Photo/Illutration A Hokuriku Shinkansen bullet train at JR Kanazawa Station (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Passengers can use non-contact IC cards instead of paper tickets to ride Shinkansen bullet trains starting on March 14, Yuji Fukasawa, president of East Japan Railway Co. (JR East), said.

The new Shinkansen e-ticket service will be introduced on the Tohoku, Hokkaido, Joetsu, Hokuriku, Yamagata and Akita Shinkansen lines, Fukasawa said at a news conference on Feb. 4.

In general, passengers currently must receive paper tickets before boarding bullet trains.

However, under the new system, customers can register their IC cards, which come in 10 types, such as Suica and Pasmo, at online reservation sites, and then use the cards at automatic ticket gates to enter the bullet train platforms.

Bookings for non-reserved or reserved seats can be made through the Eki Net site, operated by JR East and Hokkaido Railway Co. (JR Hokkaido), or the e5489 site, run by West Japan Railway Co. (JR West).

Users can reserve a maximum of six seats in one go.

JR East started ticketless Shinkansen services called Mobile Suica Tokkyuken in 2008 and Touch de Go in 2018.

However, the Mobile Suica Tokkyuken service was dedicated to mobile devices, such as smartphones, and was not designed for IC cards. The service will end on March 13.

The Touch de Go service was limited to trips in the Kanto region on non-reserved seats on bullet trains.