So, you have more time than money, possibly even some sort of weird fascination with slow trains or checking out little visited train stations. Japan’s seishun 18 kippu just might be what you are looking for.
The Seishun 18 Kippu is a non-personal, transferable ticket, meaning that it can be used either by one person on five days or be shared by up to five different people. It is obviously a cheap way to travel around Japan, but it is also an opportunity to see the “real” Japan, watch the trees pass by and stop for many vending machine can-coffees.
I asked Nori what seishun (青春) actually means and while she was using many big words and gestures, I ended up just google translating it. Adolescence (puberty) seems to be the closest English word, but I think I prefer the “blossom of youth” translation much better. Though I think it appeals to mainly young people, actually there is no age restriction, and foreigners are able to buy it also.
The Seishun 18 Kippu can be bought at most JR stations across Japan during these periods only:
Valid: March 1 to April 10
On Sale: February 20 to March 31
Valid: July 20 to September 10
On Sale: July 1 to August 31
Valid: December 10 to January 10
On Sale: December 1 to December 31
The ticket has a 5-day validity, to be used only during the times above. A day constitutes from midnight to midnight and the 5 days do not need to be consecutive. The 18 kippu is only valid on local and rapid train, and by rapid, I mean slow. When using the ticket, you can not use the automatic turnstiles, you must go through the manned gates…