Seishun Juhachi Kippu (Seishun 18 Ticket)
The Seishun Juhachi Kippu (18 Ticket) is an unbeatable option for those who have more time than money, or simply want to explore Japan in a leisurely fashion and save a few yen in the process. The Seishun 18 Ticket is Japan’s cheapest rail travel option, and for that reason alone is well worth considering if you’re on a budget.
Overview of the Seishun Juhachi Kippu (18 Ticket)
The Seishun 18 is a cheaper alternative to the JR rail pass, and differs from the rail pass in several ways.
Unlike the rail pass, which must be purchased outside of Japan, the Seishun 18 is purchased within Japan. It’s also only available during three specific periods each year, and its use is restricted to local (普通 futsu), rapid (快速 kaisoku) or super/special rapid (新快速 shin-kaisoku) trains.
The ticket cannot be used on super express, limited express, express or sleeper trains, including shinkansen.
Cost of the 18 Ticket
The Seishun Juhachi Kippu is sold as a package of five one-day passes. The cost is only 11,500 yen, or only 2,300 yen per day of unlimited travel!
For each one-day pass, the user is entitled to unlimited travel for one 24-hour day (beginning at midnight and ending at 11:59 that same day) on local and rapid trains (non-express trains) throughout Japan.
The pass can be used for any five days during its valid period, which makes it more flexible than the JR rail pass. This means it can be used for five consecutive days, or five individual days spread out, or any combination thereof.
In addition, unlike the rail pass, which is non-transferable and must be used by the original purchaser, the 18 Kippu can be used by up to five different people. So for instance, a group of five could use it together for a single one-day period, or the original user could use it for two days and give it to a friend to use for the remaining three days, and so on.
How, Where and When to Purchase the Juhachi Kippu
The Seishun 18 is sold at the ticket windows (みどりの窓口 midori no madoguchi) at most major JR stations.
Unlike the JR Rail pass, which can be purchased and used year round, the Seishun 18 Ticket can only purchased and used during the following periods:
|Period||Use Between||Purchase Between|
|Spring||March 1 to April 10||Feb. 20 to March 31|
|Summer||July 20 to Sept. 10||July 1 to Aug. 31|
|Winter||Dec. 10 to Jan. 20||Dec. 1 to Jan. 10|
How to Use the Juhachi Kippu
When using the Seishun 18 Kippu, you must show it to the station attendant at the gate, who will stamp each block of usage to mark the start of usage for the day.
Likewise, when exiting the station, show it to the station attendant, who will check it and let you through. Do not pass it through the automatic ticket gate.
Using the 18 Ticket on Night Trains
One great way to cover longer distances while using the Seishun Juhachi Kippu is to use in in combination with several night trains that are technically classified as rapid trains.
By traveling on a night train with the Seishun 18, you can board a train shortly after midnight, arrive at your destination in the morning, and still have an entire day of use left over.
This approach to train travel is very popular with yen-strapped traveling students. In fact, “seishun” basically means “youth,” and the valid travel periods coincide with student holidays, so when traveling in this fashion you’ll likely find yourself in the company of many Japanese youth travelers.
The Seishun 18 can be used on the following night trains:
Moonlight Nagara: Tokyo – Nagoya – Ogaki
Moonlight Echigo: Shinjuku – Niigata
Moonlight Kyushu: Sin-Osaka – Hakata
Moonlight Matsuyama: Kyoto – Matsuyama
Moonlight Kochi: Kyoto – Kochi
The Moonlight Nagara in particular is a popular and effective way to get from Tokyo to Kyoto on a budget.