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. Jason says:

    Hi! I’m torn between getting Kintetsu Rail pass or Icoca/Haruka pass. Which one is better?

    We’ll arrive in KIX and then will spend 4 days between Osaka and Kyoto, then another days in Tokyo before going back to KIX to depart.

    Which of the two has a roundtrip airport transfer? Can we still avail of that transfer even if we spent 8 days in Japan? Or do we need to purchase a new train pass from Osaka to KIX?

    I heard that Kintatsu pass is only valid for 7 days while Icoca/Haruka is valid only for 5 days.

  2. Mike says:

    Here’s my itinerary, can you please advise?

    Day 1 – Arrive in Kansai Airport

    Day 2 – travel to Nagoya
    – Nagoya Castle
    – travel to Kyoto
    – Kinkakuji
    – Ninnaji
    – Nijo Castle
    – travel back to Osaka

    Day 3 – travel to Kyoto
    – Kiyomizudera Temple
    – Ginkakuji Temple
    – Nanzenji Temple
    – Kodaiji
    – Fushimi Inari Shrine
    – travel back to Osaka
    – Osaka Castle

    • Hi Mike,

      Kintetsu Rail Pass is the best choice. But day 2 is too tight. It’s so hard to complete the sites in Kyoto after trip to Nagoya. You may have to skip some of places in Kyoto. But it depends on how much you stay in Nagoya. You will spend 5 hours just for transfer between Namaba and Nagoya, and between Nagoya and Kyoto. Keep it in your mind.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Joyc says:

    So will it be better if I’ll just purchase a Kintetsu pass to travel between Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya?

    Will it also include buss pass for each city to visit the shrines and castles?

  4. Tak says:

    Hi Takeshi san,

    If you buy a Kitetsu Rail Pass Wide 5860yen from a travel agent in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, South Korea, Malaysia or France, you can get a 5000yen voucher for free. This voucher can be used at a hotel in Mie Prefecture. I think it could be useful for some people. See this site.
    http://mie-travel.net/en-US/index.html

  5. Ton says:

    Dear Takeshi,

    I plan to use (buy) 2 sets of Kintetsu rail pass (3800 yen) in a single Japan trip. Is there any restriction about it ?

    Thanks,
    Ton

  6. CK Chuah says:

    Dear Takeshi san,

    I would like to plan my trip as following;
    1) Osaka-Namba to Nara, Nara – Nagoya (same day – 3 days in Nagoya)
    2) Nagoya – Kyoto (4th day – 1 day)
    3) Kyoto – Osaka-Namba – KIX (5th day)

    Can i buy use with 5 days Kintetsu Rail Pass?

    • Hi CK Chrah,

      You can use Kintetsu Rail Pass Wide. It covers KIX-Osaka return trip too. You can use it outside 5 days coveage. So if you travel Japan more than 5 days, you still can use airport transfer portion outside 5 days.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  7. Teri says:

    Hi Takeshi-San, I wonder if you can explain briefly the difference between Kintetsu 2 days pass & Kansai Thru 2 days pass. The costs difference is ¥2000!

    We plan to travel following your itinerary of 1 full day Kyoto + 1/2 day Nara & 1/2 day Kyoto.

    Can we use Kintetsu? I can’t seem to find info on getting to Kyoto from Osaka using this pass. The info online only suggests both Osaka & Kyoto heading to Nara.

    Also, we just realized that 3 Nov is Japan public holiday. Should we avoid traveling to Kyoto & Nara on this day? (Our base is Osaka).

    Tks a lot!

  8. LC says:

    Dear Takeshi

    What is the cheapest way or train to take from kyoto to nagoya and nagoya to kyoto.

    Are we buying single ticket or any pass we can buy which is more cost saving

    thanks

  9. Pari says:

    Thank you for the information about Kintetsu Rail Pass, it’s really helpful. But I still have some questions about this pass. I’m going to sightseeing around Ise-Shima from Tokyo and then going to Osaka and Kyoto. I’ve a plan to purchase in Chubu airport (from Tokyo to Nagoya by bus) if this pass is really the best way to cover my needs.

    Day 1: Tokyo – Ise
    Day 2: Ise
    Day 3: Ise – Osaka – Kyoto
    Day 4: Kyoto

    Is Kintetsu Rail Pass Wide cover all of that?

    Thank you.

    • Hi Pari,

      Kintetsu rail pass is suitable for your trip. When you purchase this pass, you don’t need to go to Chubu airport. You can purchase it at Bic Camera Nagoya store. it’s located at Nagoya station.
      http://www.kintetsu.co.jp/foreign/english/useful/ticket/rpw1-1.html#2

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      • Pari says:

        Thank you for the fast response 🙂

        I already checked on the Kintetsu website. They say:
        * At BIC CAMERA stores, only KINTETSU RAIL PASS and KINTETSU RAIL PASS 1day and 2day are on sale. However, at BIC CAMERA Nagoya Station West Store, KINTETSU RAIL PASS 1day and 2day are not on sale.

        I want to purchase Kintetsu Rail Pass Wide, because it’s better for me who want to travel around Ise-Shima then Kyoto. I’m not sure BIC CAMERA Nagoya also provide Kintetsu Rail Pass Wide or not. It says “BIC CAMERA Nagoya Station West Store, KINTETSU RAIL PASS 1day and 2day are not on sale.” Is it mean that they sell Kintetsu Rail Pass Wide?

        • Hi Pari,

          I didn’t think you want to have “Wide”. Do you want to have airport transfer to Chubu or Kansai? The only difference between Kintetsu Rail Pass and Kintetsu Rail Pass wide is airport transfer. If you don’t need to have airport transfer, you can purchase Kintetsu Rail Pass.
          http://www.kintetsu.co.jp/foreign/english/useful/ticket/rpw1-3.html

          You can use this pass for access to Ise-Shima and Kyoto. If you want to have “Wide”, you have to go to Chubu and purchase it. Kintetsu Rail Pass wide is not sold at Bic Camera. Because it includes airport transfer and it doesn’t work if it’s on sale other than airport.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

  10. Chua TY says:

    Hi,
    Day 1 – arrive KIX at 2120. Going to Kyoto either by rail or bus.
    Day 2 n 3 – at Kyoto
    Day 4 n 5 – Kyoto to Nagoya (Nagoya for 2 nights)
    Day 6 to Day 10 – Nagoya to Osaka Namba (Osaka for 5 nights)
    Day 11 – Namba to KIX at 1100

    Takeshi, can you advise on the pass to buy for 3 adults and 1 child.

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