Suica is a prepaid transit card from JR East, with Suica you can ride Japanese trains and buses nationwide, and use it in all kinds of places all over Japan for purchases. Anybody from anywhere with iPhone 8/iPhone X/Apple Watch Series 3 or later can add and use Apple Pay Suica. Enjoy the benefits of contactless transit and payments in Japan thanks to Apple Global NFC support.
- Add Suica to iPhone or Apple Watch
- Express Transit / Suica Transit and Payments Coverage
- Battery / Network
- Apple Pay Suica Shinkansen
- JRE POINT
- Support and Troubleshooting
Add Virtual or Plastic Suica to iPhone or Apple Watch
iPhone 8/iPhone X/Apple Watch 3 or later and an Apple Pay credit/debit card added to Wallet required (cards issued in your home country work fine), always use the latest iOS and WatchOS
1. Create a virtual Suica in Wallet
New for iOS 13: Create virtual Suica cards directly in Wallet in any iPhone language setting without using an app:
- Set iPhone Region to Japan
- Open Wallet and tap the plus sign “+”
- Tap Continue
- Tap Suica
- Select a ¥ amount to put on your Suica card
- Follow the steps to create a new transit card on your iPhone
- Return Region to desired preference
iOS 12: Download and launch the SuicaEng app, follow the screen instructions to create a virtual Suica, add an initial balance and add Suica to iPhone Wallet or Apple Watch Wallet.
2. Transfer existing Suica card: have your JR East issue Suica card ready and the last 4 digits of the Suica ID number on the back. Plastic Suica cards issued by Tokyo Monorail or Rinkai cannot be transferred to Apple Pay. Follow the instructions and screenshots below:
- Set iPhone Region to Japan
- Open Wallet and tap the plus sign “+”, tap Continue, tap Suica, tap transfer existing card
- Enter the last 4 digits of the Suica ID number
- If transferring My Suica or Commuter Suica enter your date of birth
- Transfer a Suica card by resting the top of your iPhone on the middle of the Suica card and leave it on the card without moving it and may take a few minutes to complete
- The plastic Suica ¥500 deposit is automatically added to the Apple Pay Suica balance when the transfer is successfully completed
- You cannot use the plastic Suica after transferring it to iPhone
- Return Region to desired preference
Add or Transfer Suica to Apple Watch: For Apple Watch Series 3 or later paired iPhone 5S~iPhone 7 create and add a virtual Suica. For paired iPhone 8/iPhone X or later create and add a virtual or transfer plastic Suica. Move Suica to Apple Watch Wallet with Watch App if necessary. See “Move your Suica from your iPhone to your Apple Watch” in the Set up a Suica card in Apple Pay support page for details.
Add Money/Suica Recharge with Apple Pay:
- Tap Suica card in Wallet
- Tap Add Money
- Choose the amount, tap Add.
- Pay with Apple Pay: select the card you want to pay from and use Face ID/Touch ID to pay. Any Apple Pay Wallet credit/debit card from your home country is good for Suica Recharge.
Suica Recharge with Cash
Suica can be recharged with Japanese cash:
- Convenience Store Suica Recharge: recharge Suica at any convenience store cash register. Tell the store clerk “Suica Charge”, and follow checkout screen instructions as shown on the Suica Recharge page.
- Station Smart-Charge Kiosk: available in Tokyo area train and Metro stations shown on the Suica Recharge page. Place iPhone or Apple Watch in the blue reader bin, select the amount of money you want to add on the touch screen and feed some bills to start the process, The blue bin flashes red while the kiosk recharges Apple Pay Suica, then turns blue again when done.
- 7-Eleven ATM Suica Cash Recharge: 7-Eleven ATMs are plentiful and open 24 hours.
Suica Express Transit is automatically turned on when you first add a Suica card to Apple Pay. With Express Transit Touch ID/Face ID is not necessary, you don’t need to wake or unlock your device or open an app to use transit or make the purchase. Simply hold the top of your iPhone or display of your Apple Watch within a few centimeters of the contactless reader until you see Done and a checkmark on the display. For transit gates glide through holding iPhone just above the blue reader area:
At some store terminals you might need to select the Suica payment option on a checkout screen before you pay (AEON), most of the time just say, “Suica” to the sales clerk then hold iPhone or Apple Watch to the reader. Suica Express Transit is secure, here are a few points to be aware of:
- Express Transit only works while Face ID/Touch ID is active. Express Transit stops working when Face ID/Touch ID is disabled. Face ID disables itself and turns off Express Transit after 5 unsuccessful face read attempts. For trouble free Express Transit use with Face ID, turn off ‘Raise to Wake’ in Settings > Display & Brightness.
- Suica Express Transit on Apple Watch remains active for 5 minutes after taking off Apple Watch, after 5 minutes Express Transit deactivates until the Apple Watch passcode is entered.
- Suica is a pre-paid card, it only holds the amount of money that you add to it with Apple Pay, or with cash
- Only one Suica card can be set for Express Transit. If you have multiple Suica cards switch the Suica Express Transit card in Settings > Wallet & Apple Pay, tap Express Transit Card, choose a new Suica card, then authorize with Face ID/Touch ID.
Suica Transit and Payments Coverage
Transit: Apple Pay Suica can be used nationwide on all major transit systems covering rail and bus. This includes compatibility with other regional transit cards: PASMO, TOICA, ICOCA, SUGOCA, Kitaca, manaca, nimoca, Hayaken, piTaPa.
Payments: Apple Pay Suica is also good for contactless purchases nationwide at convenience stores, vending machines, taxis and any store displaying the Transit IC or payment terminal acceptance logo marks for: Suica, PASMO, TOICA, ICOCA, SUGOCA, Kitaca, manaca, nimoca, Hayaken.
Battery and Network
- Apple Pay Suica works without a network connection for transit, purchases and Cash Suica Recharge
- Use Apple Pay Suica in Airplane mode for transit and purchase to preserve battery life, do not run out of battery with iPhone 8/X and Apple Watch before reaching your final destination
- iPhone XS and iPhone XR Apple Pay Suica Express Transit with power reserve works when the battery is run down. Let iPhone XS or iPhone XR run down automatically into power reserve mode. You can use iPhone XS and iPhone XR Apple Pay Suica in power reserve mode up to 5 hours for transit, purchases and Cash Suica Recharge. See ‘Using Suica on iPhone or Apple Watch in Japan’ for details
Apple Pay Suica Shinkansen
Suica is the only transit card in the world on mobile that can be used for both high-speed rail and regular transit. Apple Pay Suica can be used for Shinkansen travel on all the major lines. However, Shinkansen eTickets are more about convenience over price: paper tickets usually have better discounts unless you are willing to dig deeper into the online system with Japanese issue credit cards.
There are 3 ways to use Apple Pay Suica for Shinkansen travel:
- Use Suica App and a Mobile Suica account to reserve, purchase and download JR East Shinkansen eTickets for Tohoku, Yamagata, Akita, Hokkaido, Joestsu and Hokuriku Shinkansen lines
- Touch and Go Shinkansen: register Apple Pay Suica for ticketless Shinkansen travel in the JR East Shinkansen Touch and Go region
- Use EX App with a smartEX or Express Reserve account for eTicket travel on JR Central Tokaido (Tokyo~Osaka) and JR West Sanyo (Osaka~Hakata) Shinkansen
For an Shinkansen eTicket overview see Apple Pay Suica Shinkansen 2019
If you are in Japan and using Apple Pay Suica long term, set up a JRE POINT account and get JRE POINT when you use Suica for transit and purchases. Use JRE POINT for free Suica Recharges.
From October 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020 the Japanese government has a cashless rebate program for using credit/debit card, prepaid e-money cards such as Apple Pay Suica and QR Code apps. JAPAN CASHLESS rebate program information here.
Express Transit Savvy Store Readers
Apple Pay Suica Express Transit is great, however some old store readers are not Suica Express Transit savvy and require Face ID/Touch ID. Here’s the good, the bad and the ugly.
The Good: Fortunately, all convenience stores and almost all NFC store readers are Express Transit savvy with new readers and POS systems rapidly being deployed. Just say, “Suica” to the cashier then hold iPhone to the reader. NFC readers like the ones pictured below work great.
The Bad: a few old NFC readers are not Express Transit card savvy. Older J Mups NFC readers force you to manually select the Apple Pay Suica card in Wallet and perform Touch ID/Face ID authentication like regular Apple Pay. Be patient as transaction speed is sluggish. Be wary when you encounter the old model black JREM NFC readers pictured below on the left, new model JREM readers pictured on the right work great and are wicked fast.
The Ugly: UT1-Neo NFC readers show below are Express Transit card savvy but sensitive how iPhone is held. The trick is to keep iPhone still until the reader beeps and ignore the iPhone ‘transaction complete’ sound. UT1-Neo NFC readers are found in smaller stores and coffee shops such as Ueshima Coffee and Tsubakiya Coffee. Newer UT-X10 readers with the EMV contactless acceptance mark logo hit area work great.
Support and Troubleshooting
Mobile Suica Cloud Maintenance
From 12:30 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. JST daily many Suica functions are not available: adding cards, Apple Pay Suica Recharge, using Suica App, removing Suica cards via iCloud.com.
Apple Pay and Suica cards are linked to your Apple ID
When you sign out of iCloud, the Apple Pay Suica Wallet card is deleted on iPhone and stored on iCloud. See Migrate Suica to a new iPhone below to restore Suica. You must sign in with the same Apple ID used to add Suica, if you sign into iCloud with a different Apple ID than the one used to add Suica, you cannot restore Suica to Wallet.
Information & Troubleshooting
Suica Recharge Hangs and Errors
Apple Pay Suica Troubleshooting #3: Recharge hangs and errors
Suica Commute Plan Renewal or Purchase
Apple Pay Suica Commute Plan
Other General Suica Topics
iPhone X Suica Problem Q&A Exchange Guide
Fixing the Suica Lockout
Apple Pay Suica Battery FUD
Suica Inbound Battery Strategies
No Foreign Transaction Fee Apple Pay Suica
Mizuho Suica for Apple Pay
Apple Pay Suica Express Transit with power reserve