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Old Jan 24, 09, 5:34 pm   #1
 
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Question Suica in Kansai?

Hi everyone.

One month away from leaving on my first trip to Japan.

Doing heaps of research and I'm getting conflicting info on whether or not I'd be able to use a Tokyo-bought Suica card in Kansai (Osaka, Kyoto and Nara) for transport purposes (subways and buses - JR trains would be covered by a rail pass).

Can anyone here confirm either way what the current situation is?

Thanks.
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Old Jan 24, 09, 7:02 pm   #2
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I am in Osaka right now just off to Nara for the day. The train system here is mega confusing with far too much choice. If you get in touch with the tourist information office in town they will give you a different story to those at the airport. Then the hotel will give you another option. If you can find someone who actually lives here then you are likely to get the real answer. We have bought a Kansaii rainbow pass and you can choose how much to spend on it, we put 5000 yen on each one and it seems to cover us for Kyoto, Nara, Kobe etc
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Old Jan 24, 09, 7:24 pm   #3
 
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Bizclassboy is right. There is a counterpart to the Suica card for the Kansai area. Its generic name is Surutto Kansai, but it is sold under different names in different cities. As I recall, it's called the Miyako Card in Kyoto.

Unlike the Suica card, it's not valid on JR trains, but it can be used on almost every other train in the area.
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Old Jan 24, 09, 7:48 pm   #4
 
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Originally Posted by ksandness View Post
Bizclassboy is right. There is a counterpart to the Suica card for the Kansai area. Its generic name is Surutto Kansai, but it is sold under different names in different cities. As I recall, it's called the Miyako Card in Kyoto.

Unlike the Suica card, it's not valid on JR trains, but it can be used on almost every other train in the area.
SUICA currently works on JR West lines, but not buses and subways. So, if you're using the 7 day JR Pass to ride JR lines, there's no reason to take your SUICA to Kansai. If you're not coming back to Tokyo, you'd better take the SUICA to a JR East counter (while you're still in the Tokyo area) and ask them to refund the deposit. (Deposit will be refunded in full, but there's a 210 yen charge to refund any remaining credit that may be on the card).

JR West issues an equivalent card to SUICA. The name of the card is ICOCA. As with SUICA, you can put money on the ICOCA card and use it to ride JR trains, subways, buses etc. in the Kansai region. (JR West has signed agreements with the subway companies and bus companies so that they can accept each others cards. I guess that JR East might eventually achieve the same thing for SUICA, but it hasn't happened yet). ICOCA will also allow you to ride JR East trains, but it won't work on Tokyo subways and buses.

You will also see a card called PiTaPa -- which is issued by subway companies. It will do pretty much the same as ICOCA in the Kansai region. (But I don't think it will work in Tokyo at all).

AFAIK, the Kansai Surutto Pass is a different kettle of fish. I'ts a "free pass", which is valid for two or three days. (Unlimited number of rides - but limited to certain lines).

The number of private railway and bus companies in the Kansai region can make things seem confusing to a first time visitor. However, AFAIK, you can ride almost any train, subway or bus in the region with an ICOCA card. I quite like having "far too much choice" in Kansai transportation. It's never hurt me yet.
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Old Jan 24, 09, 8:09 pm   #5
 
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I found a nice little chart describing all of this here:
http://www.japanrail.com/JR_icsmartcards.html

BillJ
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Old Jan 24, 09, 9:11 pm   #6
 
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Originally Posted by wcj1 View Post
I found a nice little chart describing all of this here:
http://www.japanrail.com/JR_icsmartcards.html

BillJ

Strange that the chart doesn't mention Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe.
(They should be called out in the same row as Hiroshima, Okayama, Shizuoka on the chart)
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Old Jan 24, 09, 9:16 pm   #7
 
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Surutto Kansai Clarification.

Here is a clarification on Surutto Kansai as there is some confusion I'm reading here.

Surutto Kansai comes in various version. One is a PASS version as mentioned, and one is a Pre-Paid version also mentioned, so both posters are right.

Both work on most private railways, subways, and buses in the area, of course with the exception of JR.

Also Surutto Kansai isn't a IC card like Suica, but a old prepaid style card, similar to the older PASSNET system phased out, (but can still be used if you have one) in the Tokyo Region.

Surutto kansai isn't bad and will cover most of your non JR rides in the area. As mentioned it comes in various different names, such as the Miyako Card in Kyoto (its very funny because I found an old one with charge on it, just this morning before I got to this thread).

Many systems in the Kansai region are like how it was in the Tokyo region before PASMO, they are changing out of Surutto Kansai in place for prepaid system PiTaPa, however, PiTaPa is a post pay system vs. prepaid system, so pretty much impossible for someone who isn't living in Japan with a bank account to get. The good thing is, the JR variant ICOCA, will work on various PiTaPa system. But if you already have a JR pass to ride JR trains, then just getting a Surutto Kansai (pass) or prepaid card (sold at all non JR train vending machines) is your best bet.

--------
LIST OF IC CARDS IN JAPAN AND CAPABILITY
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FeliCa#...vices_in_Japan
Of course what is missing is the Surutto Kansai Card I mentioned, because it is not a IC card.

For the area, a JR Pass and a Surutto Kansai (pass or prepaid) would do you just fine.
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Old Jan 25, 09, 2:44 am   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jib71 View Post
Strange that the chart doesn't mention Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe.
It does, except that it is above the chart, in the very first bulleted list on the page.

Actually, now that I read it again, I see a typo in the chart. In the chart in blue, it says "Hiroshima-Okayama, Shizuoka", but it should say "Kansai, Hiroshima-Okayama", I think.

BillJ
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Old Jan 25, 09, 4:56 am   #9
 
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Originally Posted by railroadtycoon View Post
Also Surutto Kansai isn't a IC card like Suica, but a old prepaid style card, similar to the older PASSNET system phased out, (but can still be used if you have one) in the Tokyo Region.
Actually, most systems no longer accept PASSNET, although you can get a full refund (!) of existing PASSNET cards from station attendants at most stations, and via machines at some stations (Tokyu lines for example have a PASSNET conversion option on many automated ticket machines). Your only options in Tokyo now are a ticket or an IC card for the most part.
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Old Jan 25, 09, 6:17 am   #10
 
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To clarify, the vending machines still accept them for purchases, though the actual ticketing machines don't at last on the ones I tested them on (see below).

When I said "can still be used" I meant to add that. It shouldn't matter as most people don't have one anymore, and I sure miss it because each card had a special design for its railway. Pasmo and Suica are plain cards (minus the special edition ones you can find). But, I was surprised because last month I found a old PASSNET card with some money on it. So for the heck of it, I went to a Keio Station, and it worked in the vending machine, I also used it at Tokyo Metro and Toei machines without problems (to purchase tickets using the remaining value). Those are some pretty major networks, so I would assume, other networks machines are still able to take them to at least purchase regular tickets with the remaining funds, though YMMV, but again not many people have them anymore unless you happen to visit Tokyo Disney Land and have one from the trip.

The Tokyo Disney Monorail still sales and accepts PASSNET cards.
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Old Jan 26, 09, 5:37 pm   #11
 
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Depends on how many days and where you might want to go, you might check out the Kansai West pass (on JR). I recall they come in 2 day and 4 day versions, covering a vast area such as Himeji, Nara, Kyoto, Osaka etc...
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Old Sep 25, 11, 3:30 pm   #12
 
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I understand that a SUICA card can be used in the Kansai region. My next trip to Japan arrives at KIX. Is there a place at the airport where I can recharge my SUICA card, perhaps at ICOCA machines, or will I have to wait until I'm back in the Tokyo region?
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Old Sep 25, 11, 4:05 pm   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigsaabowski View Post
I understand that a SUICA card can be used in the Kansai region. My next trip to Japan arrives at KIX. Is there a place at the airport where I can recharge my SUICA card, perhaps at ICOCA machines, or will I have to wait until I'm back in the Tokyo region?
Yes.
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Old Sep 25, 11, 4:23 pm   #14
 
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Originally Posted by bigsaabowski View Post
I understand that a SUICA card can be used in the Kansai region.
In a limited way - as outlined in Post #6 and the wikipedia link in that post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigsaabowski View Post
My next trip to Japan arrives at KIX. Is there a place at the airport where I can recharge my SUICA card, perhaps at ICOCA machines, or will I have to wait until I'm back in the Tokyo region?
I don't think you can charge Suica at ICOCA machines. But I believe that the convenience stores that allow you to use Suica will also allow you to charge your card. There's a Lawson at KIX, for example, that should be able to do that (I think). However, if you're going to spend time in Kansai, Suica isn't really that useful - unless you're sure to ride JR West only. Better to get a Kyoto bus pass if you're just pootling about in Kyoto, or an ICOCA if you need a pass that works on all the modes of transport.
If you're taking the Haruka, you may wish to buy a one day kansai area pass (2000 yen).
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Last edited by jib71; Sep 26, 11 at 8:07 am.
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Old Sep 26, 11, 7:39 am   #15
 
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Originally Posted by jib71 View Post
I don't think you can charge Suica at ICOCA machines.
Actually this works just fine - ICOCA can charge Suica and v/v... but as you note, Suica doesn't work on most of the useful systems in Kansai (Osaka subway, Nankai line, etc.) until the Grand Unification in 2013 of most of the remaining IC systems.

Personally, I'm happy that basically my Suica works anywhere but Kansai and Nagoya private lines at this point... I've used my Suica for a bus in Fukuoka and a train in Sapporo already this year.
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