The onboarding is an easy and straightforward process, and some steps are similar to how you would add a credit card to Apple Wallet. Here’s how, and if you don’t feel like reading, you simply have to set your phone region to Japan (Settings > General > Language & Region). Then launch the Apple Wallet app and follow the instructions on-screen to add the card.
When adding the Suica card, you’re asked if you would like to set it as the Express Transit card. If you agree, then all you had to do when making payments is to tap your phone on the IC pad. It is like VISA payWave, but without the phone authentication.
After I added my Suica card, I used it everywhere. While I had a Suica card before and knew that I could use it to pay for stuff in Japan, I never really gotten around to using it. Why the difference? One explanation was that I mostly used my phone to pay for most things in Singapore, so it was just a natural behaviour for me.
Japan may still be a predominantly cash-based society for now and the move to cashless transactions may be moving more slowly there, but I believe that that is set to change in the near future. Suica has seen year on year increase in usage, and July 2018 saw a record 200 million transactions. I think that the increasingly robust ecosystem of merchants and partners, together with the seamless onboarding, usage and recharging experience are bound to accelerate their momentum.