Eizan Electric Railway will introduce the use of an IC card system from March 16th 2016. Ten major IC cards including ICOCA, SUICA, PASMO and PiTaPa, will be compatible with the new system. In advance of this new system however, use of the Kansai Thru Pass on the Eizan Railway was phased out in January.
IC cards are prepaid rechargeable smart cards that can be used instead of tickets on an increasing number of participating services. They are very easy to use, and they make transfers between services extremely smooth, as you simply need to hold your card over a card reader for a moment in order to pay your fare.
Eizan Electric Railway, operates a small railway network in scenic north-eastern Kyoto that connects the city with popular rural sightseeing locations such as Kibune, Kurama and Mount Hiei. In order to use the Eizan Railway however, you first need to get to Demachiyanagi Station, either by bus or by train via the Keihan Main Line. As Keihan Railways and Kyoto City Bus have already adopted a mutually compatible IC card system, transferring to the Eizan Railway will now be a much smoother and convenient process.
The following popular cards are issued in various parts of the country, but can be used interchangeably nationwide – and now on the Eizan Railway too!
There will also be special discounts for passengers using the PiTaPa IC card who plan to use the Eizan Railway on a frequent basis. Until March of 2017 the following special discount service will be available for frequent use passengers. Passengers using PiTaPa on the Eizan Railway, who spend more than 1500 yen within a calendar month, will receive a 100% discount up to the price of 1800 yen. So between 1501 yen and 1800 yen the card will only be charged for 1500 yen. After the fare reaches 1801 yen a 20% discount will be applied.
That discount service is probably more applicable to local residents than it is for tourists. However, thanks to the introduction of the new IC card system, it will soon be possible to use just one IC card to pay all your fares on almost all rail and bus transportation in Kyoto. This is certainly a beneficial service for local residents and visitors alike.
Article and original photos by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.