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, and 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 Coverage
- Battery / Network
- Apple Pay Suica and Shinkansen
- Support and Troubleshooting
Add Virtual or Plastic Suica to iPhone or Apple Watch
iPhone 8/iPhone X/Apple Watch 3 or later, 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 and add a virtual Suica
iOS 13: Create and add virtual Suica cards directly in Wallet without using an app:
- Set iPhone Region to Japan
- Open Wallet and tap the plus sign “+”
- Tap Continue
- Tap Suica Card
- Select an amount to put on your transit 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 a plastic Suica: 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, (iOS 13) tap transfer existing card
- Verify the last 4 digits of the Suica card number
- If transferring My Suica or Commuter Suica add your birthdate
- 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 paired iPhone 5S~iPhone 7 adding a virtual Suica is the only option. For paired iPhone 8/iPhone X or later 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 stations 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 to the reader. Suica Express Transit is secure, here are a few points to be aware of:
- Express Transit only work while Face ID/Touch ID is active. ExpressTransit stop working when Face ID/Touch ID is disabled.
- 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.
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.
Purchase: 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: 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 system.
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
Express Transit and NFC Store Readers
Apple Pay Suica Express Transit is slick, secure and convenient, it’s the big killer feature heavily marketed by Apple and JR East in Japan. In the field however some older store readers are not Suica Express Transit savvy and require Touch ID/Face ID.
The Good: Fortunately, all convenience stores and almost all NFC store readers are Express Transit savvy with newer 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: Unfortunately a few 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 credit card Apple Pay. Be patient as transaction speed is sluggish. Be wary when you encounter the older black JREM NFC readers pictured below on the left, the newer J Mups JREM readers pictured on the right work great.
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 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.
Troubleshooting & Information
Suica Commute Plan Renewal or Purchase
Apple Pay Suica Commute Plan
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
Apple Pay Suica Paper Receipts
Suica Card Refund