Andrea Urbinati

Pasmo vs Suica – Which Metro Cards is better?

Di Andrea Urbinati

blogger, andrea urbinati, marketing, copywriting, seo

Pasmo and Suica cards are two types of Tokyo IC cards that offer a convenient and efficient way to navigate the city’s trains and buses. These smart cards not only save you time and money but also spare you the hassle of dealing with paper tickets. Whether you’re a local or a tourist, having a Pasmo or Suica card in your pocket can make your travel experience in Tokyo and beyond much smoother. In this blog post, we will explore the differences between Pasmo and Suica, their advantages, and how to get the most out of these handy cards. Get ready to say goodbye to ticket queues and hello to seamless transportation!

Pasmo-vs-Suica, with city view in backround

Understanding Suica and Pasmo Cards

What are Suica and Pasmo Cards?

Traveling around Tokyo, and the rest of Japan, can be made easier and more convenient by using reloadable IC cards such as Suica and Pasmo. These smart cards provide seamless access to trains and buses, eliminating the need for paper tickets and saving you time and hassle. While Suica and Pasmo are the two main types of IC cards available in Tokyo, they can also be used in various other locations throughout Japan.

Origin of Suica and Pasmo Cards

Suica and Pasmo cards were introduced to simplify the commuting experience and streamline the ticketing process. Suica, which stands for Super Urban Intelligent Card, was launched by East Japan Railway Company (JR East) in 2001. Pasmo, on the other hand, was introduced by Pasmo Co., Ltd. in 2007 as a joint effort by various railways and transportation companies. Despite being offered by different companies, Suica and Pasmo cards function in a similar way, allowing users to easily pay for fares and make purchases at affiliated shops and vending machines.

Using Suica and Pasmo cards not only saves you time but also offers several advantages:

  • Time-saver: With Suica and Pasmo, you can bypass long queues at ticket machines and swiftly enter trains and buses, especially during busy rush hours. You can easily tap your card at the designated card readers and proceed to your destination without the hassle of purchasing paper tickets.
  • Money-saver: Suica and Pasmo cards provide discounts on fares, saving you money on each journey. These discounts may range from ¥1 to around ¥10 per trip, depending on the route. Over time, these savings can add up, making your daily commute more affordable. Additionally, by using IC cards, you avoid the risk of accidentally purchasing wrong tickets and losing money.
  • Flexibility: Suica and Pasmo cards offer flexibility in terms of usage. Unlike traditional tickets, which require you to specify your destination, IC cards allow you to simply tap in and tap out at the start and end of your journey. This means you can make transfers between different train lines and even use them on buses without the need to purchase separate tickets.

By utilizing Suica and Pasmo cards, you can navigate Tokyo’s transportation system more efficiently and enjoy a smoother travel experience. These cards are not only convenient for locals but also for tourists visiting Japan, as they provide a hassle-free way to commute and explore the city.

For more detailed information about Suica and Pasmo cards, you can visit the official Suica website and the official Pasmo website.


Advantages of Using Suica and Pasmo Cards

Using Suica and Pasmo cards for your travel in Tokyo and other parts of Japan can offer numerous advantages. These reloadable IC cards not only save you time and money but also provide flexibility during your journeys. Let’s delve into the benefits of using these cards:

Suica and Pasmo as a Time-saver

When you have a Suica or Pasmo card, you can save valuable time during your travels. Instead of purchasing tickets each time you board a train or bus, you can simply tap your card on the designated card reader and quickly pass through the ticket gates. This eliminates the need to stand in long queues, particularly during busy rush hours. By avoiding the hassle of buying new tickets for every journey, you can ensure a smooth and efficient travel experience.

Suica and Pasmo as a Money-saver

One of the major advantages of using Suica and Pasmo cards is that they offer financial benefits. These cards provide a marginal discount on every journey, which can range from ¥1 to around ¥10 depending on your route. Although the savings per trip may seem small, they accumulate over time and can result in significant cost reduction for frequent travelers. Additionally, using these cards eliminates the risk of accidentally purchasing the wrong tickets, ensuring that you don’t lose money unnecessarily.

Flexibility of Suica and Pasmo Cards

Suica and Pasmo cards offer a high degree of flexibility compared to traditional paper tickets. With these reloadable cards, you don’t need to specify your destination when boarding a train or bus. This allows you to make impromptu changes to your travel plans without the hassle of purchasing new tickets. Whether you decide to explore a new neighborhood or make an unexpected detour, your Suica or Pasmo card will adapt to your journey seamlessly.

By utilizing the convenience of Suica and Pasmo cards, you can save time, money, and travel with greater flexibility. So next time you’re planning your adventures in Tokyo or other parts of Japan, consider getting yourself a Suica or Pasmo card to enhance your travel experience.

Remember, using these cards not only simplifies your journeys but also allows you to explore Japan with ease and convenience.


Comparing Suica and Pasmo Cards

If you’re planning a trip to Japan, chances are you’ll be relying on the country’s efficient and convenient public transportation system. One of the best ways to navigate the bustling cities like Tokyo is by using an IC card. Two widely popular IC cards in Japan are Suica and Pasmo. In this section, we’ll explore the key differences and similarities between these two cards.

Key Differences between Suica and Pasmo

  1. Issuing Companies: Suica is issued by East Japan Railway Company (JR East), while Pasmo is issued by a consortium of non-JR rail companies, including the Tokyo Metro and private railways. This distinction means that Suica is more widely accepted throughout Japan, especially in major cities like Tokyo, whereas Pasmo may have limitations outside of Tokyo.
  2. Availability: While both Suica and Pasmo cards can be purchased at major train stations and various vending machines in Japan, Suica cards are also available for purchase at select locations outside of Japan. This makes it more convenient for travelers who want to have their card ready before arriving in Japan.
  3. Refunding Process: Another notable difference is the refunding process. Should you need to obtain a refund for your remaining balance, Suica allows for refunds at JR East stations nationwide, including the airports. Pasmo, on the other hand, requires you to visit a Pasmo service center or a specific location, which can be less convenient for travelers.
  4. Design and Branding: While this may not impact the functionality, it’s worth mentioning that Suica and Pasmo cards have different designs and branding. Suica cards often feature blue and white colors with the iconic Suica penguin mascot, while Pasmo cards typically have a green and white design with a stylized logo.

Similarities between Suica and Pasmo

  1. Compatibility: Both Suica and Pasmo cards are interchangeable on most train lines, buses, and even certain vending machines within the same region. This means you can use either card to tap in and out of transportation services seamlessly.
  2. Prepaid Functionality: Both cards operate on a prepaid system, where users can easily load money onto their card and use it for payments. This eliminates the need to carry loose change or buy individual tickets for every journey, providing a more convenient and time-saving experience.
  3. Additional Uses: Suica and Pasmo cards can be used for more than just transportation. They can also be used for shopping at select stores, vending machines, and even for making small payments at convenience stores and restaurants. This versatility makes them highly practical for daily life in Japan.

In conclusion, Suica and Pasmo cards offer similar functionalities and convenience for traveling in Japan. However, their differences in availability, refunding process, and branding may influence your choice when deciding which one to use. Ultimately, both cards will provide you with a seamless and hassle-free experience as you navigate Japan’s bustling cities and explore its attractions.


Detailed Insight into Suica Cards

How to Purchase and Use a Suica Card

If you’re planning a trip to Japan, one thing you definitely shouldn’t miss is getting your hands on a Suica card. These nifty little cards are a must-have for navigating the country’s extensive public transportation system hassle-free. So, let me guide you through the process of purchasing and using a Suica card like a pro.

To purchase a Suica card, simply head to any JR East station or major transportation hubs, such as airports or tourist centers. Look for the designated ticket machines or Suica card kiosks, which are usually easy to spot. The machines have an English language option, so don’t worry about any language barriers.

Once you’ve located the machine, follow these simple steps:

  1. Select “Suica Card” from the menu.
  2. Choose the desired amount to load onto your card. You can start with as little as 1,000 yen, and it’s always a good idea to have some extra balance for your travels.
  3. Insert your payment (cash or credit card), and voila! Your Suica card will be issued instantly.

Now that you have your Suica card, it’s time to put it to good use. Using the Suica card is as easy as pie ─ simply tap and go! Here’s how you do it:

  1. Approach any ticket gate with the Suica logo.
  2. Hold your Suica card over the card reader.
  3. Wait for the sound and green light to indicate successful validation.
  4. Pass through the ticket gate and enjoy your journey!

Remember, the Suica card works not only for trains but also for buses, trams, and even some vending machines and convenience stores. It’s a versatile little card that will make your life a whole lot easier while exploring Japan.

Where to Use Suica Cards

Now that you know how to use your Suica card, let’s talk about where you can use it. Suica cards are widely accepted in various regions of Japan, particularly in the Greater Tokyo Area. Here are some key places where you can put your Suica card to good use:

  1. Trains and Subways: Suica cards are accepted on JR trains, Tokyo Metro, Toei Subway, and other major railway lines across the country. You can seamlessly travel between different train networks without the hassle of purchasing separate tickets.
  2. Buses: Many bus companies, including local and express buses, accept Suica cards as a convenient payment method. Just tap your card when boarding and disembarking, making your bus journeys a breeze.
  3. Convenience Stores and Vending Machines: Suica cards go beyond transportation. You can use your card to make purchases at various convenience stores, such as 7-Eleven and FamilyMart, as well as vending machines scattered throughout Japan. It’s quick, easy, and eliminates the need for carrying loose change.
  4. Selected Theme Parks and Attractions: Some popular theme parks, such as Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo DisneySea, and Universal Studios Japan, accept Suica cards for ticket purchases and payments within the park. This means you can enjoy a day of thrills without worrying about carrying cash.

So, whether you’re exploring the bustling city streets, venturing into the scenic countryside, or indulging in some retail therapy, your Suica card has got you covered. It’s your ticket to seamless and convenient travel across Japan.

Remember, the Suica card isn’t just a shiny piece of plastic ─ it’s your gateway to unlocking the wonders of Japan’s transportation system. So, grab your Suica card and embark on your Japanese adventure with ease and confidence!

Note: For more information on Suica cards, you can visit the official JR East website.


Detailed Insight into Pasmo Cards

If you’re a frequent traveler in Japan or planning a visit, you’ve probably come across the terms “Pasmo” and “Suica.” In this section, we’ll dive into the world of Pasmo cards, providing you with a detailed insight into their benefits, how to purchase and use them, and where you can use them.

How to Purchase and Use a Pasmo Card

Obtaining a Pasmo card is a breeze. You have several options available, including automated vending machines at train stations and specific convenience stores. Just look for the Pasmo logo, and you’ll be able to purchase a card hassle-free.

Once you have your shiny new Pasmo card, you’ll need to charge it with credit to pay for your fares. You can easily recharge your card at any train station or through designated ticket machines. Simply follow the instructions, choose your desired amount, and make the payment. It’s as easy as topping up your favorite mobile app!

To use your Pasmo card, simply tap it on the card reader located at the ticket gates when entering and exiting train stations. The fare will be automatically deducted from your card balance. No need to fumble for cash or worry about purchasing separate tickets for each journey. With a Pasmo card in hand, you’ll be enjoying a seamless and convenient travel experience in no time.

Where to Use Pasmo Cards

One of the most significant advantages of using a Pasmo card is its widespread acceptance across various modes of transportation and other facilities. Here are just a few of the places where you can use your Pasmo card:

  • Trains: Pasmo cards are accepted on JR lines, Tokyo Metro, buses, and other private railway lines. Whether you’re exploring the bustling Tokyo metropolis or venturing out to the surrounding areas, your Pasmo card will have you covered.
  • Buses: Hop on a bus and tap your Pasmo card to pay for your fare effortlessly. No need to worry about having exact change or purchasing a separate ticket. Just tap and go!
  • Vending machines: Feeling thirsty or need a quick snack? Many vending machines in Japan accept Pasmo cards as a form of payment. Quench your thirst and satisfy your cravings with the convenience of your Pasmo card.
  • Convenience stores: Planning to stock up on some snacks or essentials? Major convenience store chains such as 7-Eleven and FamilyMart accept Pasmo as a payment method. It’s a quick and convenient way to make your purchases without the need for cash or credit cards.

With its wide acceptance and versatility, the Pasmo card truly simplifies your travel and payment experiences in Japan. It’s no wonder that locals and tourists alike swear by this handy little card.

Remember, staying on top of your Pasmo card balance is essential to ensure uninterrupted travel. Be sure to recharge it when needed, and you’ll be ready to explore Japan with ease.

Now that we’ve covered the ins and outs of Pasmo cards, let’s move on to our next section where we’ll explore everything you need to know about Suica cards. Stay tuned!


Suica and Pasmo Cards Outside Tokyo

Using Suica and Pasmo in Kyoto

When it comes to using your Suica and Pasmo cards outside of Tokyo, you’ll be pleased to know that these convenient IC cards can be used in other cities as well. One of the popular destinations where you can use your Suica and Pasmo cards is Kyoto. Known for its rich cultural heritage and stunning temples, Kyoto attracts millions of tourists every year.

With your Suica or Pasmo card in hand, you can seamlessly navigate the city’s transportation system, including buses, trains, and subways. Whether you’re visiting iconic attractions like Kinkaku-ji (the Golden Pavilion) or exploring the charming streets of Gion, having a Suica or Pasmo card will save you from the hassle of buying individual tickets and fumbling for change.

Other Cities Where Suica and Pasmo Work

In addition to Kyoto, Suica and Pasmo cards can be used in several other cities across Japan. This makes them incredibly convenient for travelers who plan to explore different regions of the country. From bustling metropolises like Osaka and Nagoya to historic cities like Hiroshima and Nara, Suica and Pasmo cards provide a seamless transportation experience.

By using your Suica or Pasmo card, you can hop on and off trains, buses, and even some taxis, without the need to purchase separate tickets for each leg of your journey. This not only saves you time but also allows for greater flexibility in your travel plans. Plus, the slight discounts offered by these cards on each trip can add up, helping you save some extra yen along the way.

When venturing outside of Tokyo, be sure to check the local transportation websites or ask at the information desks for specific details on where and how you can use your Suica or Pasmo card in each city. This will ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience as you explore the wonders of Japan beyond the capital.


Refunds on Suica and Pasmo Cards

When it comes to traveling in Japan, having an e-money card like Suica or Pasmo can make your life a whole lot easier. These IC cards allow you to quickly pass through train station gates and make small purchases during your trip. But what about when it’s time to go home? Well, luckily, you can get a refund on your card balance. Let me walk you through how to get a refund on a Pasmo and Suica card.

How to Get a Refund on a Pasmo Card

If you have a Pasmo card, you’re in luck! Pasmo cards don’t have any commission fees charged on refund, so you’ll receive your remaining balance along with the 500 yen deposit charge in full. That means you’ll get back every last yen on your card. But keep in mind that each card is specific to its respective operators. So, if you purchased a Pasmo card from Tokyo Metro or any of the private lines in the Tokyo area (like Tokyu, Toei, Keisei, Keikyu), you’ll need to visit their offices to get your refund.

How to Get a Refund on a Suica Card

The process for getting a refund on a Suica card is slightly different. When you purchased your Suica card, you paid a 500 yen deposit, which was included in the total price. So, if you have some remaining balance on your card, you’ll receive that amount minus a 220 yen fee, along with your 500 yen deposit. For example, if your remaining balance is 1,000 yen, your refund amount would be 780 yen (minus the fee) plus the 500 yen deposit, bringing the total refund to 1,280 yen.

To get a refund for your Suica card, you can visit JR East offices in the Tokyo area. These offices are usually located in major stations and are the same places where you can redeem your Japan Rail Pass. Alternatively, you can also find smaller JR offices at every station along the JR line. However, if you purchased your Suica card from a non-JR line, like the Tokyo Monorail when coming from Haneda Airport, you’ll need to go to that specific line’s office to get a refund. It’s important to note that Suica cards cannot be refunded at Haneda Airport itself, as it’s not on a JR line.

Remember, if you purchased your Suica card using Apple Pay, you’ll need to complete the withdrawal procedure through the app to get your refund. Just make sure you have a bank account in Japan, as refunds for Suica cards purchased using Apple Pay on an iPhone are only possible if you have a local bank account.

Getting a refund on your Pasmo or Suica card is a straightforward process, but it’s important to keep the specific rules and locations in mind. By following the steps mentioned above, you’ll be able to get your balance refunded and wrap up your trip to Japan on a positive note.


Additional Tips for Using Suica and Pasmo Cards

Using Suica and Pasmo cards in Japan can make your travel experience more convenient and efficient. In this section, we will explore some additional tips that can enhance your usage of these IC cards. We will discuss converting foreign coins into IC card cash and troubleshooting common issues.

Converting Foreign Coins into IC Card Cash

When traveling to Japan, you may find yourself with leftover foreign coins that cannot be easily exchanged. Fortunately, some vending machines in Japan accept these coins and allow you to convert them into IC card cash.

One popular option is the “Coin to Card” machine, which can be found in various locations such as train stations and shopping centers. These machines enable you to insert your foreign coins and receive the equivalent value in IC card cash. This way, you can conveniently add credit to your Suica or Pasmo card and use it for transportation or purchases.

Keep in mind that not all vending machines have this feature, so it’s advisable to look for machines specifically labeled as “Coin to Card” or inquire at information desks for the nearest location.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Using technology like Suica and Pasmo cards can sometimes come with minor hiccups. Here are some common issues you may encounter and how to troubleshoot them:

  1. Card Reader Errors: If your Suica or Pasmo card is not being recognized by a reader, try gently cleaning the card’s surface with a soft, lint-free cloth. Dust or debris on the card may interfere with the card reader’s ability to read the card. Additionally, ensure that you hold the card firmly against the reader and maintain contact until the transaction is complete.
  2. Insufficient Balance: If your card shows an “Insufficient Balance” message when trying to use it, it means that the remaining credit on your card is not enough for the fare or purchase. To resolve this issue, recharge your Suica or Pasmo card at any of the available recharging machines or ticket booths in train stations. You can easily add funds to your card using cash or a credit card.
  3. Lost or Stolen Card: In the unfortunate event that your Suica or Pasmo card is lost or stolen, it’s essential to report it as soon as possible. Contact the respective customer service hotline for Suica or Pasmo to inform them of the situation. They will be able to assist you in blocking the lost card and transferring the remaining balance to a new card.
  4. Expired Card: Suica and Pasmo cards have an expiration date, which is typically around 10 years from the date of issuance. If your card has expired, you will need to replace it. Visit the nearest ticket office or designated kiosk to get a new card. Make sure to transfer any remaining balance from your expired card to the new one using the provided transfer service.

Remember, these troubleshooting tips are meant to address common issues, but if you encounter any unique or persistent problems, it’s best to reach out to the customer service team of the respective IC card provider for further assistance.

Now that you have learned these additional tips on using Suica and Pasmo cards, you can make the most out of your travel experience in Japan. Enjoy the convenience and efficiency that these IC cards bring to your journeys!

Please note that the availability and functionality of “Coin to Card” machines may vary. Please inquire locally or visit the official websites of Suica and Pasmo for the most accurate and up-to-date information.




In conclusion, both Pasmo and Suica cards offer a convenient and efficient way to navigate the Tokyo train and bus system, as well as other parts of Japan. These IC cards save you time by eliminating the need to purchase individual tickets for each journey and provide a hassle-free experience during peak hours. Additionally, they offer cost savings with small discounts on fares and the flexibility to use them across various transportation networks. Whether you choose Pasmo or Suica, you can enjoy the benefits of seamless travel and avoid the frustration of lost tickets. So, be sure to get your IC card and make your journeys in Japan more enjoyable and stress-free.

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About the author
blogger, andrea urbinati, marketing, copywriting, seo

Hi! I’m Andrea, a passionate freelance writer with a knack for captivating storytelling.

With a decade of marketing expertise and a genuine love for crafting compelling content, I bring your ideas to life!

Let me know if you need a writer for your blog!

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