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Discounted Rail Travel Japan: Seishun 18 Kippu

Most travelers planning a trip to Japan have probably heard of the Japan Rail (JR) Pass. For those wanting to cover some ground in quick time and tick the bullet train off their Japan bucket list, it represents good value.

But what if you want to do Japan for less and/or for longer? An excellent option for travelers wanting to see more of Japan on a budget is the Seishun 18 (juuhachi) kippu or the “Youth 18 ticket.” It was originally conceptualized for students wanting to take longer distance trips during holiday periods. But the good news is, anyone can use the ticket – no matter your age, whether you are a student or not, a resident of Japan or just passing through!

How much does the Seishun 18 kippu cost?

The ticket costs ¥11,500 for five days of unlimited travel on local/rapid JR services, equating to just ¥2,300 per day. How much of a saving is this? Let’s take a look at how much it would normally cost to travel on the same services on these popular tourist routes:

Tokyo – Kyoto: ¥7,980 vs.  ¥2,300 with the Seishun 18 kippu

Tokyo – Osaka: ¥8,510 vs.  ¥2,300 with the Seishun 18 kippu

Osaka – Hiroshima: ¥5,460 vs.  ¥2,300 with the Seishun 18 kippu

Being able to travel as far and wide as you like (or can get in a day) on eligible trains for such a cheap flat-rate is a major advantage of this ticket. Not to mention that it doesn’t have to be used over consecutive days. Perfect for the traveler who wants to stop somewhere for a few days before resuming their journey without wasting cash invested in a consecutive-day ticket.

The ticket may also be shared with others in your traveling party. So for example, a couple could use it twice (2 people x 2 days of travel = 4 uses) and have one extra day for one of them to use. Or a group of five may buy one ticket and use it up in one day. Basically, however you want to use the five days worth of travel is up to you. A fantastic option if you want to take advantage of the savings the Seishun 18 kippu has to offer but won’t be requiring five days of travel each.

Where can I get it?

The Seishun 18 kippu is a paper ticket that can be bought at JR Ticket Offices (Midori-no Madoguchi) and Travel Service Centers (View Plaza) in most JR East stations.

Look out for these logos:

JR Ticket Office (Midori-no Madoguchi) Travel Service Center (View Plaza)

How can I use it?

When entering/exiting train stations, simply show your ticket to the station officer (usually in a box or information counter to the side of the ticket wickets) at manned ticket gates. It cannot be put into the automated ticket machines. If you are traveling on the ticket for the first time that day, the officer will validate it by stamping it with the date. You may then ride on any eligible train until midnight (as long as you board a train by 23:59, you may remain on the train until your stop on the same day’s ticket).

What trains can I take?

Any local or rapid train on any JR line throughout Japan. That includes JR Hokkaido, JR East, JR Central, JR West, JR Shikoku and JR Kyushu. If you are traveling to Miyajima to see the famous red torii gate in the water at Itsukushima Shrine, it also includes travel on the JR Miyajima Ferry. It is not valid for use on shinkansen (bullet trains), express, limited express, sleeper or reserved-seat trains, or JR buses. It is designed for those wanting to see Japan at a cheaper rate and more leisurely pace.

When can it be used?

The Seishun 18 kippu is available for sale and use during the following periods:

Season:  Validity Period: Sale Date:
Spring March 1st – April 10th  February 20th – March 31st
Summer July 20th – September 10th  July 1st – August 31st
Winter December 10th – January 10th  December 1st – December 31st

Should I get the Seishun 18 kippu or JR Pass?

That really depends on the timing of your trip, how frequently you plan to use the rail network, how much time you have to travel between destinations and your residency status. Check out our side-by-side comparison of the two tickets to help you decide which might work better for you!

Want more discounted travel options in Japan?

TRAVEL TIP: There are lots of savings to be had in Japan if you just know where to look! Before you pay for travel or attractions separately, a great place to start is to head into a JR information/ticketing counter or check out the relevant JR website (see JR East as an example), to see what travel deals are currently available. You can often get great discounts on travel to/from places of interest as well as entry into attractions simply by pre-purchasing at a JR ticket counter.

Need some help planning your rail travel in Japan? Want to search Japanese train timetables and view distances and prices? Check out our post on How to Search Train Schedules in Japan using Hyperdia.

Have you ever used the Seishun 18 kippu or other discounted rail/attraction ticket in Japan? Where did you go and what was your experience?

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Ada Wilkinson

Wednesday 18th of March 2015

By the way I have a question, since you cannot use this for Shinkansen, how do you search for JR Lines/Local trains only to use this pass? I could not find it in Hyperdia and it's always giving me Shinkansen Option.

Jessica - Notes of Nomads

Wednesday 18th of March 2015

There's a link that says 'More options' above the search button. Just click on it and it will bring up a pull down tab of various advanced options. There you can uncheck the services you don't want to take. :)

Ada Wilkinson

Wednesday 18th of March 2015

Shame on me. I've been living in Japan for over a year now and I just found out about this! I should be more meticulous when searching for discounted pass around Japan. Thank you Jessica for this post This is probably my next ticket pass after my tiring trip using the JR Kanto Pass!

Jessica - Notes of Nomads

Wednesday 18th of March 2015

Thanks Ada! I'm sure you'll really get a lot of value out of it!

Discounted Rail Travel Japan: JR Pass vs. Seishun 18 Kippu

Wednesday 17th of December 2014

[…] Rail travel is one of the most convenient ways to explore Japan, but the costs for long-distance travel can be steep. We have recently posted about two popular discounted rail passes: the popular JR Pass and the less well-known Seishun 18 kippu. […]

silvia storf

Wednesday 16th of April 2014

Jessica, thanks a lot for your great, valuable and extensive article about the Seishun 18 Kippu! Your very detailed advices are a very helpful guide for foreigners visiting Japan using this very convenient train ticket! You explain very clear in your blog everything about this ticket, so I already got a good idea about it before starting on my trip to Japan! I can only say again: JESSICA; THANKS A LOT! YOUR WORK AND HELP IS VERY VALUABLE! Kindly Regards, Silvia Storf

Jessica Korteman

Tuesday 20th of May 2014

Hi Silvia,

Thanks so much for your lovely comment. So glad that this information assisted you with your trip!

Was very happy to read your email about how much you enjoyed your time in Japan. I knew you would! An amazing country and, yes, I do hope that we can meet on the road somewhere and talk about "our Japan" :) Who knows? Maybe see you in the great country itself! :)

Hope all is well back in Germany and that your next adventure isn't far away.

Best regards,

Jess x


Thursday 19th of December 2013

Is this still available for in the summer season 2014 because when I look on the JReast site I only see winter and spring as season for the tickets to be used.

Jessica Korteman

Saturday 21st of December 2013

Hi Esther,

I just had a look and you're right, there is only a winter and spring season listed now. I checked the Japanese site to verify and there was a document that came out a month ago that stated the sale and validity dates for winter 2013-14 and spring 2014. Usually the sale and validity dates don't really vary from year to year and so are always up on their website, but it may be the case that they are changing this and are now announcing the dates closer to the time.

I wouldn't imagine they would stop issuing the ticket for the summer season as it is one of the most popular seasons to use the ticket, but I don't know for sure. It may be the case that they just haven't decided on the dates yet and will announce them later.

There is no limit as to the number of sales of the Seishun 18 Kippu as you are using non-reserved trains so it is like getting on any regular JR train service. Therefore you don't have to worry about the ticket selling out but you might not know if the ticket will be available until closer to the time.

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