ICOCA - Prepaid fare systems in Kansai
ICOCA is the prepaid card which West Japan Railway issues and is very convenient card usable for various railroads, buses, and even shopping at stores all over Japan.
There are various kinds of traffic prepaid cards issued in Japan such as Suica, Pasmo, and SUCOCA. ICOCA is used in the Kinki region (Prefectures such as Osaka, Kobe, and Kyoto) of West Japan, the Chugoku region (such as Hiroshima and Okayama prefecture), a part of the Hokuriku region (Ishikawa and Toyama prefecture).
The service of ICOCA supports not only JR but also a private railroads and bus lines.
We recommend foreign residents in Osaka, Kobe, and other areas in the Kansai region to use ICOCA because you don't have to buy tickets to get on and change trains and buses; you can pass the automatic ticket gates with one touch of the card; and you can even pay for shopping with the card inside a station.
You can use ICOCA card at the stores with this sign for shopping.
You can buy ICOCA card at an automatic ticket vending machine and a ticket window in a station of West Japan Railway on the same day.
An automatic ticket vending machine comes with English indication.
For further details please visit to the website below.
Pitapa is another prepaid card widely used in the Kansai region. However it is not recommended for foreign expats because you need to apply for credit card function and opening a bank account, hence you need to take lengthy procedures and periods of time for its issuance.