Suica is a prepaid transit card from JR East, with Suica you can ride Japanese trains and buses, and use it for e-money store purchases nationwide. Anybody from anywhere with iPhone 8 and later, iPhone X or later, Apple Watch Series 3 or later can add and use Apple Pay Suica, and enjoy the benefits of contactless payments in Japan thanks to Apple’s global FeliCa support.
- Add Suica to iPhone or Apple Watch
- Network and Battery
- Suica Coverage
- Express Transit and NFC Readers
- Support and Troubleshooting
- Apple Pay Suica Shinkansen
Add Virtual or Plastic Suica to iPhone or Apple Watch
iPhone 8/iPhone X or later, Apple Watch 3 or later, Apple Pay credit/debit card already in Wallet required (cards issued in your home country work fine), the latest iOS recommended.
Add virtual Suica: download and launch the SuicaEng app then follow the screen instructions to create a virtual Suica, add an initial balance and add Suica to iPhone or Apple Watch.
Add 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 added to Apple Pay. Follow the instructions and screenshots below:
- Set your iPhone Region to Japan
- Open Wallet, tap “+”, tap Continue, tap Suica
- Verify the last 4 digits of the Suica card number
- If adding 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
- After Suica is added the iPhone Region setting can be any user preference
Add Suica to Apple Watch: For iPhone 5S~iPhone 7 adding a virtual Suica is the only option. For iPhone 8/iPhone X or later add a virtual or 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: in Wallet, tap the Suica card, tap Add Money, choose the amount, and tap Add. Select the card you want to pay from and use Touch ID/Face ID to complete the transaction. Any Apple Pay loaded credit/debit card from home is good for Suica Recharge. Go here for details.
Suica Express Transit is automatically turned on when you first add a Suica card to Apple Pay. With Express Transit Touch ID or 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.
You might need to select Suica payment on some store terminals when you pay (Lawson, AEON) . Most of the time just say, “Suica!” to the cashier then hold iPhone to the reader. For transit hold iPhone to the gate reader and go through in a single motion:
Suica Express Transit is convenient and secure:
- Express Cards only work while Face ID/Touch ID is active. Express Cards stop working when Face ID/Touch ID is disabled.
- 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.
Network Access and Battery
- Apple Pay Suica works without a network connection for transit, purchases and Cash Suica Recharge.
- Apple Pay Suica can be used in Airplane mode to preserve battery life, do not run out of battery with iPhone 8/X, Apple Watch Series 3/4 before reaching your final destination.
- iPhone XS and iPhone XR Apple Pay Suica Express Transit cards with power reserve work even if 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. Using Suica on iPhone or Apple Watch in Japan states:
On iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, Express Cards with power reserve is available for up to five hours when your iPhone needs to be charged. You can press the side button to check if Express Cards are available when your iPhone needs to be charged. Doing this often may significantly reduce the power reserve for Express Cards. If you choose to power off your iPhone, this feature will not be available.
- A good network connection is required for adding money to Suica with Apple Pay.
Apple Pay Suica Coverage
You can use Apple Pay Suica anywhere you can use plastic Suica. Apple Pay Suica is good for all the major transit IC systems covering rail and bus nationwide. It is good for convenience stores, vending machines, anywhere that accepts Japan IC Transit cards, look for the Transit IC or Suica acceptance logo mark at the payment terminal. The Suica mark is everywhere.
Suica Express Transit and Store NFC Readers
Simply hold the top of your iPhone X or later / iPhone 8 or later, or the display of your Apple Watch Series 3 or later within a few centimeters of the contactless reader until you see Done and a checkmark on the display. You don’t need to wake or unlock your device or open an app to make the purchase.
You can test this for yourself at the transit gate or self checkout at NewDays station stores:
In the field however some older store readers are not Suica Express Card savvy and require Touch ID/Face ID.
The Good: Fortunately, all convenience stores and almost all NFC store readers are Express Card 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 wake the device, manually select the Apple Pay Suica card, perform Touch ID/Face ID authentication then hold iPhone to the reader. 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 Suica Express Transit card savvy but sensitive how iPhone is held. The trick is to hold iPhone to the reader before it is activated and keep iPhone still until the reader beeps. 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 EMV contactless acceptance mark work great.
- Mobile Suica Cloud Maintenance: from 12:30 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. JST daily many Suica functionalities aren’t available, this includes adding cards, Apple Pay Suica Recharge, using Suica App, and suspending and removing cards from Find My iPhone and iCloud.com.
- Apple Pay and Suica 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. You must be signed 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 access Suica.
Troubleshooting & Information
Troubleshooting #1 Adding Suica
Troubleshooting #2 C102 / C110 Errors
Lost or Wiped iPhone and Recovering Apple Pay Suica
Migrate Suica to a new iPhone
Renew Suica Commuter Plan
Suica Commuter Plan Limitations
iPhone X Suica Problem Q&A Exchange Guide
Fixing the Suica Lockout
Suica Inbound Battery Strategies
No Foreign Transaction Fee Apple Pay Suica
Mizuho Suica for Apple Pay
Apple Pay Suica Express Cards with power reserve
Apple Pay Suica Shinkansen
There are 3 ways to use Apple Pay Suica for Shinkansen travel:
- SmartEX: register Apple Pay Suica for e-ticket reservation, purchase and ticketless Shinkansen travel on the Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen
- Touch and Go Shinkansen: register Apple Pay Suica for ticketless Shinkansen travel in the JR East Shinkansen Touch and Go region.
- Use Suica App to purchase JR East Shinkansen e-tickets for Tohoku, Yamagata, Akita, Joestsu and Hokuriku Shinkansen