So you\u2019ve been stuck in the big city for a while, beating your weary feet around the urban jungle while dreaming of an\u00a0escape? Good news\u2014Seishun 18 ticket season offering Japan budget travel options to the most frugal of travelers. The Seishun 18 ticket, or Seishun Juuhachi Kippu, is a tri-annual discount ticket set that allows five (non-consecutive is OK) days of (almost) unlimited travel on JR lines (excluding limited express and bullet\u00a0trains). One day\u2019s ticket is valid for use by one traveler, meaning that\u00a0you can split the Seishun 18 set with someone, as long as you travel together. Extreme couponers (yes, it's a word now) take note: this is an opportunity to reach otherwise exorbitant\u00a0destinations for just ,\u00a0which works out to \u00a0a day\u2014now that\u2019s cheap. For details on where and when to buy this awesome rail pass, head over to our main post on the Seishun 18 ticket. 5 easy\u00a0escapes\u00a0using the Seishun 18 ticket Here are\u00a0five\u00a0recommended getaway routes from Tokyo, in no particular order. Bonus points if you check them all off the travel list! Ishinomaki Ishinomaki is a beautiful coastal city in Miyagi Prefecture, part of the T\u014dhoku region. In March 2011, this region was gravely affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent tsunamis. Ishinomaki has been\u00a0working hard at making a recovery, and supporting local tourism is one\u00a0way\u00a0you can help. The Ishinomaki area has awesome vistas, beaches, parks, gardens, museums and even islands (including the sacred Kinkasan Island, home of the Koganeyama shrine). While wandering around, you\u2019ve got to check out the Ishinomaki Mangattan Museum, dedicated to manga author Sh\u014dtar\u014d Ishinomori (creator of Cyborg 009 and the Kamen Rider mangas). The San Juan Bautista Park is also pretty cool, as it features a full-sized replica of the 17th century Japanese sailing ship of the same name. From Ishinomaki (sticking to JR) you can also access Wakuya Castle, the remnants of a late 16th-century fortress. Travel time: 8 hours, 20 minutes Distance: 420km Transfers: 5 Departure Time Departure Station Ride Time Departure Train 10:45 Shinjuku 108 min JR Shonan-Shinjuku Line Local 12:37 Utsunomiya 50 min JR Utsunomiya Local 13:33 Kuroiso 64 min JR Tohoku Line Local 15:37 Koriyama (Fukushima) 47 min JR Tohoku Line Local 16:32 Fukushima (Fukushima) 81 min JR Tohoku Line Local 17:58 Sendai (Miyagi\/JR) 63 min JR Tohoku\/Ishinomaki Line Rapid 19:01 Arrive Ishinomaki ------- ------------------------ Takayama Nestled deep in the mountains of Gifu Prefecture lies Takayama, an authentic old town with entire streets of buildings dating back to the 17th-century Edo period. The local specialty is sake, and you can spend the cash you saved on transport sampling it at the many traditional breweries. You might see big balls of cedar branches hanging above the doors, but don\u2019t worry\u2014they only fall on you when you don\u2019t pay for your sake! Takayama is a great destination for nature-loving cheapos, who are free to\u00a0hike the various mountain trails in the area. There are also a bunch of museums, galleries, and those old Japanese houses we mentioned\u2014some of which are open to the public. Travel time: 10 hours, 30 minutes Distance: 532km Transfers: 5 Departure Time Station Ride Time Departure Train 09:22 Tokyo 106 min JR Tokaido Line Local 11:16 Atami 73 min JR Tokaido Line Local 12:41 Shizuoka 70 min JR Tokaido Line Local 14:02 Hamamatsu 34 min JR Tokaido Line Local 14:51 Toyohashi 75 min JR Tokaido Line New Rapid 16:15 Gifu 38 min JR Takayama Line Local 16:58 Minoota 164 min JR Takayama Line Local 19:42 Takayama -------- -------------------- Hiroshima Hiroshima is one of the farthest west destinations that can be reached in a day using the Seishun 18 pass. The city's\u00a0tragic history is well known, but its\u00a0people have reached forward into the future by letting their\u00a0story serve as a way to promote world peace. Three must-visit places are the Peace Memorial Park, and the Peace Memorial Museum and iconic\u00a0A-Bomb Dome (a building that survived largely intact) within the park. Other spots to check out include the Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum, the Garasu-no-sato glass museum, and Momijidani Park. The area is also not without castles and shrines, with Hiroshima Castle, Fukuyama Castle and Senko-ji temple worth a look. Miyajima Island and its famous Itsukushima Shrine (the one in the sea) are close by, and can be accessed with the Seishun 18 pass by hopping onto a ferry. Hiroshima is renowned for its food culture, so be sure not to leave without trying the okonomiyaki. Travel time: 15 hours Distance: 895 km Transfers: 8 Time Station Ride Time Departure Train 08:36 Tokyo 111 min JR Tokaido Line Local 10:35 Atami 75 min JR Tokaido Line Local 12:03 Shizuoka 72 min JR Tokaido Line Local 13:21 Hamamatsu 34 min JR Tokaido Line Local 14:03 Toyohashi 127 min JR Tokaido Line Rapid 16:18 Maibara 54 min JR Special Rapid 17:14 Kyoto 28 min JR Special Rapid 17:45 Osaka 86 min JR Special Rapid 19:29 Aioi (Hyogo) 65 min JR Sanyo Line Local 20:35 Okayama 87 min JR Sanyo Line Local 22:18 Itozaki 80 min JR Sanyo Line Local 23:38 Hiroshima --------- ----------------- Nagano Home of the 1998 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, Nagano is a great spot for snowboarding and skiing (and chilled hiking in summer). The ski resorts of Hakuba, Shiga Kogen Heights and Nozawa Onsen are all popular. There are also so many hot springs\u00a0that a traveler could legitimately go on a hot tubbing trip, with a little skiing and sightseeing on the side. Nagano Prefecture is also home to the Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park, the (apparently) only place in the world where you can watch up-close (and sometimes a little too personal) Japan\u2019s famous Snow Monkeys soaking in their own local onsen. Other cool attractions are the remains of the Ueda Castle, the 240-year-old Masuichi Sake Brewery, Zenkoji Buddhist Temple and the Olympic Memorial Arena in Nagano City. Time: 7 hours Distance: 298km Number of Transfers: 2 Time Station Ride Time Departure Train 08:40 Tokyo 71 min JR Chuo Line Rapid 09:53 Takao (Tokyo) 107 min JR Chuo Line Local 12:01 Kofu 119 min JR Chuo Line Local 14:26 Matsumoto 75 min JR Shinonoi Line Local 15:41 Nagano -------- ----------------------- Kyoto Japan\u2019s cultural center and historical\u00a0capital can be reached fairly easily using the Seishun 18 ticket. Kyoto has over a dozen\u00a0UNESCO World Heritage properties and a whole lot of ancient charm. You can don a kimono (you know you want to) and visit Kiyomizu Temple, or perhaps stroll under the cherry blossom trees lining the Kamogawa River. Kyoto is known for its green tea, yatsuhashi (delicious triangular sweets) and tofu, so be sure to try some while you\u2019re there. If you have extra time, a random but interesting idea is to visit the Toei Uzumasa Eigamura Movie Museum, where you can explore the history of Japanese cinema. Travel time: 8 hours, 6 minutes Distance: 513km Transfers: 6 Departure Time Departure Station Ride Time Departure Train 08:36 Depart Tokyo Station 111 min Tokaido Line Local 10:35 Atami 75 min Tokaido Line Local 12:03 Shizuoka 72 min Tokaido Line Local 13:21 Hamamatsu 34 min Tokaido Line Local 14:03 Toyohashi 88 min Tokaido Line Local 15:37 Ogaki 35 min Tokaido Line Local 16:18 Maibara 54 min JR Special Rapid 17:12 Arrive Kyoto ------- ------------------- What to keep in mind\u00a0when planning your trip First of all, if your route involves a non-JR line, you\u2019ll be looking at extra fares. In addition, some JR trains require seat reservations (which you\u2019ll have to cough up for too). Since you can\u2019t take any of the super fast trains, the Seishun 18 ticket might make your travel times longer and your routes a little more challenging than they normally would be, but for the crazy low price, it\u2019s worth it. You might think traveling overnight is a good idea\u2014and it can be, but the night trains you can use are limited too. Two\u00a0you can, at least in theory, ride are\u00a0the Moonlight Nagara, which runs on a Tokyo-Nagoya-Ogaki route, and the Moonlight Shinshu from Shinjuku to Matsumoto (one direction only). Current information on these seasonal trains is hard to come by, as are tickets. Speak to staff at a JR ticket office for\u00a0information. For a detailed breakdown of the intricacies of the Seishun 18 ticket, take a look at the Japan Rail East website. And for train timetable information in English when you\u2019re plotting your trip, Hyperdia is useful. For other trip ideas, check out our main\u00a0Seishun 18 article. Note:\u00a0The above schedules\u00a0are intended as estimated guides only. This post was originally published on March 14, 2014. Last updated August 15, 2017.