The latest iOS and Suica App versions recommended
Suica App and Mobile Suica
Mobile Suica is the JR East Suica mobile phone and cloud service that launched in 2006 for Japanese feature phones, Japanese Android phones in 2011, then Apple Pay in October 2016. Suica App extends the functionality of Apple Pay Suica with access to Mobile Suica via a free Mobile Suica account. Suica App also lets you add virtual Suica cards to Apple Pay.
Before starting please consider a few points:
- Suica App is only available in Japanese language
- Wallet lets you add a plastic Suica and use Suica cards effortlessly in Apple Pay without having to deal with Suica App at all.
- Suica App can be downloaded from the Japan App Store, USA App Store and Australian App Store. App Store distribution is expanding, but may not be available in your country.
Suica App offers extra functions, most of these require a free Mobile Suica account and are marked “MS“.
- Add Virtual Suica: add Suica to Apple Pay Wallet
- Mobile Suica Registration (MS): create a free Mobile Suica account
- Suica App Credit Card Registration (MS): register a credit card in Suica App
- Suica Recharge with Suica App (MS)
- Shinkansen Tickets (MS): Purchase e-tickets for JR East Shinkansen
- Suica Commute Plan – Green Car Seats – Suica Auto Charge (MS): Add, change or renew Suica Commute Plan, Green Car Seat purchase, Suica Auto Charge set up (JR East View Card only)
- Support and Troubleshooting
Suica App Basics
Suica App without a Mobile Suica account can only do one thing: create a single virtual Suica. Everything else requires a free Mobile Suica account. Registration is not difficult, the only item that requires extra attention is when adding a credit/debit card to Suica App which is not necessary for Suica in-app purchases, you can do that with Apple Pay. The only reason to register a credit card in Suica App is to use the Suica Auto Charge feature which requires the JR East View credit card.
Add Virtual Suica
Add a single virtual Suica card (‘unregistered’ i.e. without a Mobile Suica account) to Apple Pay:
- Download Suica App if you do not have it installed.
- Make sure you have an Apple Pay credit/debit card already loaded in Wallet.
- Set the iPhone Region setting to Japan, after Suica is setup you can return it to any preferred setting.
- Launch Suica App and follow numbered screenshots and captions below to create a new Suica card, add an initial balance, and load it to Apple Pay Wallet.
You now have a Suica card in Wallet setup for Express Transit. See Apple Pay Suica Guide for other details. Suica App limits you to a single ‘unregistered’ Suica in Wallet. If you try to add another virtual Suica, Suica App automatically takes you to Mobile Suica Registration. With a Mobile Suica account you can add multiple ‘My Suica’ or ‘Suica Commuter’ cards.
Suica App Menus and Mobile Suica Registration
When you have a Suica card loaded into Apple Pay you see the basic Suica App home screen similar to the one below.
On the upper left corner is Mobile Suica Account Settings [a], on the upper right is Add Suica Card [b]. Near the bottom is Suica Recharge [c] , on the bottom right is Ticket Purchase • Manage Suica [d]. Access to [a] [d] menu features requires a Mobile Suica account.
Caution: Mobile Suica registration requires basic Japanese language reading ability. Be careful to use full width romaji (zenkaku) when entering your name in the kanji name field. If the name does not match any credit card you try to register in Suica App later on you risk locking your Mobile Suica account.
To create a Mobile Suica account tap Ticket Purchase • Manage Suica [d] and you are greeted with the Mobile Suica registration page.
Past the initial agreement terms you are in the main Mobile Suica registration screen. It is one screen but the screen shot sections are separated out for clarity.
Suica App Credit Card Registration
Caution: be careful that the name on the credit/debit card matches the registered name of the Mobile Suica account. If names don’t match you risk locking your Mobile Suica account. Suica App credit card registration is optional and not required for Suica in-app purchases. All Suica App purchases can be made with Apple Pay. I strongly urge you not to register a credit card in Suica App unless you have a solid command of Japanese, not machine translation.
The Suica App Mobile Suica account accepts a large number of Japanese credit cards and pre-paid cards such as Line Card, as well as credit cards issued outside of Japan. The Suica App credit card also bypasses the Apple Pay Wallet system and the Apple Pay Japanese Visa limitation giving you the most payment flexibility.
To add a Suica App credit card tap the Ticket Purchase•Manage Suica menu at the bottom of the main Suica App screen. Tap credit card and enter credit card information in the appropriate fields.
Suica App lists seven eligible credit card brands: View Card, VISA, JCB, Master Card, American Express, Diners Club, JR Central EXPress Card. Another bonus if you are a LINE member is that Suica App works with JCB Pre-paid LINE cards you can purchase at any convenience store. Suica App works with internationally issued credit cards. If your credit card is not accepted check with your issuing bank.
Suica Recharge with Suica App
Once you have a credit card registered you can Suica Recharge in Suica App with the Mobile Suica credit card or with Apple Pay.
Main Suica Menu
Ticket Purchase • Manage Suica, menu [d] from the opening screen menu, is where most of the Suica App functionality resides. One important thing to remember if you have multiple Apple Pay Suica cards: all Ticket Purchase/Manage Suica items are attached to the specific Apple Pay Suica card displayed in the Home menu. Swipe to a different card to purchase items for or manage a different Suica card.
Shinkansen e-ticket Purchase and Direct Shinkansen Boarding
Suica Ticket Purchase section includes Shinkansen e-tickets for JR East trains: Tohoku, Yamagata, Akita, Hokkaido, Joestsu and Hokuriku Shinkansen lines, Green Car seats on regular trains, and commuter plan purchase/renewal.
Shinkansen e-ticket purchases can be made up to 30 days in advance and are limited to JR East Shinkansen lines. You can also purchase JR Central Tokaido Shinkansen (Tokyo=Osaka) or JR West Sanyo Shinkansen (Osaka=Fukuoka) via the EX Reservation menu but this requires a separate EX-Press Reservation membership and a JR East View credit card.
Tap JR East Shinkansen in the Ticket Purchase screen and follow the steps shown below to purchase a Shinkansen non-reserve e-ticket:
A Shinkansen reserve seat e-ticket purchase has a few extra steps to choose the Shinkansen and seats:
As you can see from the screenshots, purchase options are well covered, The i-mode style UI is not pretty but gets the job done.
With a Suica App Shinkansen e-ticket purchase you can directly board Shinkansen with just Apple Pay Suica. Download your e-ticket purchase in Wallet or Suica App before going through the Shinkansen ticket gate. Here are 2 Japanese videos that show e-ticket purchase, download and gate entrance:
Suica Commute Plan
Suica Commute Plan allows you to purchase a new Suica commute plan for any Apple Pay Suica card in Wallet, renew a commute plan that already exists or has expired, or change the route of a current commute plan.
Basic points to remember:
- The easiest way to renew Suica Commute is in Wallet. The renewal window is 14 days before the expiration date.
- If you miss the expiration date you have to purchase a new commute plan in Suica App. Choose the ‘New Plan from Previous Route’ menu item.
- If you need to change the commute plan (station points, transfer points) renew your plan in Suica App.
- If you need to change or cancel your commute plan before the expiration date tap the related menu items in Suica App, cancel the current plan and get a refund in Suica Pocket, then create a new plan.
To purchase a new Suica Commute plan tap Commute Plan in the Ticket Purchase • Manage Suica menu. Follow the steps in the screenshots and captions below.
Green Car Seat
Green Car Seats are non reserve first class seats on regular trains with dedicated Green Cars or Green Seat sections. With Suica App you can purchase a Green Car Seat either before or after you get on the train for the same pre-boarding price. Make sure you have a good network connection when making a purchase on the fly. As with all Suica App purchases you only purchase for your own Apple Pay Suica, no group purchases.
Green Car Seat purchase is simple, follow the screen instructions show below. After the purchase find an empty Green Seat on the train with a red indicator above, tap it and it will turn green.
|Up to 50km||770円||570円||1030円||830円|
Suica Auto Charge, Suica Transaction History, Suica Pocket
The Manage SF section covers Stored Fare functions including transactions and Suica Pocket. Transaction History is a simple list of Suica transit and store transactions, Online Transaction history covers online purchases.
Suica Pocket is a temporary holding area for SF e-money transferred from the Mobile Suica system. Suica Pocket is for receiving SF from Suica campaign cash-backs, refunds from Suica online purchases and free Suica recharges exchanged from JRE Points. The screen shots below show the process for receiving a free Suica Recharge exchanged from JRE Points.
Suica Auto Charge
The Manage Suica sections includes card renaming and Auto Charge. Suica Auto Charge has some limitations:
- Suica Auto Charge only works with JR East View cards
- Suica Auto Charge only works within the JR East rail network region. It won’t work when you are using transit in other non-JR East regions such as Nagoya or Osaka
- Suica Auto Charge does not work with store or vending machine purchases
Other Manage Suica functions include Commuter Pass options for limiting the automatic use of SF in case your commuter plan expires and you forget to renew it. You can set a limit so you do not waste SF e-money on regular work commuting. Other menu items cover spoken guidance and EX-Press membership setup for View Card holders.
Support and Troubleshooting
- The latest iOS and Suica App versions recommended
- Mobile Suica Cloud Maintenance: from 12:30 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. JST daily many Apple Pay Suica and Suica App functionalities aren’t available, this includes adding cards, Apple Pay and Suica App Recharge, and suspending and removing cards from Find My iPhone and iCloud.com.
- Apple Pay cards are linked to your Apple ID. If you sign out of iCloud your Apple Pay Suica card is stored on Mobile Suica cloud, see Migrate Suica to a new iPhone below to restore Suica. If you sign into iCloud with a different Apple ID than the one used to add Suica, you cannot access Suica. You must sign in with the same Apple ID.
Troubleshooting & Information Blog Posts (English)
Troubleshooting #1: Problems Adding Suica
Troubleshooting #2: C102 / C110 Errors
Lost iPhone and Recovering Apple Pay Suica
Migrate Suica to a new iPhone
Renew Suica Commuter Plan
Fixing the Suica Lockout
Apple Pay Suica Paper Receipts