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:
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?