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"18x2 Beyond Youthful Days" location hunt with the JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area)

Have you seen the movie "18x2 Beyond Youthful Days" in cinemas lately? The movie centres on Jimmy, a young man from Taiwan. He met Ami, a backpacker from Japan, and the two grew close during a summer working together. But as Jimmy struggles to commit to the relationship, Ami returns home. Some 18 years later, he journeyed to Japan to see his first love again, reminiscing about the olden days and meeting various people during his trip.


Jimmy’s journey includes many locations shot on-site in Tokyo, Nagano and Niigata, amongst others that you could visit in real life. Let’s trace his footsteps with the help of the JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area)!


1. Shinjuku Golden Street

We begin with JR Shinjuku Station (新宿駅 Shinjuku-eki), the nearest JR station to Golden Gai (ゴールデン街). If you arrive in Tokyo via Narita Airport, JR Shinjuku Station is a straight shot via the Narita Express (N’EX). If you start from Haneda instead, you can take the Tokyo Monorail and transfer to the Yamanote Line (山手線 Yamanote-sen) at JR Hamamatsuchō Station (浜松町駅 Hamamatsuchō-eki). Train rides on the Narita Express, Tokyo Monorail, and JR local lines in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area, are all covered by the JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area).

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Sign for Shinjuku Golden Street. (Image credit: ©2024 “18x2 Beyond Youthful Days” Film Partners)


Golden Street comprises a collection of independently owned bars, and the narrow streets and crowded bars make for a good first experience of Tokyo’s bustling nightlife. If you’re feeling adventurous, grab a drink, as our protagonist Jimmy did, and after that, visit the famous Godzilla display at the Toho Cinemas building nearby.


Once you arrive at JR Shinjuku Station, look out specifically for the East Exit (東口 Higashi-guchi), with the yellow portions indicating directions to specific exits. If all goes well, you should find yourself at a basement exit. From there follow the signs in the direction of Kabukicho, and once you’re above ground, Golden Street is a short walk away.


2. JR Shinagawa Station

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Jimmy begins his search from Shinagawa. (Image credit: ©2024 “18x2 Beyond Youthful Days” Film Partners)


One of the stops on the Yamanote Line, JR Shinagawa Station (品川駅 Shinagawa-eki) is another major interchange where you can transfer to other JR local lines heading towards Yokohama (which you should do if you are following Jimmy’s route).


Tip: If you are using the JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area), consider exchanging for your rail pass here if you want to avoid crowds at the airport or JR Tōkyō Station (東京駅 Tōkyō-eki). If you bought your pass via JR-EAST Train Reservation, you may also use one of the automated ticketing machines equipped with a passport reader. There is also a JR-EAST Travel Service Center where you can collect your rail pass or have any railway travel-related enquiries.


Important note: If you are heading west towards Nagoya, Kyoto or Osaka, take note that the JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area) does not cover rides on the Tokaido Shinkansen.


3. Railway Crossing near Kamakurakōkōmae Station

The railway crossing near Enoshima Electric Railway (Eno-den)’s Kamakurakōkōmae Station (江ノ島電鉄 鎌倉高校前駅 Enoshima Dentetsu Kamakurakōkōmae-eki) is one of the most famous railway crossings in Japanese pop culture, and Jimmy also finds his way here during his journey.


If you are making your way out to the Enoshima area, this place is not to be missed. However, JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area) users will need to make a transfer at either one of the terminal stations of Eno-den at Fujisawa or Kamakura. The ride on Enoden is not covered by the rail pass.


From JR Shinagawa Station, you can take the Tōkaidō Main Line (東海道本線 Tōkaidō Honsen) and make a transfer at JR Fujisawa Station (藤沢駅 Fujisawa-eki). Alternatively, take the Yokosuka Line (横須賀線 Yokosuka-sen) and make a transfer at JR Kamakura Station (鎌倉駅 Kamakura-eki). This part of the journey is covered by the JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area).


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Kamakurakōkōmae Railway Crossing.  (Image credit: ©2024 “18x2 Beyond Youthful Days” Film Partners)


4. Yuigahama Beach

Doing a slight backtrack from the railway crossing, we end up at Yuigahama Beach (由比ヶ浜). As we approach the summer season, the beach will be perfect to engage in some water activities and is reasonably close enough to Tokyo for it to be done as a day trip. In the movie, Jimmy visits the beach and recalls some of his past that had led him on his journey.


The closest station to the beach, like the previous location, is on the Eno-den, which is not covered by the JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area). However, if the weather is nice, you may also consider walking from JR Kamakura Station, which is covered by the JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area).

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Summer beach activities at Yuigahama Beach  (Image credit: ©2024 “18x2 Beyond Youthful Days” Film Partners)


So far, the first four destinations, combined with other activities at Enoshima, can realistically be covered in one day, so you can make full use of your JR EAST PASS, with 4 more days left to spare. The next few locations will take you out of the greater Tokyo region!


5. Nawate Street Shopping District, Matsumoto

Starting from JR Shinjuku Station, the next destination requires a trip on the Limited Express Azusa, which will take you directly to Matsumoto. From there you can either take a bus or walk to Nawate Street Shopping District (縄手通り Nawate-dōri), where our main protagonist runs into an unexpected encounter.


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A sign along Nawate Street advertising local cuisine and specialties. (Image credit: ©2024 “18x2 Beyond Youthful Days” Film Partners)


Matsumoto Station also serves as a starting point for various side trips to the various mountainous regions of Nagano Prefecture, aside from visiting Nawate Street Shopping District and the next location.


From Matsumoto Station, you can take the Ōito Line (大糸線 Ōito-sen) to Shinano-Omachi Station, the entrance to the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route. Another popular region is Kamikochi, where you can take in the mountainous scenery while hiking.


From Shinjuku, the route that the Azusa takes goes through JR Ōtsuki Station, with some services stopping at the station. From JR Ōtsuki Station, you can transfer to the Fujikyu Line and head to Kawaguchiko Station near the Fuji Five Lakes area.


Tip: The JR TOKYO Wide Pass covers the entire journey from Shinjuku to Kawaguchiko, including the section from Otsuki onwards operated by Fujikyu Railway.


6. Matsumoto Castle

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Matsumoto Castle at night. (Image credit: ©2024 “18x2 Beyond Youthful Days” Film Partners)


While you are already in Matsumoto, why not visit Matsumoto Castle (松本城 Matsumoto-jō) as well? It is only a short walk away from Nawate Street and our protagonist finds himself there at night, illuminated by floodlights against the night sky.


He did miss out on the Ice Sculpture Festival, where the castle will be lit up with many wonderful colours that should be part of every tourist’s itinerary. Keep that in mind when planning your itinerary to cover the places Jimmy has visited.


7 & 8. Iiyama Line

Nagano and Niigata are known for having one of the highest snowfall levels in Japan and a train line where the highest snowfall was recorded in the past is Iiyama Line (飯山線 Iiyama-sen) Jimmy’s journey in search of Ami takes him along this line as well. For those seeking to see the scenery covered in snow, a train ride along here is recommended.

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View from the head of the train between Kamisakai and Kamikuwanagawa Stations. (Photo Credit: Purple Plan)


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Big windows on both sides of the train running on the Iiyama Line. (Image credit: ©2024 “18x2 Beyond Youthful Days” Film Partners)


Some locations that can be included in a side trip along the Iiyama Line, include Nozawa Onsen (野沢温泉), which is a popular destination for snow activities during winter. Visitors will need to transfer to a bus to visit the onsen town, which is not covered by the JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area). Other side trips that are also not covered by the JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area) include Obuse, Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park and Shiga Kogen.


Another way to enjoy the Iiyama Line is to take the Joyful Train, Oykot. Covered entirely by the JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area), the experience of riding the train, with decor resembling a more nostalgic time, complements the rural scenery that is the direct opposite of the bustling city of Tokyo.


Iiyama Station (飯山駅 Iiyama-eki) is also a stop along the Hokuriku Shinkansen (北陸新幹線), which provides a fast method for travel back to Tokyo. The ride between Iiyama and Tokyo on the Hokuriku Shinkansen is also covered by the JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area)


9. Nagaoka Station

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West Exit of Nagaoka Station. (Image credit: ©2024 “18x2 Beyond Youthful Days” Film Partners)


Nagaoka is well known for its Nagaoka Fireworks Festival (長岡まつり大花火大会 Nagaoka-matsuri Ōhanabi Taikai), one of the three largest fireworks festivals in Japan. Every August, over 20,000 fireworks will be launched against the backdrop of the longest river in Japan, the  Shinano River. Advanced planning is required, however, as accommodation is typically hard to find during the festival. During winter, people can see fireworks displays against the contrast of a snowy landscape, set to music.


If you have been following Jimmy’s journey so far, you have been taking the slower, scenic route. However, Nagaoka Station (長岡駅 Nagaoka-eki) is also one of the stops for the Joetsu Shinkansen, and you can take it for a quick ride back to Tokyo after completing your journey. With your pass, you can make a seat reservation to secure yourself a window seat as your train moves quickly across Niigata’s snowy winter landscape.


10. Tsunan Snow Festival

The last winter festival on this list is the Tsunan Snow Festival (つなん雪まつり Tsunan Yuki-matsuri), where the highlight is undoubtedly the beautiful sky lanterns. Around 2,000 sky lanterns lit up with candles are released into the sky. Jimmy and Ami release a lantern of their own after they finally reunite.


The festival is typically held in March, so visitors have to plan for it accordingly as it does not coincide with the other festivals mentioned before in Matsumoto and Nagaoka.


Tsunan is located on the Iiyama Line as well, so you can get there using the JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area).


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Releasing a sky lantern in Tsunan (Image credit: ©2024 “18x2 Beyond Youthful Days” Film Partners)


11. Tadami Town

電影中許光漢獨自飛往日本尋找初戀,旅程中遇見黑木瞳、黑木華、松重豐及道枝駿佑等日本演員,他坦言壓力超大.jpg (993 KB)

Jimmy finally arrives in Ami’s hometown in Tadami. (Image credit: ©2024 “18x2 Beyond Youthful Days” Film Partners)


Parts of the Tadami Line were closed to the public after the line sustained extensive damages from heavy rains in July 2011, and full restoration was completed in October 2022. Home to stunning views set against the backdrop of the Tadami River, there is always some to see all year round. From sakura in spring, green foliage in summer, the same foliage in red and yellow in autumn to snow accumulating on the same trees in winter, it is a treat for visitors making their way to the Oku Aizu region along the line.


Important note! This location, similar to Enoshima, is not included in the area of coverage of the JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area). The furthest you can go on the Tadami Line from the Koide Terminus is up to Oshirakawa Station, near the prefectural border of Niigata and Fukushima. Tadami Station is, however, only one stop away, and if you do make that journey, you have to pay the additional fare for that trip.


12. Cherry Blossoms in Sumida Park, Tokyo

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Cherry blossoms during spring in Sumida Park. (Image credit: ©2024 “18x2 Beyond Youthful Days” Film Partners)


Thanks to its various elevations and latitudes, Japan offers visitors the unique opportunity to witness the changing of the seasons. After travelling to Nagano and Niigata to take in the snowy scenery, you may just find yourself back in Tokyo in time to see cherry blossoms (桜 sakura).


This changing of the seasons typically happens around mid-March to early April every year. In places such as Nagano and Niigata, you might even still see lingering snow as late as May, while sakura tends to bloom around late March in Tokyo.


A good place to view cherry blossoms is at Sumida Park, in the Asakusa area, which Jimmy also visited in the movie. The park is commonly accessed via subway. The nearest JR Station, Ueno, is about a 30-minute walk away.



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Locations featured in the movie. (Image credit: ©2024 “18x2 Beyond Youthful Days” Film Partners)


For a quick summary of the locations featured in the movie, have a look at the infographic above.


With the JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area), it’s very easy to replicate the path Jimmy took to reunite with Ami, and it also allows you to explore a different side of Japan that not many other tourists have seen. Why not consider this location hunt as a way to build your itinerary in future?


JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area)

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The JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area) and usage area. (Image credit: JR East)


If you are visiting Niigata and Nagano, check out the JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area), an affordable pass offering unlimited rail travel on JR East lines (including bullet trains) in the valid area for 5 consecutive days at only ¥27,000. For the Tadami Line, this pass covers О̄shirakawa Station to Koide Station. You can also make seat reservations for bullet trains, some limited express trains and Joyful Trains online for free, up to 1 month in advance, on the JR-EAST Train Reservation

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The JR-EAST Train Reservation. (Image credit: JR East)


The JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area) can be used for automatic ticket gates, and foreign passport holders living in Japan are also eligible to use these passes.


Header image photo credit: ©2024 “18x2 Beyond Youthful Days” Film Partners


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