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|Location||Kansai region, San'yō region|
|Launched||November 1, 2003 (17 years ago)|
|Operator||West Japan Railway Company|
|Manager||West Japan Railway Company|
|Stored-value||Pay as you go|
|Unlimited use||None (Other non-related unlimited use passes available)|
The ICOCA (イコカ, Ikoka) card is a rechargeable contactless smart card used on the JR West rail network in Japan. The card was launched on November 1, 2003 for usage on the Urban Network, which encompasses the major cities of Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe (Keihanshin). It is now usable on many other networks. The ICOCA area has gradually been expanded, and now includes the San'yo region through the Okayama and Hiroshima urban areas, and some lines in northern Shikoku, San'in and Hokuriku regions as of 2020.
ICOCA stands for IC Operating CArd, but it is also a play on the phrase "Iko ka" (行こか), an informal, Kansai dialect invitation meaning "Shall we go?" in Japanese (the standard, Tokyo dialect equivalent is "Ikō ka" (行こうか)).
The mascots for the ICOCA program consists of a blue platypus (or duckbill) called Ico the Platypus (カモノハシのイコちゃん, Kamonohashi no Iko-chan) and Icota and Icomi the Platypuses (カモノハシのイコ太とイコ美, Kamonohashi no Ikota to Ikomi).
Usage of the card involves passing it over a card reader. The technology allows for the card to be read at some distance from the reader, so contact is not required, and many people leave the card in their wallet and just pass the wallet over the reader as they enter the ticket gate.
The balance on the card is displayed when you enter the ticket gate this way. The balance is also displayed whenever the card is inserted into the ticket or fare adjustment machines as well. A travel record is stored on the card, and can be displayed or printed out as well, at the fare adjustment machines.
On occasion, when travelling to a station where ICOCA is not supported, the card must be handed over to the staff at the exiting station, so that they can calculate the remaining fare, and also so that they can return a slip of paper which must be given to the staff at the next station where ICOCA is used.
ICOCA functions as a boarding ticket (乗車券, jōshaken), and also has a commuter pass (定期券, teikiken) added to it. However, for express services, such as the Haruka service to Kansai airport, on which an additional fee is required, ICOCA can only be used as fare ticket (乗車券, jōshaken) (for passing the ticket gate) for non-reserved travel, with the express ticket purchased from the conductor on board the train – see train tickets in Japan.
Via a number of reciprocal agreements, for ordinary fares, ICOCA can be used interoperably with various other mass transit smart card systems. As of 2014, ICOCA has interoperability with Kitaca, Suica, PASMO, TOICA, manaca, PiTaPa, SUGOCA, nimoca, hayakaken and several other local smart cards.
These cards are available at card vending machines at the train stations. The card costs 2000 yen, which includes a 500 yen deposit that will be returned if the card is turned in. The remaining 1500 yen is immediately available for train rides, and more money can be charged on to the card at similar ticket vending machines or fare adjustment machines inside each station.
The card may only be returned in JR West stations, however, so travelers who start their trip in JR west area and finish their trip elsewhere may not be able to return it before departure. Shikoku ICOCA cards are sold at several stations in Shikoku and can only be returned at those stations.
The card incorporates contactless RFID technology developed by Sony, called FeliCa. The same technology is also deployed in the Edy electronic cash cards used in Japan, the Octopus card in Hong Kong & the old ezlink Card in Singapore.
Suica is a prepaid rechargeable contactless smart card, electronic money used as a fare card on train lines in Japan, launched on November 18, 2001. The card can be used interchangeably with JR West's ICOCA in the Kansai region and San'yō region in Okayama, Hiroshima, and Yamaguchi prefectures, and also with JR Central's TOICA starting from spring of 2008, JR Kyushu's SUGOCA, Nishitetsu's Nimoca, and Fukuoka City Subway's Hayakaken area in Fukuoka City and its suburb areas, starting from spring of 2010. The card is also increasingly being accepted as a form of electronic money for purchases at stores and kiosks, especially within train stations. As of 2018, JR East reports 69.4 million Suica UID's have been issued, usable at 476,300 point of sale locations, with 6.6 million daily transactions.
FeliCa is a contactless RFID smart card system from Sony in Japan, primarily used in electronic money cards. The name stands for Felicity Card. First utilized in the Octopus card system in Hong Kong, the technology is used in a variety of cards also in countries such as Singapore, Japan, Indonesia and the United States.
The Haruka is a limited express passenger train service operated by West Japan Railway Company mainly between Kyoto Station to Kansai International Airport in Osaka Prefecture, Japan. Dubbed as the Kansai Airport Limited Express (関空特急) by JR West, it is the fastest train service connecting the airport with downtown Osaka and Kyoto, and also travels to and from Maibara via Kyoto during peak hours. As Haruka trains travel over the Umeda Freight Line, they do not serve Osaka Station. A change of trains is required at either Tennoji or Shin-Ōsaka.
Rail transport in Japan is a major means of passenger transport, especially for mass and high-speed travel between major cities and for commuter transport in urban areas. It is used relatively little for freight transport, accounting for just 0.84% of goods movement. The privatised network is highly efficient, requiring few subsidies and running with extreme punctuality.
The Fukuoka City Subway serves Fukuoka, Japan. It consists of three subway lines, the Kūkō, or Airport Line, the Hakozaki Line and the Nanakuma Line).
The Sunrise Seto is an overnight sleeping car train service in Japan operated jointly by Central Japan Railway Company and West Japan Railway Company since July 1998.
PiTaPa is a contactless smart card ticketing and electronic money system used in the Kansai region of Japan. The name PiTaPa is an acronym of "Postpay IC for Touch and Pay". As of 2007, the card can be used on 19 train systems and 11 buses, including the Osaka Municipal Subway and New Tram, the Keihan Electric Railway, and the Hankyu Railway.
The Breeze Card is a stored value smart card that passengers use as part of an automated fare collection system which the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) introduced to the general public in early October 2006. The card automatically debits the cost of the passenger’s ride when placed on or near the Breeze Target at the fare gate. Transit riders are able to add value or time-based passes to the card at Breeze Vending Machines (BVM) located at all MARTA stations. The major phases of MARTA's Breeze transformation took place before July 1, 2007 when customers were still able to purchase TransCards from ridestores or their employers. They were also able to obtain paper transfers from bus drivers to access the train. As of July 1, 2007 the TransCard and the paper transfers were discontinued and patrons now use a Breeze Card or ticket to access the system, and all transfers are loaded on the card. Breeze Vending Machines (BVM) distribute regional transit provider passes The Breeze Card employs passive RFID technology currently in use in many transit systems around the world.
TOICA is a rechargeable contactless smart card ticketing system for JR Central railway network which was introduced in the Chūkyō Area of Japan on November 25, 2006.
LuLuCa (ルルカ) is a rechargeable contactless smart card ticketing system for public transport in Shizuoka, Japan, introduced by Shizuoka Railway (Shizutetsu) group, from March, 2006. The card is officially called SHIZUTETSU CARD LuLuCa. Just like JR East's Suica or JR West's ICOCA, the card uses RFID technology developed by Sony corporation known as FeliCa. Shizutetsu group also introduced PiTaPa and ICOCA from September 2007 for their lines. Although normal LuLuCa cards cannot be used on regular PiTaPa or ICOCA systems, ten of the most popular IC cards in Japan can be used on LuLuCa, as of 2013.
NicePass is a rechargeable contactless smart card ticketing system for public transport in Hamamatsu, Japan, introduced by Enshū Railway (Entetsu) group, from August 20, 2004, succeeding the previous ET Card, a magnetic prepaid card. The name is an acronym of New Intelligence Card of Entetsu Personal and Smart System. Just like JR East's Suica or JR West's ICOCA, the card uses RFID technology developed by Sony corporation known as FeliCa. This was the first smart card in Japan that is usable for both railway lines and bus lines.
pass-ca is a rechargeable contactless smart card ticketing system for public transport in Toyama, Japan, introduced by Toyama Light Rail, from April 29, 2006. The card is accepted by Toyamakō Line, the only line the company operates. Just like JR East's Suica or JR West's ICOCA, the card uses RFID technology developed by Sony corporation known as FeliCa. However, pass-ca has no known plan to have integrated services with those other cards.
Kitaca is a rechargeable contactless smart card ticketing system for public transport in Sapporo, Japan. Hokkaidō Railway Company introduced the system from October 25 2008. Its name means "the card of north", while 北 is also the first character of Hokkaidō (北海道). Like other electronic fare collection systems in Japan, the card uses RFID technology developed by Sony corporation known as FeliCa. The card has an official mascot of Ezo momonga, a kind of flying squirrel found in Hokkaidō. The mascot is designed by Sora, an illustrator who lives in Sapporo.
PASPY is a rechargeable contactless smart card ticketing system for public transit in Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan. Its name is a portmanteau of pass, happy, and speedy. Like other electronic fare collection systems in Japan, the card uses an RFID technology developed by Sony known as FeliCa, but was the first to employ an 8 KB capacity instead of the standard 4, owing to the need for more capacity to interoperate with the Hiroshima bus system.
SUGOCA is a Japanese rechargeable contactless smart card ticketing system for public transport in Fukuoka Prefecture and environs. The Kyūshū Railway Company introduced the system on 1 March 2009. The name is an acronym of "Smart Urban GOing CArd", while sugoka (凄か) in the local Kyūshū dialect means "great". Like other electronic fare collection systems in Japan, the card uses RFID technology developed by Sony Corporation, known as FeliCa. American graphic artist Rodney Greenblat designed its official mascot, a frog with a clock.
Hayakaken (はやかけん) is a rechargeable contactless smart card ticketing system for public transport in Fukuoka, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan. Fukuoka City Transportation Bureau introduced the system on March 7, 2009.
OPUS is a rechargeable, dual interface (contact/contactless) stored-value smart card using the Calypso Standard and is used by major public transit operators in Greater Montreal and Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. It complies with the ISO/IEC 14443 standard for smartcards, and can be read by smartphones with an NFC antenna.
EX-IC is a contactless smart card system that enables ticketless travel on the Tōkaidō Shinkansen and Sanyō Shinkansen lines in Japan. The system was introduced by JR Central in March 2008 for use on the Tōkaidō Shinkansen, and it was expanded to the Sanyō Shinkansen in August 2009.
Tranpass was the name of a magnetic fare card that was able to be used with many trains and buses running in Nagoya and its suburbs, especially trains and buses operated by Nagoya City and Nagoya Railroad, commonly known as Meitetsu. The Nagoya Municipal Subway sold magnetic fare cards called Yurica cards, and Nagoya Railroad (Meitetsu) sold magnetic fare cards known as SF Panorama cards, but were usually Tranpass-compatible and in such cases were also Tranpass cards and therefore could be used on any transportation system that accepted Tranpass cards. Starting on February 11, 2011, another magnetic fare card system called Manaca supplemented and eventually replaced Tranpass.
Manaca, written in lower-case letters, manaca is a rechargeable contactless smart card used in Nagoya, Japan and the surrounding area since February 11, 2011, when it replaced the Tranpass magnetic fare card system. As of March 23, 2013, it became compatible with 9 other IC cards, allowing it to be used nationwide.
|Predecessors: Ministry of Industry | Cabinet | Home Ministry | Ministry of Communications | Cabinet | Ministry of Railways | Ministry of Transport and Communications | Ministry of Transport | Japanese National Railways | Japan Railway Construction Public Corporation | JNR Settlement Corporation|
|Passenger Railway Companies||JR Hokkaido||JR East||JR Central||JR-West||JR Shikoku||JR Kyushu|
|JR Bus Companies||JR Hokkaido Bus|| JR Bus Tohoku |
JR Bus Kanto
|JR Tokai Bus|| West JR Bus |
West Japan JR Bus Service
Chugoku JR Bus
Hikari Guru Rin Bus
|JR Shikoku Bus||JR Kyushu Bus|
|Smart cards||Kitaca|| Suica |
| TOICA |
|ICOCA||ICOCA (SHIKOKU ICOCA)||SUGOCA|
|Shinkansen lines||Hokkaido Shinkansen|| Tōhoku Shinkansen |
| Tokaido Shinkansen |
| San'yō Shinkansen |
|Shikoku Shinkansen (proposed)||Kyushu Shinkansen|
|Railway museums||Hokkaido Railway Technology Museum|| Railway Museum |
Ome Railway Park
|SCMaglev and Railway Park|| Kyoto Railway Museum |
Tsuyama Railroad Educational Museum
|Shikoku Railway Cultural Center||Kyushu Railway History Museum|
|Rolling stock manufacturers||-|| Japan Transport Engineering Company |
|Nippon Sharyo||Kinki Sharyo (partner)||-||-|
|International operations||-||West Midlands Trains (14.95%)||-||-||-||-|
|Other organizations||JR Freight||Railway Technical Research Institute (RTRI)||Railway Information Systems (JR Systems)|| Railway Telecommunication |
|Japan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency (JRTT)|
|Related topics: MARS (ticket reservation system) | National Railway Workers' Union | Japan Confederation of Railway Workers' Unions | Japan Railway Trade Unions Confederation | All Japan Construction, Transport and General Workers' Union | Sankei Children's Book Award|