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 11,850 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 2,370 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 2,370 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 5,590 yen (reserved Shinkansen seat) / 2,270 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 (2,270 x 2 = 4,540 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 19,080 yen (reserved Shinkansen seat).
If you just travel by slower trains, it’ll take a whole day and you’d have to pay around 11,660 yen. With the “Seishun 18 Kippu” you only pay 2,370 yen!
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, for 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 (2,370 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):
|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 Rail Pass 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 pass 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!
|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|
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!