When planning a trip to Japan, one thing that you have to think about is the cost of travel. You will have to pay for accommodation, food, and various other expenses. However, one expense people don’t always remember to factor in is transportation. When you’re traveling long distance, money tends to add up quickly. That being said, you want to travel as cheap as possible right? Well we have just the thing for you! Japan’s main railway company, Japan Railway (JR), gives you the option to buy cheap unlimited ride train tickets called “Seishun 18 Kippu”. This article will explain in detail what Seishun 18 Kippu are, how much they cost, and how to use them.
What is Seishun 18 Kippu?
Seishun 18 Kippu (青春18きっぷ) are sold by Japan Railway for a limited time every year during spring, summer and winter, and include a package of 5 one-day unlimited ride tickets. You may think that because the number 18 is included in the name that only people 18 years and older can buy them, but actually people of all ages can buy the tickets. These tickets only allow unlimited rides on certain trains, but depending on how you use them, you can travel all over the country for a reasonable price. Surely, a dream come true for people that want to take their time and enjoy the scenic route via local trains.
Seishun 18 Kippu first came out in Japan in 1982, when Japan National Railways, the predecessor of JR, offered an unbeatable train ticket called “Seishun Nobi Nobi Kippu (青春のびのびきっぷ)”, which included 5 days of unlimited rides for 8,000 yen. At the time, this deal consisted of four tickets: 3 one-day unlimited ride tickets and 1 two-day unlimited ride ticket you could use during the Golden Week holiday period. During this time, young people were growing away from the idea of using trains and the scheme to sell unlimited use train tickets was to encourage the younger generations to ride the train more often. Currently, unlimited use tickets are no longer available during the Golden Week holidays, but this Seishun 18 Kippu set of 5 unlimited-ride tickets has become the standard. Many people use these tickets to travel at a bargain during spring, summer, and winter vacations.
Official Website: Seishun 18 Kippu
12,050 yen(children and adults)
Seishun 18 Kippu are sold at major JR stations, JR travel centers, and major travel agencies nationwide. Ticket windows are closed early in the morning and late at night, so if you plan on using the tickets during these hours, we recommend you buy them in advance.
Sales and usage periods
**Information for 2022**
Sales period: February 20, 2022 – March 31, 2022
Usage period: March 1, 2022 – April 10, 2022
Sales period: July 1, 2022 ~ August 31, 2022
Usage period: July 20, 2022 ~ September 10, 2022
Sales period: December 1, 2022 ~ December 31, 2022
Usage period: December 10, 2022 ~ January 10, 2023
Unlimited ride routes
Although Seishun 18 Kippu includes unlimited ride tickets, it doesnt mean that you can take every single train in Japan. There are some restrictions like any other ticket. Here are the routes you can and cannot take with the tickets.
Included with the tickets:
・Non-reserved seats on all local and rapid JR line trains nationwide
・BRT(Bus Rapid Transit) system
・JR West Miyajima Ferry
*Please note that the Shinkansen, limited express trains, and green cars cannot be used.
*If you want to use a route that includes a line other than JR, you need to buy a separate ticket.
*If the date changes while you are riding a train with a Seishun 18 Kippu, you can use the ticket until the next station. If you want to continue riding the train after that station, you will need to pay for the fare from that station to your destination.
How to use the tickets
During the usage period, you can use the tickets in whatever way you want to. For example, you could use all 5 tickets for yourself to travel as far as you want over 5 days. Or a group of five people could use all 5 tickets on the same day and all 5 people would have a one-day unlimited ride pass. The way you use the tickets is completely up to you. Just be sure you use up all your tickets by the end of the usage period. By utilizing these tickets, you can visit places outside of the free areas that you can travel to with the Tokyo 1-Day Ticket, making it possible to go to far away locations for cheap.
When staying at a JR Group hotel, if you show proof of your Seishun 18 Ticket, you will receive a discount on your room! When making a reservation, call the phone number below and be sure to tell them that you have purchased the Seishun 18 Kippu.
JR Hotel Group Tokyo Reservation Center
Business hours: (9:30am~6:00pm, closed on Saturdays, Sundays, holidays, and New Year’s)
Official Website: JR Hotel Group (Japanese only)
Optional ticket addition
There is a great opportunity for anyone who wants to use the Seishun 18 Kippu to travel to Hokkaido. With the current Seishun 18 Kippu alone, it’s not possible to get to Hokkaido. However, JR has released another option called, “Seishun 18 Kippu Hokkaido Shinkansen Ticket” and it allows passengers to use the Hokkaido Shinkansen between Okutsugaru-Imabetsu and Kikonai, as well as the Donan Isaribi Railway between Kikonai and Goryokaku.
This optional addition lets you use a one time ticket each way. It will cost you 2,490 yen (children and adults) in addition to the price of the Seishun 18 Kippu. These tickets can be purchased in the same manner as the normal Seishun 18 Kippu.
*This is not available for Hokkaido shinkansen ticket purchase only.
Sales and usage periods are as follows:
**Information for 2022**
Sales period: February 20, 2022 – April 10, 2022
Usage period: March 1, 2022 – April 10, 2022
Sales period: July 1, 2022 – September 10, 2022
Usage period: July 20, 2022 – September 10, 2022
Sales period: December 1, 2022 – January 10, 2022
Usage period: December 10, 2022 – January 10, 2023
Please have a look at the official website for more information(Japanese only).
Seishun 18 Ticket Hokkaido Shinkansen Option Kippu
Now that we have explained everything you need to know about the Seishun 18 Kippu, I’m sure you want to make use of it as soon as possible. However the conditions of use for the tickets are fairly strict so please be sure to check the official website before making your purchase. We hope you can travel with these handy tickets and save some money while doing it!
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Mao Goto is a Japanese freelancer who was born in Hayama, Kanagawa prefecture, and raised in Tokyo. Since 2016 she lives in the Taito Ward, home to a lot of Japanese culture hotspots such as Asakusa, Akihabara, and Ueno. She has been interested in the field of English education of Japan and got her Master’s degree in March, 2020. A lover of photography, travel, sweets, and cross-stitch. Contact her via Facebook.
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