Who doesn’t long to leave the big city and explore Japan’s beautiful countryside during summer? But what to do if it’s too far to cycle, the weather isn’t cooperating, or you want to go with friends? There is just the ticket for you on the JR lines!
Originally introduced with university students in mind, Seishun 18 Tickets are a convenient and economical way to travel on Japan Rail. You get 5 days of travel on the JR trains and buses, and even the use of the Miyajima ferry, for just 11,850 yen. You can ride as many trains and buses in a day as you need. And although you can’t use the tickets on express or bullet trains, they’re incredibly useful for these reasons:
Say you just want to go on day trips on the weekends, that’s fine. Spread out those 5 days over 5 weekends. Use the ticket to travel somewhere, stay a few days, and travel back. It means you can enjoy traveling at your own pace and as your schedule allows.
Couples and groups can split the cost between them; so, go enjoy a day out with friends for a very reasonable price. If you’d rather travel alone, you can still share the ticket—just travel on different days. However, if you the ticket is being used by more than one person at a time you must all be together.
Contrary to what the name might imply, you don’t have to be an 18-year old student to buy a Seishun 18 Ticket. Anyone can buy one and you won’t be asked for your passport or identification.
If you happen to be injured or otherwise unable to use all the travel days you can get a reimbursement for the unused days, minus a small fee.
JR Nikko Line train at Nikko Station
Seishun 18 Tickets can be bought at any JR station between the following dates:
Spring: February 20 to March 31
Summer: July 1 to August 31
Winter: December 1 to December 31
These dates could be adjusted, so best to check the Japan Rail website before heading out to buy your ticket. Unless you read Japanese, buying the Seishun 18 Ticket from the ticket dispenser may be a bit difficult. If you’d like help purchasing a ticket, tell an attendant, “Seishun juu-hachi kippu o kudasai”.
Present your ticket to the attendant at the ticket window—with those traveling with you—and receive a stamp for each traveler. Each time to leave or ride another train or bus, you simply show them your ticket.
You can use Seishun 18 Tickets during the following periods:
Spring: March 1 to April 10
Summer: July 20 to September 10
Winter: December 10 to January 10
It’s pretty amazing, unlimited travel on Japan Rail trains, buses and the Miyajima ferry for just 2,370 yen per person per day. By riding the local trains, you can see a very different side of Japan and enjoy the scenery, rather than just watching it whiz past on the bullet train. Use Hyperdia or Google Maps to plan journey times and transfers. Enjoy the ride!
Tōshō-gū Shrine in Nikko. Nikko is about 3 hours from Tokyo, and it would normally cost ¥5,180 return