Suica is a rechargeable contact-less smart card used as a fare card on train lines in Japan. Launched in 2001,
the card is usable currently in almost all area of Japan. The card is also increasingly being accepted as a form
of electronic money for purchases at stores and kiosks, especially within train stations. Far over 30 million
Suica cards are in circulation.
The card incorporates contact-less radio-frequency identification technology developed by Sony, called FeliCa.
The same technology is also deployed in the Edy electronic cash cards used in Japan and the Octopus card
in Hong Kong. These cards are available at card vending machines at the train stations that allow Suica.
A new card costs 2,000 yen, which includes a 500 yen deposit that will be refunded if the card is returned.
The remaining 1,500 yen is immediately available for train rides, and more money can be charged on to the card
in 1,000 yen, 2,000 yen, 3,000 yen, 4,000 yen, 5,000 yen, and 10,000 yen increments at similar ticket vending
or fare-adjustment machines displaying the Suica logo inside each station.
Domestic travel in Japan
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This information was provided by the Smokefree Hotel and Travel.
The article was written in September 2009, by Junhaku Miyamoto, M.D., Ph.D.
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