Forget about the costly Shinkansen and domestic flights, the Seishun 18 Kippu is a great budget way to travel in Japan at a leisure pace.
So how does it work?
It allows anybody to take unlimited rides on local and rapid JR trains (excluding reserved seats) throughout Japan from Hokkaido in the north to Kyushu in the South.
The route covered by the Seishun 18. Photo: JR East
One ticket costs 11850 yen and it can be used for five days worth of travel, either by one person travelling for 5 days, or split among 2 to five people. Each person using it is considered a day, so for example if you are travelling in a pair, you use up two days worth of travel, and if you are travelling in a group of five, all of you can share the ticket for only one day.
A Seishun 18 Kippu which has been used for 1 day (from 2014). Photo: Hapilaki
While it’s a great deal, there are some things to take note of.
For one, it is not valid on Shinkansen, limited express trains, express trains or sleeper cars (It’d be too good to be true if it was, right?). I would only recommend this ticket to leisure travellers who can and are willing to spare half a day to travel. The last time I used this ticket to travel from Osaka to Tokyo, it took me 8 hours. But looking at the bright side, I saved almost 80% of the cost of taking a Shinkansen.
The period of one day begins at midnight and ends at 23:59 that night. So if you are still traveling on a train at 23:59 at the end of a day of travel, the valid period of that day’s travel is extended until you reach your next train stop. Take note that you will need to present your ticket at the station and one of the station staff will stamp it with that day’s date (don’t try inserting it into the automatic ticket machines!).
You can only use the ticket during fixed validity periods. There are also only certain periods when you can buy them. Every year the periods may be revised, so do check first before going to Japan.
|SALES DATES||VALIDITY PERIOD|
|Spring||20th Feb – 31st Mar 2015||1st Mar – 10th Apr 2015|
|Summer||1st Jul – 31st Aug 2015||20th Jul – 10th Sept 2015|
Look out for these logos:You can purchase the ticket from any JR Ticket Offices (Midori-no Madoguchi) and Travel Service Centers (View Plaza) in most JR East stations. Not all stations have Midori-no Madoguchi (みどりの窓口, green window), but they are quite common nonetheless.
JR Ticket Office (Midori-no Madoguchi)
Travel Service Center (View Plaza)
They look something like this:
(Taken from google images)
Personally, I would only recommend it to people who are travelling at a leisurely pace and going to multiple destinations as it can be tiring to drag your luggage everywhere while changing trains constantly.
For me, I used it alone to travel from Hiroshima to Shizuoka, Shizuoka to Osaka, Osaka to Tokyo, Tokyo back to Osaka and lastly Osaka back to Hiroshima.
Without any calculations you can probably already imagine how much I was able to save, even if i opted for the cheaper alternative of taking buses. The total traveling time for each travel took me about 4 to 8 hours, which was quite bearable.
Before considering this ticket, I suggest doing proper research and calculations on your travel expenses first. You can use http://www.hyperdia.com/en/ to check the train routes, duration and cost, but remember to click SearchDetails and uncheck all the boxes first. For people who know Japanese, you can use http://transit.loco.yahoo.co.jp/ instead.
For more information, head to JR East’s Website.