JR East, JR West and JR Hokkaido will take another step towards paperless Shinkansen ticketing in 2019. The yet unnamed service will link the existing EkiNet online reservation system with a customer’s Suica, Kitaca or ICOCA IC transit card. Once the customer registers an IC transit card number, any EkiNet Shinkansen ticket purchase will be automatically linked to the IC card number. The rest is simply ‘Touch and Go’.
It’s not that different from the smartEX service that also uses soft-linked transit card ID numbers. Apple Pay Suica users need to be careful because even though the Apple Pay Suica ID number stays the same with iPhone to iPhone migration, the ID changes when transferring Apple Pay Suica from iPhone to Apple Watch.
The Touch and Go Shinkansen service that started April 1 is truly just touch and go but is limited to non-reservation seats and the ‘Touch and Go’ service area. Part of this is due to the current ¥20,000 Stored Fare (SF) limit of Japanese Transit IC cards which is due to be raised before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.