Ticket Gate

Travel in Japan with an ICOCA Card

Smoother travel with an ICOCA Smart Card!

Traveling around in Japan is very convenient, but it can be a pain if you need to purchase tickets each time you get on the train. Another downside to traveling in Japan is that train tickets can only be bought in cash so having the constant worry of keeping change in your wallet while, let’s say shopping, can be a burden to some. That is why I use an ICOCA; it’s an IC-chipped card-type ticket that you can recharge and reuse. It asks for a deposit of ¥500 upon making the card, but you’ll get it back if you ask one of the staff at the station. Another merit of this card is that it can be used on any transportation system in Japan. Also, this ICOCA card is not only convenient for going places, it can even be used at convenient stores and vending machines located at major places!

I also highly recommend buying the pass because it is eco-friendly.

Below are the steps to purchasing your very own ICOCA Card (with pictures):

First, have ¥2,000 ready IN CASH to purchase this card and head on over to one of the JR train station ticket machines (that’s the only place they are sold).

buy icoca


Go to one of the machines and press the “English” button and follow the screen.



choose language


Press the Purchase ICOCA button.


Purchase icoca


Follow the simple directions.


How to purchase an icoca card

Purchase an ICOCA


This is what the card will look like. Though, ICOCA is actually only called ‘ICOCA’ in the Kansai (Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto, Nara) region. Although it may have a different name in other regions, YOU CAN use this card throughout Japan!



Next, here’s how to recharge your ICOCA card:

You must pay in cash. Go to a fare adjustment machine and press the English button.


recharging ICOCA


Choose the “IC Card Charge” option and follow the steps.


step one recharge



You can choose however much you want to charge your card; but I advise not putting in more than ¥5,000 because if you ever drop or lose your IC-Card, it’ll be gone forever!


step three


Now that you have your ICOCA charged and ready to go, let’s use it!


use icoca


This card is very useful because it shows how much money is left on the card. (The picture shows that ¥902 is left on the card.)




Enjoy your travel in Japan!