Even if, after all these years, I am used to all the Japanese train tickets, I still prefer using a smart card. Besides the worry-free usage, without calculating the price and the distance traveled, you also avoid the small queues at the ticket vending machines. And when traveling outside the tourist areas, where the English signage becomes scarce, studying the local ticketing system may not be your idea of fun…
The best know Japanese smart card is SUICA, launched 12 years ago by the JR East. The JR West version is called ICOCA and it was launched… 10 years ago today! ICOCA is always impersonated by its mascot Ico the Platypus (Kamonohashi no Iko-chan in Japanese), thus being very easy to spot its charging stations - like in the billboard from today’s photo.
So, Happy Anniversary Iko-chan, and for more travel tips, I recommend you to visit the Travel section of the new GaijinPot website.
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: