The Seishun 18 Kippu (3/3)
How to find timetables and connections
As we have seen, organizing a trip using the Seishun 18 kippu requires a certain amount of preparations as well as a basic knowledge of how the Japanese rail transport works.
We suggest reading first of all the wikipedia page about the Japanese rail transport: Rail transport in Japan;
Inserting the names of the start and end stations as well as the desired time, you will be automatically shown the route with all the connections. However you need to specify in the search settings that you don’t want to use shinkansen and limited express trains. In the case of Jorudan you can directly search with the conditions of the Seishun 18 kippu.
If you have a smartphone you can download the app in Japanese “駅探” (ekitan) to search for the timetable even while you are travelling (if you live in Japan and you have internet access from your phone). In the app settings too specify not to use Shinkansen and Limited Express trains.
It can be useful to carry with you a map of the national railway network to keep an eye on the route and see how much time you have till the next connection, especially if you are planning on using the Seishun 18 kippu more than one time. Book stores sell maps of the railway network, and a few diaries have a similar map in the last pages.
However, be aware that the information available in English are limited. But we assume that people using this ticket are living in Japan, and therefore are able to understand Japanese (even if many times the names of the stations are not exactly easy to read).
Seishun 18 kippu level 100
After giving you the main details, we want to give you a few more advices to take even more advantage of this wonderful ticket that JR allows us to buy three times a year.
When is the Seishun 18 kippu advantageous?
Being the price 2370 yen, it is already advantageous if you go from Kyoto to Himeji in the same day, or from Tokyo to Takasaki or from Chiba to Yokohama, or even to go from Kobe to the Kansai airport, take a flight to Hokkaido and from Sapporo airport go to the central station and from there proceeding, let’s say, to Otaru.
With the Seishun 18 kippu we can enter and exit any station at will, but it is not advantageous, for example, if you only want to use the Tokyo JR lines for one day (in this case you can use a Tokunai pass for 730 yen). So, use the websites we mentioned above to check how much your trip would cost without the Seishun 18 kippu. If it ends up costing more than 2370 yen for the round ticket, then the Seishun will be more advantageous.
Night trains you can use with the Seishun 18 kippu
Useful to avoid paying one more night in a hotel and wasting an entire day on the train, there are still in service (but it is unknown for how much longer, as with every change of schedule a night trains dies, being the continuously expanding Shinkansen faster and more comfortable) three night rapid trains and hence usable with the Seishun 18 kippu.
These trains are:
– Moonlight Echigo: Shinjuku – Niigata
– Moonligh Nagara: Tokyo – Ogaki (between Maibara and Gifu, in the Shiga prefecture, useful to go towards the Kansai)
– Moonlight Shinshu: Tokyo – Hakuba (Nagano)
Foreword: these night trains are very popular, so you should reserve a seat in advance (for around 500 yen) to avoid standing all the night.
Since these trains depart shortly before midnight, it would be a waste to use the Seishun 18 kippu for less than one hour of travel.
In this case it’s smarter to buy a standard ticket to the first station the trains stops at after midnight (for example, the Moonlight Nagara stops at Odawara around 00:05) and then having the Seishun 18 kippu validate when leaving the station the following day, showing the ticket you used to go to the first station the train stopped at after midnight.
Is it possible to sell or transfer the Seishun 18 kippu?
Yes, the ticket is not nominal, therefore if you had bought 5 tickets and have not used all of them you can sell the tickets left to someone you know or to a discounted ticket shop (金券ショップ) that can be found near the big stations, even though in the latter case we are going to lose some money (and similarly, buying a ticket in one of these shops costs a bit more, around 2500 yen instead of 2370).
Pay attention to the periods of purchase and sell. If you go beyond the official sale period, you may still find tickets in the discounted ticket shops, but they are likely to go like hot cakes.
Travelling in a group and meeting/splitting up in different stations
To go on a group trip for a day, it is necessary for everyone to travel together with the ticket holder. The simplest thing to do is meeting at the station’s ticket gates and split up here at the end of our trip. However, it may happen that people live in different parts of the city.
The best thing to do in this case is that the ticket holder, possibly the person coming from farther away, acts as a “taxi”, going to take one by one all the other people, exiting the ticket gates and reentering them with the other person. For every person joining the group the railwayman will put another stamp on the ticket. The same happens at the end of the journey.
We hope to have given with this post some useful information and ideas for a trip. Moving between the big cities may be a bit uncomfortable and tiring, but if you want to put at the heart of your train journey the wonderful landscapes, changing with the seasons, the fairy-tale atmosphere of the small stations in the middle of rice paddies and the encounters you can have around Japan, a trip with the Seishun 18 kippu is really an interesting experience to get to know unexpected aspects of this country!