Japan's Beloved Suica and Pasmo Cards: Temporarily Unavailable


Syahirah Mazlan •  Aug 04, 2023

Hey traveller! We've got some news about the popular Suica and Pasmo cards in Japan that we wanted to share with you. If you're not familiar, Suica and Pasmo cards are the most essential these cards are for traveling in Japan, right? Unfortunately Japan is suspending the two cards temporarily and here's what you need to know!

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Both Suica and Pasmo cards have become an integral part of daily life and travel in Japan. They're not just for buying train tickets anymore; you can use them on various train and subway lines operated by different companies. Plus, they're a quick and easy way to pay for things like vending machine drinks, Uniqlo T-shirts, and even restaurant bills. Perfect for travelers like us!

Credit: @visitjapan on Instagram

The beauty of these cards lies in their simplicity. Instead of fumbling with cash or trying to figure out complicated train fare calculations, all you have to do is tap your card on a pad, and you're good to go. No more holding up the line or dealing with language barriers!

However, due to the ongoing global semiconductor shortage, sales of Suica and Pasmo cards have been suspended since August 2. It's a bummer, we know. Even the registered cards, where you provide your details, are affected.

But fear not! There are still a few ways to get your hands on a card. For foreign tourists, the Welcome Suica cards are available, but with new restrictions on where and how many you can buy. These are only usable for 28 days after purchase, so plan accordingly. You can find them at specific locations in Narita and Haneda Airports.

Pasmo also has a similar option, the Pasmo Passport cards, for foreign tourists, available at various stations in Tokyo and the airports.

If you're a frequent commuter in Japan, you can get the physical Suica/Pasmo cards as part of a monthly commuter rail pass. However, this might not be the best choice for most tourists, as it requires around 15 round-trip fares within a month to break even on the cost.

Lastly, there are mobile versions of Suica and Pasmo, but they might not be compatible with all overseas phone models and payment methods.

As of now, there's no news on when the normal physical card sales will resume, but we'll keep an eye out for updates. In the meantime, if you're planning a trip to Japan, make sure to plan your transportation and payments accordingly.

Stay tuned for more updates, and let's hope Suica and Pasmo cards are back in action soon!