Tag Archive: subway cards


The subway system in Japan is an essential part of life for most Japanese people. Since most locals don’t have drivers licenses a subway provides them with a cheap and efficient alternative. Entry into the subway system can be achieved many different ways. Casual users can use the ticket master to buy a pre-paid entry ticket which gets recycled into toilet paper after the transactions are complete. Heavy users can purchase a subway card. In Tokyo there are two major cards Pasmo and Suica. Pasmo is more of a direct subway card handled by the Tokyo subway companies where Suica is the card put out by Japanese rail company JREast. Once you’re in possession of a subway card, you can charge it at any ticket station and use it as much as you want. Pasmo and Suica are not only earth friendly, they’re also multifunctional. Patrons can use their cards to purchase goods from vending machines and from stores inside and sometimes even outside the subway tunnels. With all the uses for a subway card the Japanese have something better than a license that is also more eco-friendly.

Pasmo

Pasmo

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In the United States if one desires to be self-reliant they need a driver’s license if they hope to go anywhere. There are not many places in the U.S. where other forms of transportation are available or affordable. That’s why coming to Japan is a bit of a culture shock because it’s basically turning this mentality on its head. There are many different forms of public transportation available in Japan, and it is more common for a person to use a subway to get from point A to B rather than a car. As an American, the idea of not having a driver’s license is extremely odd because back home it’s hard for someone to be successful without one, although there are those rare cases. In Japan I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that most individuals probably don’t have a license due to how expensive it is to own a car here in Japan and how cheap it is to ride the subway, take a train, or charter a bus.

Another Unrelated Cool Pic

Another Unrelated Cool Pic

While walking around Japan you’ll find vending machines absolutely everywhere. These vending machines sell a variety of goods from hot and cold drinks, ice cream, noodle cans, meal tickets, and even French fries. Really almost anything you can imagine could very well be sold in the vending machines in Japan. Besides being a marvel of variety, Japanese vending machines are also a marvel of technology. In America if you want a hot or cold drink you have to find a specialized machine for one or the other. In Japan both drink types can be offered from a single machine. If you’re in a hurry some machines allow you to buy products with your subway card which is a great way to extend its usability. I can’t help but be amazed at how well maintained the vending machines are here even the ones hidden in back alleys. No matter where you find a vending machine in Japan it’s always clean, well stocked, and one-hundred percent functional.

VendingMachine

VendingMachine