Sunday, June 1, 2014

The 10th Anniversary of Suica IC Card

Set number Tou 550 of the EMU JR East 231-500 series stands at Tokyo Station
 
Suica is a prepaid IC card for railway and bus passengers in the Tokyo metropolitan area. It was started as a transit card by JR East in 2001. The function of electronic money was added in 2004. Once you get a Suica card and deposit some money, you can take almost all railway and bus routes in Tokyo. It is also convenient for shopping.

Many similar prepaid IC cards are issued throughout Japan. For instance, Pasmo is another IC card in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Kitaca is mainly used in Hokkaido; meanwhile, Pitaca and Icoca are prevalent in Osaka. Currently, a total of ten IC cards are interchangeable in Japan, meaning that once you get an IC card, you can use it on almost all railways and buses. You can also enjoy shopping with it throughout Japan.

On March 22nd this year, JR East celebrated the 10th anniversary of Suica IC Card as electronic money. In commemoration of the anniversary, JR East launched one set of special poster train on the Yamanote Line. You can see many "penguins" on the body of set number Tou-550 of the EMU 231-500 series. These penguins are the mascot characters of Suica card.

The design of the character has been taken from an Adelie penguin. As you may know, an Adelie penguin swims smoothly in the Antarctic Ocean. Similarly, the Suica holders can also take trains and go shopping smoothly throughout Japan.
 
Side view of set Tou-500 of the EMU 231-500 series, a poster train of the Suica 10th anniversary