Hey, Fergal here,
Today I am going to talk about the Seishun Juhachi Kippu, also known as the “Youth 18” ticket.
This ticket is seasonal, and only available during the main holiday periods for students, which are also the main holiday times for teachers so its a good opportunity for cheap travel.
The seasons are
On sale: February 20th to March 31st
Valid: March 1st to April 10th
On sale: July 1st to August 31st
Valid: July 20th to September 10th
On sale: December 1st to January 1oth
Valid: December 10th to January 20th
The ticket costs ¥11,500. This works out at ¥2,300 per day of use. Considering it costs about ¥3,500 to go from Kanazawa to Kyoto you can save money easily.
The ticket can be used all over Japan. It allows 5 days unlimited travel on local or rapid trains. You can travel as far as you want and get on or off as many times as you want within the “Day of Use”. The ticket will be date stamped the first time you use it on that particular day. This ticket does not have to be used on consecutive days.
It is important to note that the “Day of Use” is a calender day, not a 24 hour period. If you use the ticket at any time on one day, that “Day of Use” ends at midnight that day, and if you want to keep travelling you will begin a new day of use.
Most interestingly, this ticket can be used by multiple people on the same day. For example if five people were going on a day trip. They could get five stamps on the ticket for the same day (to cover all five people), train to the location in the morning and train back in the evening.
Or two people could travel by getting two stamps on the ticket.
If the entire ticket is unused it can be refunded for a handling charge of ¥210 but only while it is valid.
The ticket can be bought at JR ticket offices, view plazas (JR Travel Centres) and most travel agencies.
The ticket does not entitle you to travel on express train, limited express, sleeping coach, green car or JR buses.
I really like this ticket. Its a good way to travel and very useful. I also really like trains in general.
Anyway I hope you consider using the Juhachi Kippu for your travelling needs this spring break,
However if you are flush with cash you can off course get to places faster by using the more expensive trains, but if you have the time and less money then this is the way to travel.
Finally for all your time tabling needs, there is this great link to a website that gives japanese train timetables in English