Nowadays IC cards for riding trains are common instead of the ticket in Japan. Just touching the card to the sensor of the gate, the gate opens.
Each train company sells its IC card. One of them is ICOCA which is sold by JR West.
When you ride a train, you have to buy a ticket usually. At that time, first you have to look for the price for your destination from the price list. These things are troublesome. But by ICOCA, you don’t need to do these things. By adding money in the card and touching the card to the sensor of the gate, you can ride train – the cost is calculated automatically.
When touching, you don’t need to take out the card from your wallet, because the signal can go through the thin things like a wallet, a smart phone case and so on.
In KANSAI area, there are some trains which are operated by different companies – JR line, OSAKA METRO, some local lines. Usually passengers have to buy tickets for each train if they change the train. But by using ICOCA, what you have to do is only touching – of course enough money must be added to the card. Almost every train company, except for the express trains like SHINKANSEN, accept ICOCA – not only in KANSAI area.