You’ve probably heard about the Suica card. It’s a must-have rail card that makes traveling Japan by train super easy. But have you heard about the “Welcome Suica card” which was crated to help foreign tourists like you and me?
The Welcome Suica is the same same tap-and-go travel card and has the same functions as the standard Suica card, but there is no need to pay the 500 JYP deposit in advance. It is a practical card recommended for short-term visitors who want to travel around Japan for up to 28 days.
The “Welcome Suica” card is an e-money card, and has a noticeably different design from other Suica cards such as the “Standard Suica card” and the “My Suica card“. Its design is unique, so I even bought one as a souvenir. And just like its brothers, you can use a Welcome Suica card on most transportation rides like trains, taxis, buses, ferries, and subways as well as some restaurants and shopping stores.
Unlike other types of Suica cards, the Welcome Suica card doesn’t require a 500JYP card deposit. You can simply purchase a pre-loaded card at designated locations. Welcome Suica cards for adults and children are available in 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000, and 10000JYP, and you may always recharge later if you need more.
Other benefits of a Welcome Suica card include discount tickets (see here) like the Tokyo Metropolitan District Pass and Tokyo 1-day Ticket. You can purchase these discounted tickets at ticket machines or JR ticket offices using the Welcome Suica Card, but keep the reference ticket with you just in case JR staff ask you to show it.
There are 3 types of Welcome Suica card, and depending on your itinerary and length of stay, you can choose from Temporary Visitor’s (welcome suica), Extended Use (welcome suica), and With IC Special Pass (welcome suica). The “Temporary Visitor’s” is the standard type valid for 28 days. The “With IC Special Pass” is similar to the regular type but also includes a one-day discounted pass from one of these 3 choices. The Haneda-Tokyo 1-day Pass, the Narita-Tokyo 1-day Pass, and the Tokyo Metropolitan District Pass. And Lastly the “Extended Use Pass”. This Welcome Suica card has a longer validation. A period of up to 6 months!
If you’re a short term visitor traveling only within Tokyo Metropolitan area, the ‘With IC Special Pass’ is a good option, but you might want to consider the regular Welcome Suica card (Temporary Visitor’s) if you’re also traveling outside Tokyo. And if you visiting for more than 28 days, the Extended Use Pass might would be ideal for you (You may also want to check out My Suica card which comes with security if you plan to put a lot of money in it) .
You can buy the Welcome Suica card at designated locations like, major stations within Tokyo Metropolitan, JR East Service Centers at Haneda and Narita airport, Sendai station, and JR Rail Cafe. You can also buy the Welcome Suica card at machines in JR East stations located at Narita Airport Terminal 1, and Tokyo Haneda Airport T2 and T3.
Like other Suica cards, the Welcome Suica is a tap and go rail travel card. Simply place the card near a reader and your purchase will be automatically deducted from your card balance. You can recharge it at most JR East ticketing machines, service centers, or convenience stores with cash. It can be used at any mode of transportation, shops, convenience stores, or restaurants which has the Suica or the IC logo.
One important thing to know is that the Welcome Suica card is non-refundable. So you will need to spend all the money before the expiry date or you will loose the money inside (28 days for the regular Welcome Suica).
You can get a replacement/refund if the card is malfunctioning. However getting a refund or a replacement can take a few days .
The Welcome Suica card is an excellent option if you’re traveling to Japan for only a few days. With no deposit, it is cheaper than other Suica cards, and has a cute sakura design. As it can be a souvenir, I think it is worth buying, but remember to use all of the money inside before returning home!
Traveling to Japan? Check here for Summer festivals and events near Tokyo. It’s a great time to experience the unique culture filled with traditional performances, delicious food, and vibrant celebrations. You also cannot miss the amazing fireworks.
I hope you enjoyed reading about this hidden gem just north of Tokyo, if you would like to know more about fun things to do and travel ideas, please continue to have a look at our must-see / must do things nearby Tokyo page.
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Contributor: Venice Aka
Venice’s lives locally and has a passion to make travel videos so she can provide reliable information to travelers visiting Japan. After starting her youtube channel, she’s been continuously sharing about travel, local events, and everyday life in Japan.
youtube: Venice Aka