Kintetsu Rail Pass, Most affordable deal for Osaka/Kyoto-Nagoya and access to Ise.

kintetsu railway limited expressRail pass for visitors
Kintetsu Railway has the biggest limited express train network in all private railway companies.
Kintetsu Railway has the biggest limited express train network in all private railway companies.

I have received many inquiries about Nagoya-Osaka or Kyoto trip. There are lots of travellers who arrive in Chubu (Nagoya) airport and depart from Kansai (Osaka) airport or reverse or arrive in/depart from Chubu. Even if you have round trip between Nagoya and Osaka, JR Pass is too expensive choice. And there is no options to cover both Nagoya and Osaka/Kyoto by JR. One way ticket from Nagoya to Osaka or Kyoto by Shinkansen is very common choice. However JR is not only railway that connect Nagoya, Osaka and Kyoto. Kintetsu Railway that is the biggest private railway company operates many trains among these three cities, Nara, Ise and Yoshino. Kintetsu Railway has very useful deal for the travellers who want to travel in this area.

In this post, I would like to show you Kintetsu Rail Pass and Kintetsu Rail Pass Wide.

What is Kintetsu Railway?

In Japan, there are many railway services. This is the biggest reason why you are very confused. Kintetsu Railway is NON JR and the biggest private railway company in Japan. Of course this railway service is not covered by any JR deals, such as JR Pass, Kansai Area Pass. Please see the map below to find Kintetsu Railway network.

Kintetsu Railway lines are shown in bold navy blue line. Other railways are shown in this map for your convenience. (C) JP Rail
Kintetsu Railway lines are shown in bold navy blue line. Other railways are shown in this map for your convenience. (C) JP Rail

Kintetsu Rail Pass covers all part of this network. As you see the map above, you can use this railway to get Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka (Namba, Uehonmachi, Tsuruhashi), Nara, Yoshino and Ise. And this pass includes three vouchers to take Kintetsu Railway Limited Express. Kintetsu Railway Limited Express has very nice accommodation and have same level service as JR’s limited express train. I tell you about detail of this limited express train and coverage below.

You may know about Kansai Thru Pass. This pass covers Kintetsu Railway and other major private railways in Kansai area. But this pass does not include Nagoya and Ise. And it does not include Kintetsu Railway Limited Express train voucher. As long as you travel both Nagoya and Osaka/Kyoto, Kansai Thru Pass is not your first choice. Please find the detailed about Kansai Thru Pass at the link below:

How to use Kansai Thru Pass. Compare pass and single fare.

How good is Kintetsu Railway Limited Express?

Ise-Shima Liner 23000 series is used for limited express to Ise area.
Ise-Shima Liner 23000 series is used for limited express to Ise area.

Some of major private railway companies operate limited express as commute train without extra charge, such as Hankyu, Keihan and Hanshin. But Kintetsu operates limited express as special train. It has reserved seat only. You have to pay limited express surcharge on top of base fare and this limited express train has same level of interior as JR’s limited express train.

There are many kinds of fleets for limited express trains. But all fleets have 2+2 seat configuration and seat pitch is 1000 to 1050 mm. It is spacious and comfortable.

Regular seat car interior of 21000 series, Urban Liner. Most of Kintetsu Railway Limited Express has like this interior. (C) By 2013.1.28 (Own work)
Regular seat car interior of 21000 series, Urban Liner. Most of Kintetsu Railway Limited Express has like this interior. (C) By 2013.1.28 (Own work)
The regular seat of 22600 series. This fleet is used for most of limited express trains.
The regular seat of 22600 series. This fleet is used for most of limited express trains.

Especially if you travel between Nagoya and Osaka, trip time is more than 2 hours. The seat and interior are very important factor.

You can take limited express train up to three times by Kintetsu Rail Pass if you use it until the end of September, 2016. After 1st of October, 2016, you have to purchase a separate ticket to take limited express train.

Who is eligible

Visitors who land as “Temporary Visitor” status can purchase this pass. And Japanese who live in foreign country as permanent resident or who are married to a foreigner residing outside of Japan can purchase this deal as well.

Types and prices

A few types of pass, Kintetsu Rail Pass and Kintetsu Rail Pass wide are available.

TypesPurchase outside JapanPurchase in Japan
Kintetsu Rail Pass
5-day
3,700 yen3,900 yen
Kintetsu Rail Pass Plus
5-day
4,900 yen5,100 yen

Child price is half amount of the adult price. It applies to child who is 6 to 11 years old. Adult price is applied to 12 years old and up.

5 year old or younger child is free. But when you take Limited Express train, all seats are reserved. You have to share your seat with your child. If you want to have a seat for your child, please purchase child pass for even 5 years old or younger child.

The pass must be used in consecutive days. The validity of a rail pass starts from 12 O’clock at night.

e.g.
If you start to use 5 days pass on May 1, the pass is expired at 23:59 on May 5.

Sales location

If you want to purchase an exchange order before you leave, you can find the authorized travel agent list at the link below:

Kintetsu Rail Pass official site

They may ship the exchange order to you by mail. Please contact the nearest vendor. Kintetsu Rail Pass Wide can be purchased at both Chubu airport and Kansai airport. But Kintetsu Rail Pass can be purchased at Kansai airport only. You can find the sales location in the airport at the link above as well.

Coverage area and valid transportation

Both Kintetsu Rail Pass and Kintetsu Rail Pass Wide covers all part of Kintetsu Railway network and include three limited express vouchers.

Kintetsu Rail Pass does not include limited express voucher. The separate ticket for taking limited express train is required.

Sightseeing Limited Express Shimakaze is not covered by this pass. This is one of most difficult trains to book in Japan now. (C) Oka21000
Sightseeing Limited Express Shimakaze is not covered by this pass. This is one of most difficult trains to book in Japan now. (C) Oka21000

Some of Kintetsu Railway Limited Express trains have upper class seat. But this pass covers ordinary reserved seat only. And Kintetsu Railway operates Sightseeing Limited Express “Shimakaze”. This train is not covered by this pass either.

If you do not want to pay any extra, you can take rapid express, express, semi express and local trains. These are commute trains. The interior is totally different from the limited express train.

The exterior of Kintetsu Railway commute trains
The exterior of Kintetsu Railway commute trains
Interior is nothing special. (C) ちょろ
Interior is nothing special. (C) ちょろ

When you take a train among Kyoto, Osaka and Nara, you can use these trains because of the short distance transfer.

Compare the pass and single fare

I would like to show you the fare table. Upper fare is base fare and lower is limited express surcharge.

stationOsaka
(Namba)
KyotoNaraNagoyaIse
(Toba)
Osaka
(Namba)
940
900
560
510
2360
1900
2040
1610
Kyoto940
900
620
510
2590
1900
2280
1610
Nara560
510
620
510
2250
1610
1940
1610
Nagoya2360
1900
2590
1900
2250
1610
1710
1320
Ise
(Toba)
2040
1610
2280
1610
1940
1610
1710
1320
stationOsaka
(Osaka-Abenobashi)
KyotoNaraNagoya
Yoshino970
510
1230
900
850
900
2390
2120

If you travel from Nagoya to Osaka or Kyoto by limited express by 30th of September, it is higher than Kintetsu Rail Pass at 3800 yen. It is really good deal for the traveller who wants to travel from Nagoya to Kyoto or Osaka. If you go to Ise from Kyoto, Osaka or Nara, it is better deal than single fare too. But if you visit Ise, Kintetsu Rail Pass Wide may be better deal for you. Please see next chapter.

If you travel after 1st of October, limited express voucher will not be included. You must have at least one round trip between Kansai area (Osaka, Nara and Kyoto) and Nagoya or Ise.

Compare cost and trip time between the Shinkansen fare and Kintetsu Rail Pass

Shinkansen is most common way to get Kyoto and Osaka from Nagoya. It is much faster than Kintetsu Railway Limited Express trains. But Shinkansen is much more expensive too. Before you decide to go for Kintetsu Rail Pass, you should compare these trains by cost and time.

Nagoya – Namba

TrainsTrip timeFare
Kintetsu Railway
Limited Express
2 hrs 30 mins3800 yen
+ Limited express surcharge
Shinkansen (Nozomi)
and Subway
1 hr 20 mins6840 yen

Shinkansen and subway combination is much faster but the cost is almost double. And Kintetsu Railway is direct access without any transfer. This is the strongest point.

Nagoya – Osaka (Umeda)

TrainsTrip timeFare
Kintetsu Railway
Limited Express
and JR local train
2 hrs 45 mins3800 yen
+ Limited express surcharge
+ 180 yen (JR)
Shinkansen (Nozomi)
and JR local train
1 hr 10 mins6560 yen

You have to transfer at Shin-Osaka to get Osaka by the Shinkansen. But it is same station and very easy to transfer from the Shinkansen to JR local train. If you take Kintetsu Railway, you can transfer at Tsuruhashi to JR Osaka Kanjo line. It is much easier than transfer at Namba to subway. Tsuruhashi station is much smaller than Namba. JR and Kintetsu stations are connected directly.

Nagoya – Shin-Osaka

TrainsTrip timeFare
Kintetsu Railway
Limited Express
and Subway
3 hrs3800 yen
+ Limited express surcharge
+ 280 yen (subway)
Shinkansen (Nozomi)50 mins6560 yen

Shin-Osaka is Shinkansen’s terminal station. Shinkansen is much more accessible than Kintetsu Railway. If you take Kintetsu Railway, you have to transfer at Namba to get subway. And subway fare is extra.

Nagoya – Kyoto

TrainsTrip timeFare
Kintetsu Railway
Limited Express
Need to transfer at Yamato-Yagi
2 hrs 35 mins3800 yen
+ Limited express surcharge
Shinkansen (Nozomi)36 mins5800 yen

Both Kintetsu Railway and Shinkansen are direct access to Kyoto. Shinkansen is 2 hours faster than Kintetsu Railway Limited Express.

Nagoya – Nara

TrainsTrip timeFare
Kintetsu Railway
Limited Express
and Kintetsu local train
Need to transfer at Yamato-Yagi
2 hrs 15 mins3800 yen
+ Limited express surcharge
Shinkansen (Nozomi)
JR local train
1 hr 30 mins6560 yen

Shinkansen and JR trains are still faster than Kintetsu Railway. But the difference is smallest in all above cases.

Assessment

If you are really sensitive with cost, Kintetsu Rail Pass is a good choice for even Nagoya to Osaka or reverse one way trip. If you travel from Nagoya to Osaka and visit Nara and Kyoto, this pass gives you a huge savings.

Even though the Shinkansen is much faster, this pass is one of my most recommended deals.

Comments

  1. Sam says:

    Thanks for a good review.

    I plan to travel from Namba Osaka to Takayama by using Kintetsu urban liner to Nagoya early morning on Nov 2015 then JR to Takayama . But I could not find the timetable even on hyperdia.

    I would like to hv your comment.

    • Hi Sam,

      Please check the following:
      From Osaka-Namba
      To Kintetsunagoya

      Click “More options” and check only “limited express” and “Private railway”.

      I searched for 6:30 am on Nov 13 and found many trains.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  2. Sharon says:

    Hi Takeshi San,

    I came across this 1 day Kintetsu Rail Pass at Yen 1500 but Kintetsu Limited Express is not covered. . i would like to visit Nara Park & Inari in a day.

    From Hyperdia, i’m not sure if my pass is covered on the following route that i’ve chosen. Can you advise ?

    Nippombashi – Kintetsunara (via Kintetsu Nara Line Exp.)

    Kintetsunara – Kyoto (via Kintetsu Nara Line Exp.& Kintetsu Ltd. Exp)

    Kyoto – Nippombashi ( via Kintetsu Ltd. Exp. & Kintetsu Nara Line Exp.)

    • Hi Sharon san,

      You can take this route by Kintetsu Rail Pass 1 day. But as you think, Limited Express is not covered. It’s much more comfortable. But trip time is not much different because it’s a short transfer.

      And also Inari is not located on the way to Kyoto from Kintetsunara. You have to add single fare to get Inari from Kyoto for JR train.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  3. Xtina says:

    Hi Takeshi, Great article! Just a few questions. I am arriving from Osaka Kansai airport on the 25/12 and leaving from Nagoya Chubu on the 29/12.

    1). You mentioned that the travel from Osaka Namba to Nagoya Chubu will entail the Limited Express ticket. And it also mentions reserved seating. Can I already purchase the reserved seating when I “exchange” one of the 3 Limited Express rides from the Kintetsu Rail Pass at the Limited express sales window? I understand this can’t be done in the Kansai airport and I need to go to one of the designated Limited express ticket sales window?

    2). I understand its wintertime I want to travel. My flight from Nagoya leaves at 21:10 and for international flights, I need to be at the airport at least 18:00. What time would you recommend me leaving Osaka Namba? Im not sure if the Osaka-Nagoya region is affected by harsh winters and therefore, delays. Just to make sure I don’t miss my flight.

    I hope my questions are not too redundant. 🙂 Just want to make sure I cover all my bases.

    Thanks!

    • Hi Xtina,

      1) You’re right. You cannot book Kintetsu limited express at KIX. You have to go to Osaka-Namba station to book.

      2) In current schedule, there is 14:30 Osaka-Namba – 16:52 Kintetsunagoya limited express. You may transfer to Meitetsu train to Chubu. It takes another 30-40 minutes to get Chubu.
      But usually timetable will be revised in October. You may find the latest schedule at Hyperdia in November.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/basic-informations/timetable-and-reservation/hyperdia-perfect-guide-train-timetable-and-route-search-engine.html

      Usually in this region, there is no sever winter storm. But please check the latest weather news before you leave. If you fine weather is not good, take much earlier train.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

      • Xtina says:

        Hi Takeshi,

        That’s super helpful info. Thank you!

        /Christina

        • No problem, Christina.
          Enjoy your trip.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JP Rail

          • xtinai says:

            Hi Takeshi,

            I have some follow up questions:
            I am planning to get a Kintetsu Wide pass. I want to use the limited express tickets for my transport from Osaka to Kyoto (where my hotel is) and then Kyoto to Nagoya (from where my hotel is to airport). So that leaves 1 limited express ticket left out of the 3. My family and I want to go to Osaka to visit Universal Studios from Kyoto during our trip. Is it possible to “buy” another limited express ticket within the 5 days? to cover the return from Osaka to Kyoto?

            • Hi xtinai,

              Actually there is not direct limited express train between Kyoto and Osaka. You can take Kintetsu train. But Kintetsu is not the best way to get Osaka from Kyoto because you need to transfer at Yamato-Saidaiji and it’s a detour especially when you go to USJ from Osaka.

              If you want to save your cost, you can use Kintetsu rail pass as many as you can. But if you want to save your trip time, forget about Kintetsu and take JR. JR is not covered but it’s much faster.

              Limited Express train runs between Kyoto and Nara, and Nara and Osaka-Namba. But it’s very few between Nara and Osaka-Namba.

              And also, there is no direct limited express between Kyoto and Nagoya. You have to transfer at either Yamato-Yagi or Ise-Nakagawa. So you will spend two limited express tickets for Kyoto-Nagoya transfer.

              You can add limited express tickets only on top of the pass. But it’s not worth using limited express for such a short transfer, like Kyoto-Nara and Nara-Osaka. Trip time is not much different even if you take ordinary train.

              Cheers,

              Takeshi / JPRail.com

  4. Sunny and Tony says:

    Hi there,

    Is there actually a direct Limited Express line between Nagoya and Kyoto? I couldn’t find it on the Kintetsu website. I will be doing day trips from Nagoya, and it seems that going to Osaka is easy, but there is a transfer when going to Kyoto. I can’t quite figure out where the transfer station is. I figured it was Yamato Yagi Station, but it seems that it isn’t. Any advice?

  5. Nimfa Calera says:

    Hi.
    I;ve been browsing for days on Kintetsu Rail passes but couldn’t find any blog or post whether the Rapid Express or Express Kintetsu trains are considered Limited Express trips. That is, if I just buy the 2-day Kintetsu Rail Pass, can we ride on Rapid Express and Express trains to Nara and Kyoto.
    Thanks.

  6. William says:

    Great Info!

    here is my question: arrive KIX at 18:30 on 06/24, leave KIX 17:30 on 6/30, plan to buy the wide pass at KIX, only use the airport transfer on 6/24. Activate the pass on 6/25, use it all the way to 6/30. Is it doable? Thanks

  7. Peggy Lin says:

    Good morning Host,will like to seek your kind help in my first trip to Osaka and Kyoto on the transportation. I am leaving tomorrow 2 Apr 2015.
    I am overwhelm by the many passes on the transportation. Can you advise me what pass should I buy?

    Here is my itinerary for my 7 days :

    Day 1 : arrive at Osaka Kansai aiport,may I ask how to get to Kyoto Nishiyama Ryokan[what train should I take – JR Express Haruka Train?
    Kinkakuji and central part of Kyoto like Imperial Palace, Kyoto Towers & station.

    Day 2 : Arashiyama [ but we not sure what is the walking route like Togetsukyo Bridge, Bamboo Groves, Monkey Park Iwatayama , Saga-Toriimoto Preserved Street, Tenryuji Temple, Daikakuji Temple, and how to go for Sagano Train Ride(where to buy the train tickets?)

    Day 3 : Ginkakuji > Philosopher’s Path > Nanzenji > Keage Incline > Heian Shrine > Yasaka Shrine > Kodaiji > Higashiyama Streets >Kiyomizudera

    Day 4 : Fushimi Inari Shrine and Torri Gates(also not sure about the walking route), we are thinking of Gion nightwalk(also not too sure how to go about?)

    Day 5 : leave Kyoto to Osaka(hotel shinsaibashi lion rocks)
    Hemiji & Osaka Castle

    Day 6 : Shopping at Shinaibashi , Dontobori , namba area

    Day 7 : do you have any suggestion where we can go and we need to catch our flight at 1955 at Kansai airport?

    Sorry to take up your time and very grateful for your kind help in advance

    looking forward to your reply.

  8. Dorcas says:

    Hi,

    For Kintetsu Rail Pass Wide, the Nankai Railway from KIX to Namba does it cover Nankai Rap:t limited express train? Is it better to take Kintetsu Rail Pass or Wide to travel from Osaka to Nagoya? What is the different? Thanks.

  9. Brian says:

    I was looking for almost a week on how to briefly describe the benefits of Kintetsu Rail Pass and this article is GREAT! I will be entering Japan through Nagoya and will make most of my stay in Kyoto. The problem is I am having a hard time to check on which station do I need to exchange trains so I can get to Kyoto. I tried using Hyperdia, and it says that I could either go to Ise-Nakagawa or Yamatoyagi. Do you know how to check if a particular Ltd. Express train will head to this station?

    If I have a correct understanding, the Ltd. Express heading to Osaka will pass Yamatoyagi and that is the time I need to exchange so I can head to Kyoto.

    But overall, thank you very much for this article! It was really a great help. 🙂

    • Hi Brian,

      I’m happy that my post is helping you to make a plan!

      Have you seen KIntetsu Limited Express map?
      http://www.kintetsu.co.jp/foreign/english/useful/limited_express/3-3-5.html

      As you checked at Hyperdia, you have to transfer either Yamato-Yagi or Ise-Nakagawa. Direct limited train used to run between Kyoto and Nagoya, but not now. As you see the map above, many of trains to Namba stop at these stations. And there are another limited express to Kyoto from Kashiwarajingu or Kashikojima. You can transfer these Limited Express to Kyoto. But you will use extra limited express voucher.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

      • Brian says:

        Takeshi,

        This is just too great! I kept on looking at the Railway Network Map and missed this one! I never knew that I need to use the second voucher from Yamato-Yagi to Kyoto since their instruction said:

        “If you travel by transferring from one Limited Express train to another and your connecting time at the transfer station is less than 30 minutes, a single Limited Express ticket will be issued for your entire journey.”

        But if I need two vouchers, then it is fine. Will just use the last one when I plan to head to Ise.

        By the way, have you found an English version of their timetable? This is the only thing I was able to get.

        http://www.kintetsu.co.jp/railway/Dia/pdf/140921/1704801.pdf

        Again, thank you very much! Really, really helpful!

  10. Zul says:

    Hallo. I have question. If i buy kintetsu rail pass wide, i will get round trip from chubu airport to nagoya (city). Base on my read, there r ttwo type train from chubu to nagoya : standard class (870yen) and first class(870 +360 yen). This rail pass cover for first class?or i must add 360 yen by own if i want use that fine class?

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