If you have used public transport in Tokyo you might well have used one of two smart travel cards: the Pasmo or a Suica card. In Tokyo the cards have pretty much the same function, both allowing you to pay for travel on the public transportation system in and around Tokyo. Both smart cards can be also used in other parts of Japan for travel, but sometimes you can only use one and sometimes both. It’s always best to check with the local transport for the area you are visiting. The cards that you pre charge can also be used to purchase stuff in different shops and be used as payment on most vending machines.
Japanese companies love you to have a mascot to represent their company. Normally the cuter the better. While traveling in Japan you will almost certainly come across the cuteness of the company mascot that is one of my favourites – the cute penguin that represents the travel card Suica. You might wonder what a penguin has to do with travel? Well, penguins are seen to swim through water with ease and that’s how it should feel when using the Suicacard, a smooth moving process as such.
The mascot named Suica Penguin, or just Penguin, was designed by Sakazaki Chiharu and has been used as the mascot since 2001. The penguin has become very popular and I can understand why. Who could not like the cute penguin? I’m sure a lot of people choose that smart card for travel just because of the cute penguin on the card. I know I did on our first trip. We saw the Sucia penguin on a lot of posters on the public transport in Tokyo, but didn’t really know what it was to do with, since we had a different travel card on that journey, but after coming home and looking the penguin up, I had a better idea to why we saw it on a lot of places. After that we started to watch a lot of the TV adverts on watch here YouTube featuring the cute penguin, showing how to use the card which I loved. Silly that it might sound, like I said, I’m a sucker for a penguin. I also received some merchandise with thanks to a friend in Japan that hunted the products down and sent them to me, and to this day when we meet always manages to find me some cool Suica penguin stuff. The latest thing being a 2015 year calendar, that we now have on display at home. After our latest trip back in 2014 we found the Suica Penguin store in the Tokyo station, called Penguin Stadium, Pensta. They had loads of stuff to sell, like books, food, games, tea towels, inflatables, key rings and more. Now I will never run out of Suica Penguin stuff. If you’re looking for the shop, it can be found via this link.