East Japan Railway Company (JR East) is the largest passenger railway company in the world, serving about 16 million passengers daily. The company's 7,526.8 km rail network covers the eastern half of Honshu (Japan's main island), including the Tokyo metropolitan area. The company has 1,699 stations in its service area, and operates more than 12,000 trains on conventional lines and 309 trains on the shinkansen (bullet train) daily. In addition to its railway business, JR East operates other kinds of business such as retail shops, restaurants in stations, hotels, shopping centers, and office building management.
The company introduced its "Suica" IC card in Tokyo metropolitan area stations in November 2001 and the number of holders now exceeds 17 million. The area where Suica can be used is steadily being expanded.