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Fully Utilize IC Chip Travel Cards!

Tatiana is enjoying university life as an exchange student in Japan. At the cafeteria, she strikes up a conversation with Hisaaki, a colleague in the same circle of friends.

Tatiana

Hisaaki-san, have you settled your summer vacation plans?

Hisaaki

Yes, I'm returning to Kyushu to my family home in Fukuoka. What about you? Aren't you going to return to Russia? Surely you want to see family and friends?

Tatiana

I would like to see them, but I won't be returning home. Indeed, there are lots of places in Japan that I want to go and see! This summer, I plan to travel around the Kansai Region. Kyoto, Osaka, and Kobe as well!

Hisaaki

You seem to be somebody bitten by the travel bug. Didn't you go to Nagoya last year during the summer vacation?

Tatiana

That's right; I ate lots of delicious food, and had a really great time. However, there was one thing unexpected that threw me off. I couldn't use my normal Tokyo Suica Card on the transport system in Nagoya. My friend couldn't use their PASMO Card either. I must say it was a rather difficult experience to be somewhere unaccustomed and have to buy tickets while looking at fare tables. On my planned trip around Kansai, I'm not looking forward to reliving that experience.

Hisaaki

My dear Tatiana, don't worry! From March 23rd of this year, new services commenced whereby IC chip travel cards can now be used across Japan.

Tatiana

Does this mean that Suica and PASMO can now be used in other regions as well?

Hisaaki

Yes, this service applies to JR Hokkaido's "Kitaca," JR East's "Suica," JR Tokai's "TOICA," JR West's "ICOCA," and JR Kyushu's "SUGOCA." It also applies to "PASMO" which is used on private rail lines in the metro area, etc., along with "manaca" for Meitetsu, etc., in Nagoya, "PiTaPa" for private rail lines in the Kansai Region, etc., "Hayakaken" from the Fukuoka City Transportation Bureau, and "nimoca" from Nishitestu. If you have any one of these 10 different IC chip travel cards, it can be used in the areas covered by all the different cards.

Tatiana was very happy to hear that Suica and PASMO can now be used nationwide.

Tatiana

So traveling during my vacation will become a lot easier!

Hisaaki

Yes. Of course you can use your card on railways and buses, and you will also be able to use it in shops and convenience stores. Until now, I have had separate IC travel cards for Tokyo and Fukuoka. However, in the future it will be more convenient for me to simply carry one. Then again, the cards cannot be used on bullet trains or in a manner that crosses coverage boundaries.

Tatiana

What do you mean, "crosses coverage boundaries"?

Hisaaki

For example, imagine you got a train at Tokyo Station using your Suica and attempted to get off at Nagoya Station. If you tried to so, you couldn't use the same Suica to pass through the ticket gates at Nagoya Station. This is because JR East's Suica would cross a coverage boundary into the area of JR Tokai's TOICA.

Tatiana

I see. I understand! So you can use your card in the different coverage areas but not across the coverage boundaries between areas.

Hisaaki

Also, although you can charge IC cards using automatic ticket vending machines, etc., in any of the areas, you cannot use the auto-charge function in areas other than that in which the card was issued. You also need to be aware that there are some bus services, etc., that haven't introduced IC cards to begin with.

Tatiana

I see. So there are still things that you have to be conscious of. That being said, however, I am very happy that things have become more convenient. This will make my trip to the Kansai Region just that much more enjoyable!

• The Suica Can Be Used On Other Smart Card Transportation Systems, Too!
http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/pass/suica.html#category03
• PASMO Can Be Used Throughout Japan.
http://www.pasmo.co.jp/en/pdf/Pasmo_ZenkokuOK_E.pdf