an app for prepaid IC cards, you can use it more conveniently.

※You may not be able to use it in some areas.



This IC card is most commonly used in the Kanto area such as Tokyo.


This is another popular card similar to SUICA but from a different company.

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It is often used in the Kansai area such as Osaka. The card's name came from "Ikoka" which means "let's go" in Kansai dialect.



It is often used in the Chubu area such as Nagoya.

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What kind of prepaid IC card is used in your area?

Get this handy card and ride a train or bus without buying a ticket☆


Q : Where can you buy IC cards such as "ICOCA" or "SUICA"?

① City Hall 

② Restaurant 

③ Train Station






  The answer is?★






③Train Station

You can charge up to 20,000 yen at ticket machines in the station.

Also, please be careful as some ticket machines do not accept credit cards🚃

For those who often use trains and buses, we recommend the featured jobs with "Transportation Fee Covered!"

Please check it out.

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