JR East is releasing a mobile Suica for tourists in Spring 2025

You can soon obtain and preload a Welcome Suica app on your mobile phone before arriving in Tokyo

Written by
Shota Nagao
Editorial Assistant, Time Out Tokyo
Mobile Suica App
Photo: Transversospinales/DreamstimeThis existing mobile Suica is only available in Japanese

When visiting Tokyo, having an IC transport card such as Suica or Pasmo is the most convenient way to get around. These reloadable transit cards can be used for commuting around the city as well as making payments at convenience stores, selected restaurants and attractions. 

However, due to global chip shortage, getting a hold of these all-purpose cards has been a challenge for some time now, as JR East (which operates Suica) and Pasmo Co are forced to stop selling their cards at most railway and metro stations.

Thankfully there’s good news. From Spring 2025, JR East will launch the Welcome Suica Mobile app, which allows travellers from abroad to obtain and charge their digital Suica cards before entering the country. Besides the benefit of being able to hit the ground running as soon as you arrive in Tokyo, there is no ¥500 deposit fee for this mobile Suica, unlike the physical cards sold in Japan.

This Welcome Suica Mobile app will be in English and accept foreign credit cards linked to Apple Pay, unlike the current Mobile Suica app that's only in Japanese and accepts only selected foreign cards.

Welcome Suica Mobile
Photo: JR East

While similar services already exist for tourists, namely the Welcome Suica and Pasmo Passport physical cards, having a digital version on your phone means not having to worry about losing your transport card along with whatever monetary value you have on it. Plus, no more waiting in line at the airport to get an IC card after a long flight. 

For more Tokyo travel tips, visit here.

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