Culture

Kanji Cheat Sheet: Getting a Commuter Pass in Japan

Get a shiny new commuter pass all by yourself with this kanji guide.

By 2 min read

The hardest part of buying a commuter pass (ていけん ) in Japan is actually deciding whether you need one or not. If you find yourself traveling on the same route five times a week and back, then it is worth buying the commuter pass as it will cover the cost between two stations of your choice. Any less and it depends on how much you visit the same stations.

Purchase your commuter pass at the same machine you buy tickets and charge your IC card.

It’s a good idea to keep track of how much you currently spend on transportation, which stations you often visit, and whether they all lie along a single route. At the same time, check whether there are alternative stations that could be incorporated into your route, a little more walking could save you a good amount of money every month.

I highly recommend checking the price of one or two stations after your home or work station.  If you ever use these stations for shopping and the like, include them in your pass. More often than not, the price doesn’t change and it gives you slightly more flexibility.

Once you’ve crunched the numbers, it’s time to buy the pass itself.

Buying a commuter pass at the station

In most cities, the machine will be marked and will be near the station gates. In other places,  simply use the ticket machines and press the button marked . This will lead to another screen, where you will be given the option to get a new card (しん), renew a pass (けいぞく), reissue a pass or change cards (はっこうえ).

English Kanji Romaji
Commuter pass 定期券 teikiken
New pass 新規 shinki
Renew a pass 継続 keizoku
Reissue a pass 発行替え hakkou gae

After pressing the issue new card  button, the next page will ask you to choose whether you want a one month, three month, or six-month pass (有効期限). Be aware of the card prices, as buying the three or six-month pass offers a reasonable discount.

Read the full article on GaijinPot Study!

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