Friday, February 09, 2007

"Seishun 18 Kippu" JR Ticket 20th Anniversary Discount

Have you heard of the "Seishun 18 Kippu" JR ticket?

The JR group offers this special ticket for summer, winter, and spring vacation seasons. The ticket contains 5 spaces to put date stamps. It is effective until 12 pm on the night of the day a date stamp is entered by station staff or a train conductor. You can take all local JR trains but cannot take rapid or express services. It is not the best option for a quick trip, but it is good for people who have a lot of time but no money, so it is ideal for students.

You can use the ticket 5 times during the period or you can share it with some friends. For example, you can enjoy a 5-day trip for one person or you can enjoy a 2-day trip with a friend and 1 day trip for one person, etc.

For more information for the "Seishun 18 Kippu" JR ticket (English):
The usual fare for the "Seishun 18 Kippu" JR ticket is 11,500 yen, so it works out to 2,300 yen/day.

But for this spring vacation, as the 20th anniversary of the JR group, they are selling it only at 8,000 yen! (1,600yen/day!!)

Information for the 20 th anniversary discount (Japanese):

FYI, you can go to Kumamoto in Kyushu island from Tokyo with one ticket with the following plan.

There is a night train called "Moonlight Nagara" from Shinagawa station bound for Ogaki in Gifu prefecture during vacation seasons. It departs from Shinagawa at around 23:55. Just buy a normal ticket from Shinagawa to the first station where the train stops after 12 pm (Yokohama or somewhere). And ask the conductor to put a date stamp on the "Seishun 18 Kippu" in the train or when you go out from a gate. Then, you can use the "Seishun 18 Kippu" for 24 hours. You will get to Kumamoto around 11pm after 7 or 8 times transfers. Of course, it can be the cheapest way to get to Kyoto, Osaka or Nara.

Have a nice trip in early spring in Japan!!

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Saturday, December 23, 2006

Emperor's Birthday

Today is the day we celebrate the current Emperor's birthday. Emperor Akihito was born in 1933, so I guess that makes him 73 years old today. The former Emperor's birthday was on April 29, and this date is still a public holiday, although it has been renamed "Green Day".

In Canada, we celebrate the birth of our Queen on (or before) May 24. This date is actually Queen Victoria's birthday (May 24, 1819), and not the birthday of our current monarch, Queen Elizabeth (born April 21, 1926). May 24 is considered Queen Elizabeth's "official" birthday. I usually call this day "Victoria Day", but it also has other names. In Ontario, we sometimes call it "May Two Four" because "Two Four" is slang for a case of twenty four bottles of beer, which is the usual amount of beer that people buy for a party. After the long, cold winter, Victoria Day weekend gives people a chance to go outside again and relax. In Canada, it is common for people to have cottages or trailers, but they are often not winterized, so the Victoria Day weekend is the first time that people go to their cottages or trailers in the year. There is a lot of cleaning to be done on that weekend, but we try not to let that interfere with the party spirit. In other parts of Canada, this weekend is apparently known as "May Long" or "May Run". (I have never heard these terms before, but I just found them on Wikipedia.)

I always assumed that monarchs were expected to have an official birthday that didn't move around, so I was surprised to find out that December 23 is the current Emperor's actual birthday. I like the fact that everyone gets a holiday on that day, and that the previous Emperor's birthday has also been preserved.

You can read more about the Emperor's birthday and Victoria Day on Wikipedia.

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