Big transit hubs in the city like Ueno, Shinagawa and Tokyo stations have more than just train platforms. These bustling one-stop centres, known as ekinaka to locals, feature restaurants, shops and sometimes even an entire department store inside its ticket gates.
Ekinaka like Tokyo Gransta, Ecute Shinagawa and Ecute Ueno have become popular dining and shopping spots, but if you are not there to catch a train, you’ll need to purchase a platform ticket (入場券, or nyuujouken) just to enter the ticket gates to shop and eat, and later exit the same station.
The process is about to get easier. Starting March 13, JR East is offering a hassle-free experience with its new ‘Touch de Ekinaka’ service, which allows you to enter and leave the same station freely with just an IC card.
There’s no need to go up to the ticket counter and purchase a nyuujouken just to shop and eat at the ekinaka anymore. You can now tap in and out with your IC card. You’ll be automatically charged ¥140 (¥150 at some locations) for every two hours inside the station.
This new system applies to JR East Suica area stations within Greater Tokyo, Sendai and Niigata. You’ll only be able to enter and leave through the automatic ticket gates at the regular train area, not the shinkansen gates.
You can use any of these 10 IC cards: Suica, Pasmo, Kitaca, Toica, Manga, Icocca, Pitapa, Nimoca, Sugoca and Hayakaken. Mobile versions of Suica (including Apple Pay) and Pasmo are accepted, too.
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