Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Japan Photo per Day - ICOCA 10 years anniversary and some travel tips

JR West smart card, ICOCA
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 known 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.

(Click on the post title above for more)

Comment: That Iacocca I-co-ca-cola or whatever the hell his name is, is something else ain't he. First he makes a name for himself and designs the Ford Mustang. Then back in the 1980's he saves Chrysler from bankruptcy. Now it looks as though Japan Rail (JR) West named their version of the "SMART Card" after him! Kinda Ironic if you ask me cause he was such a firm advocate of U.S. import quotas on Japanese cars. I guess it must have been because he didn't affect the rail business in a bad way or some such nonsense...

And another thing, that "SUICA" card is an interesting name. Suica in Japanese means watermellon. Ever tried to carry one of those through a train station ticket wicket???

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