In this article, Instead of talking a particular touristic attraction, we’ll show you a convenient and cheap way to get around in Japan.
Tourists who visit Japan have the chance to use the fantastic Japan Rail Pass. However, people with a different visa cannot have access to this.
Not all hopes are lost though. Three times a year there’s the chance to go around by train at an astonishingly cheap price: 2370 yen for unlimited travel in one day on all JR lines!
This ticket is called Seishun 18 kippu (青春18きっぷ) and despite it having the words seishun (youth), it has nothing to do with one’s age: this ticket can be bought by anybody! There are some terms and conditions ticket buyers must adhere to though.
Let’s see which ones:
– This ticket may only be used during certain periods of the year
– If you using the ticket in a group, the whole group needs to enter/leave the same train station
– You must show the ticket to the manned turnstile’s desk instead of inserting it into the turnstile itself
– Only local (普通) and rapid (快速) trains may be used with this ticket. Shinkhansen, express trains (急行) and limited express trains (特急) may not be accessed.
– This ticket may only be used on the JR network: East, Central, West, Hokkaido, Shikoku and Kyushu. It therefore cannot be used on subways and private rail networks (Tokyu, Hankyu, Odakyu, Seibu etc.)
– The ticket, once validated, is valid from the first train of the day up until the last train before midnight. If you are on board a train at midnight, the ticket is valid until the next station.
The Seishun 18 Kippu is sold three times per year: spring, summer and winter.
See the official website to know the exact dates.
Where to buy it
You may purchase the Seishun 18 Kippu at manned ticket desks in JR stations (みどりの窓口, midori no madoguchi) or in most automated ticket vending machines. Differently from the Japan Rail Pass, only purchasable abroad, this ticket may be virtually bought in any Japanese train station (with the obvious exception of unmanned, very small ones).
The ticket may be purchased using cash or credit card. You will be given, along with the ticket itself, a 4-page booklet with instructions in japanese on how to use it. Be careful not to lose the ticket as it is non-personal and non-refundable!