ICOCA IC Card in Japan: Price, Reviews, & Where to Use

Want to get an ICOCA IC card at a discounted price? Buy one here!

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Highlights

  • The ICOCA IC card in Japan is a prepaid smart card that’s designed for convenient trips in the Kansai area, particularly in Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, and Nara.
  • It can be used to pay for your JR West, subway, and bus fares, as well as purchases in select convenience stores, vending machines, and coin lockers.
  • If you’re planning to get one soon, you can easily check if the ICOCA IC card is available here.
  • In case you’re wondering, IC stands for integrated circuit, which means that the card has a pattern of metal materials that enable it for public transportation and retail use. (It’s just another term for a smart card!)
  • Also, if you’re looking to save money, make sure to get this attraction card that’ll let you visit up to thirty (30) attractions in Osaka!
  • Finally, if you have not used WAUG yet, you can sign up here now to get a discount coupon that you can use on your first booking!

Explore more: How to Get Connected in Japan: 4G/LTE SIM Card by Docomo

Where to Use the ICOCA IC Card in Japan

First things first — what is an IC card? Similar to T-Money in Korea, Octopus Card in Hong Kong, and EZ-Link in Singapore, IC cards in Japan are stored-value cards that can be used to pay for transportation fares and small-value purchases in convenience stores, restaurants, and vending machines. The term IC stands for integrated circuit, which Investopedia.com defines to be a ‘type of payment card that has an embedded circuit, such as a computer chip.’ For easy recall, IC card is just another term for a smart card or a chip card.

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Where to use the ICOCA IC Card in Japan. Credit: Westjr.co.jp

Do you need to buy an ICOCA IC card, though? Good question. It is recommended to purchase one if you’ll be spending some time exploring the Kansai or Kinki region, which includes the Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, and Nara prefectures. This will make your commute in the area hassle-free. You’ll even get to use it for small-value shopping in 7-Eleven, FamilyMart, Entree Marche, Lucua Osaka, The Cube, Porta, and Lawson, among other stores.

Moreover, if you plan to visit Arashiyama, Nara Park, Universal Studios Japan, Osaka Castle, or Dōtonbori, you can make use of the ICOCA card to hop in and out of these tourist spots via bus or train. This will eliminate the need to purchase single-entry tickets each time you take the public transportation.

Price: ICOCA IC Card

icoca-card-price
  • PRICE: around ¥2,257 (or $21.4, HK$165, S$30, ₱1,080, or NT$638)
  • Includes one (1) ICOCA card that’s preloaded with ¥1,500. The deposit of ¥500 is already included in the selling price.
  • Perk alert! You will get an automatic discount on your Haruka rail ticket for the Kansai Airport Express upon presenting your booked ICOCA card. This is only applicable to short-term visitors (foreigners) who can present their passport.

Where to Pick Up Your ICOCA Card

After booking online on WAUG, you may pick-up your IC card at any of the following: Osaka Kansai International Airport Terminal 1 and EDION Namba Tourist Information Center. Here are the details:

1. Osaka Kansai International Airport Terminal 1

The redemption point is the HIS Counter located on the 1/F, Arrival Floor (North Exit) of Kansai airport. Open from 8:30am-10pm.

2. EDION Namba Tourist Information Center 

This pick-up point is located in Osaka, Chuo-Ku, Namba 3-2-18 Edion Namba (G/F) and is 2 minutes away from the Nankai Namba Station. Open from 10am-9pm.

WATCH & GET INSPIRATION FOR YOUR TRIP!

ICOCA IC Card Reviews

To help you decide if you should get an ICOCA card in Japan, here are some reviews from WAUG users who purchased one:

icoca-card-review

It was so convenient. It was nice to pick it up right away at the airport.

Translated customer review on WAUG | 2020-01-17

Thanks to the ICOCA card, I did not have to carry a lot of cash with me. It’s good.

Translated customer review for ICOCA card on WAUG | 2019-02-20
icoca-ic-card-where-to-buy

It was great that I was able to use it at the convenience store. Not to mention the subway and bus, of course. I had a good trip in Osaka because of the ICOCA.

Translated customer review for ICOCA online booking page on WAUG | 2019-11-21

If you want to see more feedback for the ICOCA card in Japan, click below and find the Reviews section.

How to Purchase Your ICOCA Card Online

If you’re unfamiliar with using WAUG, which is a leading online activity booking platform from South Korea, here’s how you can book tours and travel essentials like ICOCA:

  1. Sign up for an account here. (Find the floating coupon to get the $3 discount!)
  2. Click here to go to the booking page.
  3. Select the date when you’d like to pick up your IC card.
  4. Provide other required info and check out using a Visa, Mastercard, or an American Express card. (If you’re using a card issued from South Korea, click here to go WAUG’s Korean site.)
  5. Wait for the transaction confirmation and mobile voucher.

That’s it! To make the redemption process a lot smoother, download WAUG on your phone so you can access the mobile voucher.

Booking Notes & FAQ

1. How can I top up my ICOCA IC card?

To reload your ICOCA card, you can go to a convenience store like 7-Eleven or use a top-up machine that’s found in the subway.

2. How exactly do I use the ICOCA Card in the train station?

To use at the subway, take out your stored-value transport card and tap on the sensor of the turnstile.

3. Where can I use my ICOCA card?

ic-mark-japan
IC Mark.

As a general rule, you can use your ICOCA at any railway, bus, and stores that display the IC mark.

For transportation, you may use it at the following areas and modes of transportation:

  • ICOCA: Okayama, Hiroshima, Hokuriku, San-in areas, and others
  • Kitaka area: JR Hokkaido
  • PASMO area: subways, private railways, and buses in Kanto Area
  • Suica area: JR East, etc.
  • Manaca area: subways, private railways and buses in Nagoya area
  • Toica area: JR Central
  • Hayakaken area: Fukuoka City Subway
  • Nimoca area: Nishi-Nippon Railroad and buses, etc.
  • Sugoca area: JR Kyushu

You may also make use of the ICOCA card in stores and amenities that are located inside the train station, such as restaurants, vending machines and coin lockers.

For a list of convenience stores and shops where you can use the ICOCA IC card, download the map here.

4. Can I ride the bullet train with an ICOCA?

As of publish time, it’s not possible to use an ICOCA card to pay for bullet train rides in Japan.

5. How can I get a refund for my ICOCA IC card balance?

You can apply for a refund of your ICOCA card balance at a ticket office inside JR West stations. Note that ¥200 will be deducted from your ICOCA card balance for this service. Furthermore, after getting a refund, you’ll have to surrender the ICOCA card. (So if you plan to keep the card as a souvenir, don’t apply for a refund!)

6. What other travel cards in Japan are worth booking

Aside from the ICOCA card, you may also want to check out the following cards to make your Japan trip more memorable:

7. What are other conditions should I know of?

If you are a Japanese national or resident, you are not eligible to avail the discount on Haruka. Only foreigners can get a reduced rate upon presentation of their ICOCA IC card and passport.

8. Do ICOCA IC cards expire?

If unused for 10 years, the card will be invalid.

9. Is there a maximum number of ICOCA cards that I can purchase?

If you’re buying for family or friends, you are only allowed to buy up to five (5) per day.

10. Are there ICOCA cards with a custom, special, or limited-edition design?

icoca-card-design

Yes, but not a lot! You may find these two ICOCA card designs at Kansai Airport station: Hello Kitty + Osaka Castle design and The Wind and Thunder gods design (subject to availability)

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