Travel

Seishun 18 Kippu (Train Ticket)

When traveling in Japan you can actually save a lot of money if you know HOW TO!
That’s the good news. The bad news is that there are so many railway passes that it can be very confusing, especially if you visit Japan for the first time. Today I want to introduce my personal favorite train ticket that will help you to save some cash!

 

What is the “Seishun 18 Kippu”?

The “Seishun 18 Kippu” is also known as “Seishun Juuhachi Kippu“.
Seishun (青春) means “youth” and kippu (切符) simply refers to a (train) ticket.
The name might be misleading. While JR (Japan Railway) is targeting university students and younger people with less money with this ticket, everybody can actually purchase and use it!

 

How much does the “Seishun 18 Kippu” cost?

The ticket costs 11,500 yen and is sold three times a year during a set period.
It is one ticket, but it serves as an individual ticket for 5 days (they don’t have to be consecutive). This will give you a JR train ticket at the cost of 2,300 yen per day!

Furthermore the ticket can be used by more than one person. Instead of only you using the ticket on 5 days, you could use it on ONE day, but with five people. The ticket price per person would be 2,300 yen then. The ticket price is the same for adults and children!

 

How to use the “Seishun 18 Kippu”:

The ticket can only be used on JR (Japan Railway) trains, but NOT on Shinkansen, super express, limited express, express or sleeper trains. The JR(!) ferry between Hiroshima and Miyajima is covered by the ticket, but JR buses are not!
The Seishun 18 Kippu can be used on the following night trains:

Moonlight Kyushu (Hakata – Shin-Osaka)
Moonlight Nagara (Tokyo – Nagoya – Ogaki)
Moonlight Echigo (Shinjuku – Niigata)

 

The ticket is very cheap and can be beneficial even for shorter trips if you have to go back and forth. A trip from Kyoto to Himeji would usually cost 5,130 yen (reserved Shinkansen seat) / 2,210 yen (slower train). If you just want to make a short day trip to Himeji from Kyoto you’d have to pay a round-trip ticket (2,210 x 2 = 4,420 yen).
In that case the “Seishun 18 Kippu” would be a great way to save money!

If you’re not in a hurry, you can even manage a long-distance route such as Hiroshima to Tokyo. That’s a little crazy, but it’s possible if you plan it out well. Usually a trip from Hiroshima to Tokyo would cost 18,550 yen (reserved Shinkansen seat).
If you just travel by slower trains, it’ll take a whole day and you’d have to pay around 11,340 yen. With the “Seishun 18 Kippu” you only pay 2,300 yen!

Seishun 18 Kippu Local Train JR

Please note that you can’t walk through the automatic ticket gates with the “Seishun 18 Kippu”. Instead you’ll get a stamp from a station staff member at one of the manned ticket gates at the beginning of a day. The stamp will contain the date of that day. Then you can use the ticket until midnight. If you want to use it beyond that, you’ll need to receive a new stamp for the next day as well. Only in Tokyo and Osaka a single ticket is valid until the last train leaves – even if that’s after midnight.
If you travel in a group of people, you’ll receive a stamp for each member (up to 5 people are possible per ticket).

The use of the ticket is very flexible and various combinations are possible. One example:
Day 1: 2 people travel (2 stamps used, 3 stamps left)
Day 2: 2 people travel (2 stamps used, 1 stamp left)
Day 3: 1 person travels (all 5 stamps used)

You could even sell your ticket to somebody else charging the price for the remaining days / stamps (2,300 yen per stamp).

 

Where can I purchase the “Seishun 18 Kippu”?

The ticket can be purchased at any JR ticket window (みどりの窓口, midori no madoguchi).
However, the ticket is only sold during special times of the year (matching vacation time for students):

AVAILABILITY

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 use the “Seishun 18 Kippu”?

If you want to travel long-distance routes or do a lot of round-trips but are short on time, then the Japan Railpass is probably the better solution for you as you can use the Shinkansen (bullet train). However, if you are a resident of Japan you can’t get the JR Railpass and so the “Seishun 18 Kippu” is a very nice alternative.
If you have a lot of time and also enjoy sitting in the train, staring out of the window while saving cash, then this ticket is great!

 ADVANTAGES:  DISADVANTAGES:
 cheap and uncomplicated  faster trains cannot be used
 very flexible in use and can be shared with others  only available during certain periods of the year
 can be used by anybody (even residents of Japan)  no discount for children

 

Conclusion:
If you’re NOT in a hurry and want to save a LOT of money, this train ticket might be your best bet!
Please note that dates and prices may change, so better check the official JR East website before you plan your trip!

Have you ever used the “Seishun 18 Kippu”?
Please share your experience! smilie

38 Comments

  • My friends and I used a Seishun 18 Kippu to travel from Yokohama to Atami, Ito and Shizuoka, then back to Yokohama.
    Buy one of those tickets and travel as far as you can in a day!

  • I used this once (as an exchange student, so I basically had lots of time), but I probably wouldn’t use it again. Do you have any idea how your bottom hurts after a whole day on trains? I tried to go from Hachinohe to Tokyo and only made it as far as Fukushima. This would have been 170min by bullet train! We had to go North first towards Hokkaido and down on the west coast before heading cross-country again as we did not want to use any non-JR trains.

    Might be great for some uses, but don’t use it for whole day train trips! It’s a waste of your time!

    • Oh yes, I do! After all I’ve been travelling from Tohoku all the way to Kyushu and from Hokkaido to Kansai – all by train and all in one day.
      While I didn’t use local trains, I know what you’re talking about, but I actually really enjoy it. I wouldn’t recommend doing that on consecutive days, but every now and then it can be quite nice! :thumbup:

  • If having the time I think, this is a really good choice! And it always makes a good feeling to know, that we saved up nicely ;P :thumbup:

  • The Ticket is really a huge safer. I once used it to travel from Yokohama to Fukuoka. I dont know if this possibilty still exists, but some years ago there was a night train departing from Yokohama shortly after midnight. I spend 22 hours on that trip but I did save a huge amount of money.

    • Hello Oli!
      Thanks for sharing your experience. I wonder if that’s still possible. I just checked and saw there’s the “LTD. EXP SUNRISE IZUMO” that would bring you all the way to Kurashiki in Okayama over night and from there it’s not too far anymore. That option takes “only” about 18h, though.
      As far as I know this sleeper train is not included in the ticket.

      • Thats right. Many of the night trains cannot be used by the Seishun-18-Kippu as they are in a higher class such as the one you mentioned. But there are still some local night trains which holder of this ticket can use. I remember that the train I have mentioned above was called moonlight nagara or something alike. But I am not sure if this connection still exists.

        • Oh, if it’s that one then it’s not discontinued, but:

          “From March 14, 2009, the Moonlight Nagara discontinued running on a daily basis and became a seasonal train running mainly at busy periods.” (Source: Wikipedia)

  • I used the Ticket from Kobe to Tokyo a few times. If you have a lot of time it’s ok, although pretty boring. During my first trip to Japan, we were 8 students and used the Kippu to get from Tokyo to Kyoto and back. One of my friends was still very drunk on the return trip and randomly got off somewhere between Toyohashi and Hamamatsu. It was very difficult to pick him up again, lol.

    Technically, the Seishun 18 Kippu is valid in some Limited Express Trains. As no regular trains run between Nakaoguni and Kikonai on the Tsugaru Kaikyo Line, you’re allowed to use the unreserved cars.

    • I kind of feel sorry for your friend, but at least you were nice enough to pick him up. *g*

      That’s right. In some regions there’s only a Limited Express available like the one between Aomori and Hokkaido you mentioned. Then the ticket can be used. Thanks for mentioning it! :)

  • I recently used the Seishun 18 Kippu with 2 of my friends. Together we started off our trip by flying from Narita airport to Fukuoka and then stayed with our friends in Kitakyushu. Making our way back to Tokyo, we used the ticket (3 stamps each) first from Kokura to Hiroshima with a stop a Miyajima on the way seeing as we were able to use the ferry to Miyajima with the ticket. Then after 2 days in Hiroshima, we went from Hiroshima to Osaka and after spending 5 days in Kansai we went from Kyoto back to Tokyo.
    The travel was a little tiring, especially the Kyoto to Tokyo leg of the trip but was well worth it considering how much money we saved. Would definitely use it again but I would definitely recommend researching beforehand the places where you need to change trains and the times of how often the trains come at those stations to allow time for toilet breaks and to avoid being stuck at stations where there are less regular trains.

    • Hello Hana!
      Thank you very much for sharing your experience with the Seishun 18 Kippu. :)
      It seems you had the trip well planned and were able to save a lot of money. Great!
      I can only second your advice! People should always check and note train times in advance – even if they’re not using any railway pass.

  • Hi there, very nice and informative blog you have :)
    Me and my friends are planning a trip to Osaka in Oct for 5 nights. We thought of staying 1st 3 nights in Osaka, 4th night in Kyoto and the last night back to Osaka as our flight departing on the next morning. What type of rail pass should we purchase for our travel? We would just be visiting Osaka, Kyoto and Nara. Indeed there are so many types, getting confused. I heard that some of these passes include some attraction entrance fees as well.

    • Hello Wendy! :D
      Thank you very much for the nice compliment.

      I see you are only traveling within Kansai, so you might want to get the “Kansai Thru Pass“.
      I think this pass is great, but only for the days where you travel from one city to another and not within a city.

      After all traveling within Kansai is not THAT expensive, so even without a pass it’s usually alright. Just take the local trains and never use the Shinkansen, because that’s really not necessary in your case!

      Let me know if you have any other questions. ^_^

  • Thanks for your reply :)
    Will look at the Kansai Thru Pass. How about the Osaka Unlimited Pass, will it be good to get it? Does any of these passes include the airport transfer from KIX / Namba Station/ KIX ?

    • There’s also the JR West Railpass. This one covers the Haruka express from the airport, but there are other possibilities to travel from and to KIX.
      Here’s a really good post that probably answers all of your questions! :D

  • I’m going to Japan for a few months (between 6 and 18) starting in November. I’m lucky because I can work from anywhere, including on trains, so this will be perfect for me. I think there will be a lot of Fridays spent working on trains en route for a weekend spent exploring somewhere new!

  • You should mention that while totally okay for a 1-2 hour trip, the seats on local trains do start to get a tad bit uncomfortable after a few hours :) Traveling on local trains has it’s own charm though :sparkling:

    • It really depends. I’ve travelled 4-8h straight in local trains.
      It’s actually quite nice when the trains are not crowded and the seat next to you is available! ;)

  • Thanks for the explanation I really got tons of info from your post, but I do have a question. In this pass can you go in many trips on one day with the ticket being stampped once? or do they stamp it as per the number of trips you take on day?

    Hope to read more posts on how to use the diffrent types of transport in Japan excluding the taxis since its too expensive.

    Thanks :teary:

    • Hello Mona! :)

      You can do as many trips with the ticket in ONE day as you want!
      Some people even used it to go all the way from Hiroshima to Tokyo by local train. They had to change trains several times.
      You can ride as many JR local trains as you want to, get out of the station, get back and continue travel within a day! :D

      Yes, taxis are really expensive. Only very few tourist destinations offer special taxis that are a bit cheaper.
      Thanks, I’ll write more blog posts about public transportation in Japan soon! :)

  • me and my wife have plan to go one way from Kobe to Tokyo on April 8th, this Kippu is cheapest for me, isn’t it? Thanks

  • Hi,
    I am a frequent user of Seishun 18 Kippu…
    Actually pass barrier can used Limited Express Train as long you paid for the “Express” surcharge. I have doing this many times with no experience got throwing out from the Limited Express Train. But make sure to show ONLY your “Express Ticket” to the conductor, but NOT your Seihun 18 Kippu!!! (this told by a Japanese friends)
    By taking the this Limited Express Train, you can save a lot of travel time and by this you can manage to get to the last station on every direction from Tokyo!

    • How much is the “express surcharge” you’re talking about? If it’s rather high, then I’m not sure if it makes such a huge difference and if the Seishun Kippu is still worthwhile.
      And it doesn’t sound like it’s legal, either, so I’d be careful recommending it to anybody. ;)

  • Thank you for the interesting information about the Seishun 18 Kippu train ticket. I didn’t know about it till now. When I was travelling by train through Japan I used the Japan Rail Pass. Well, you can use it only as tourist and buy it abroad. But, I think, it was the best choice for me.

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