Kintetsu Railway

Kintetsu Railway Co., Ltd. (近畿日本鉄道株式会社, Kinki-nippon Tetsudō Kabushiki-gaisha), referred to as Kintetsu (近鉄), is a Japanese passenger railway company, managing infrastructure and operating passenger train service. Its railway system is the largest in Japan, excluding Japan Railways Group.[1] The railway network connects Osaka, Nara, Kyoto, Nagoya, Tsu, Ise, and Yoshino. Kintetsu Railway Co., Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kintetsu Group Holdings Co., Ltd.

Kintetsu Railway
Corporate mark of Kintetsu Railway Company, Limited
Shimakaze Limited Express
2014 Blue Ribbon Award winner 50000 series on a Shimakaze limited express service
LocaleKinki region/Tōkai region, Japan
Dates of operationSeptember 16, 1910; 112 years ago (1910-09-16)–present
Track gauge
  • 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in)
  • 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
Length501.2 km (311.4 mi)
Kintetsu Railway Co., Ltd.
Native name
Kinki-nippon Tetsudō Kabushiki gaisha
FormerlyKintetsu Split Preparatory Company, Ltd.
TypePrivate KK
IndustryGround Transport
PredecessorKintetsu Corporation
formerly Kinki-nippon Railway Company, Limited
FoundedApril 30, 2014; 9 years ago (2014-04-30) in Osaka, Osaka Prefecture, Japan
Key people
ServicesPassenger Transport
ParentKintetsu Group Holdings (in Japanese)


On September 16, 1910, Nara Tramway Co., Ltd. (奈良軌道株式会社, Nara Kidō) was founded and renamed Osaka Electric Tramway Co., Ltd. (大阪電気軌道株式会社, Ōsaka Denki Kidō, Daiki (大軌)) a month after. Osaka Electric Tramway completed Ikoma Tunnel and started operating a line between Osaka and Nara (present-day Nara Line) on April 30, 1914.[1] The modern Kashihara, Osaka, and Shigi lines were completed in the 1920s, followed by the Kyoto Line (a cooperative venture with Keihan Electric Railway). Daiki founded Sangu Electric Railway Co., Ltd. (参宮急行電鉄株式会社, Sangū Kyūkō Dentetsu, Sankyū (参急)) in 1927, which consolidated Ise Electric Railway Co., Ltd. (伊勢電気鉄道株式会社, Ise Denki Tetsudō, Iseden (伊勢電)) on September 15, 1936.

In 1938, Daiki teamed up with its subsidiary Kansai Express Electric Railway Co., Ltd. (関西急行電鉄株式会社, Kansai Kyūkō Dentetsu) to operate the first private railway service from Osaka to Nagoya. Another subsidiary Sankyū bought Kansai Express Electric Railway on January 1, 1940 and continued the service on its own. Then, Sankyū consolidated Yoro Railway Co., Ltd. (養老鉄道株式会社, Yōrō Tetsudō, not the present Yoro Railway Co., Ltd.) on August 1. Daiki consolidated its largest subsidiary Sankyū on March 15, 1941 and was renamed Kansai Express Railway Co., Ltd. (関西急行鉄道, Kansai Kyūko Tetsudō, Kankyū (関急)). Kankyū consolidated Osaka Railway Co., Ltd. (大阪鉄道株式会社, Ōsaka Tetsudō, Daitetsu (大鉄), owner of the present Minami Osaka Line) on February 1, 1943 and moved its headquarters from Uehommachi to Osaka Abenobashi.

Kankyū was renamed Kinki Nippon Railway Co., Ltd. (近畿日本鉄道株式会社, Kinki Nippon Tetsudō, Kinki Nippon (近畿日本) or Kin-nichi (近日)) after it consolidated Nankai Railway in June 1944: it maintained the name when Nankai regained its independence in 1947.

After World War II, Kintetsu branched out and became one of the world's largest travel agencies, Kinki Nippon Tourist Co., Ltd., opening offices in the United States of America (Kintetsu International Express, Inc.) and other countries.

The first charged limited express train service started between Uehommachi and Nagoya in 1947, and this is the start of the present Kintetsu limited express trains. The rail network was mostly completed by consolidating Nara Electric Railway Co., Ltd. (奈良電気鉄道株式会社, Naraden (奈良電)), Shigi-Ikoma Electric Railway Co., Ltd. (信貴生駒電鉄株式会社), Mie Electric Railway Co., Ltd. (三重電気鉄道株式会社, Mieden (三重電)) and other companies.[1]

Kintetsu moved its headquarters again from Osaka Abenobashi to Osaka Uehommachi on December 5, 1969.

On June 28, 2003, Kinki Nippon Railway Co., Ltd. was renamed Kintetsu Corporation. The corporation was split on April 1, 2015. Its railway business division was succeeded by Kintetsu Split Preparatory Company, Ltd. (founded on April 30, 2014), while its real estate business division by Kintetsu Real Estate Co., Ltd., its hotel business division by Kintetsu Hotel Systems, Inc., and its retail business by Kintetsu Retail Service Corporation, respectively.

On the same day Kintetsu Corporation was split, it was renamed as Kintetsu Group Holdings Co., Ltd. as a holding company, while Kintetsu Split Preparatory Company, Ltd. was renamed as Kintetsu Railway Co., Ltd.[2]


From its founding to present
  • September 16, 1910—April 14, 1941: Daiki (大軌)
  • April 15, 1941—May 31, 1944: Kankyū (関急)
  • June 1, 1944—1948: Kinki Nippon (近畿日本) or Kin-nichi (近日)
  • Present: Kintetsu (近鉄) — used for the official corporate name in English since 2003.
Acquired or merged companies
  • Sangu Express Electric Railway Co., Ltd.: Sankyū (参急)
  • Ise Electric Railway Co., Ltd.: Iseden (伊勢電)
  • Osaka Railway Co., Ltd.: Daitetsu (大鉄)
  • Nara Electric Railway Co., Ltd.: Naraden (奈良電)
  • Mie Electric Railway Co., Ltd.: Mieden (三重電)


Map of the Kintetsu Railway

Owned and operated lines (Type I Railway Business), funiculars, and aerial tramwayEdit

Following lines belong to Kintetsu's Type I Railway Business (第一種鉄道事業, Dai-isshu tetsudō jigyō) and Cableway (索道, sakudō) Business under the Railway Business Act. This means that Kintetsu is the owner and operator of the lines.

1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) standard gauge linesEdit

All lines operate with 1,500 V DC overhead catenary except for the Keihanna Line, which operates on 750 V DC third rail.[1]

1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in) narrow gauge linesEdit

Cable car (Funicular) linesEdit

Ropeway (aerial tramway)Edit

Operated lines owned by other entities (Type II Railway Business)Edit

Following line belongs to Kintetsu's Type II Railway Business (第二種鉄道事業, Dai-nishu tetsudō jigyō) under the Railway Business Act. This means that Kintetsu operates trains on the line, but the owner of the railway trackage is a separate company.

  • 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) standard gauge line
    • Keihanna Line (Ikoma - Gakken-Nara-Tomigaoka, trackage owned by Nara Ikoma Rapid Transit Railway Co., Ltd.)

Owned lines operated by other entities (Type III Railway Business)Edit

Following lines belong to Kintetsu's Type III Railway Business (第三種鉄道事業, Dai-sanshu tetsudō jigyō) under the Railway Business Act. This means that Kintetsu is the owner of the railway facility, but the trains are operated by separate companies.

Until September 30, 2007, those lines were part of the Category 1 railway business.

Through-train servicesEdit

Kintetsu trains also run on the Osaka Metro Chūō Line (all Keihanna Line trains), the Kyoto Municipal Subway Karasuma Line, and the Hanshin Railway Hanshin Namba Line, but such lines are not Kintetsu lines.

Abandoned lines and transferred linesEdit

  • Hase Line (長谷線) (Sakurai - Hase, abandoned February 1, 1938 (1938-02-01))
  • Sanjo Line (山上線) (Takayasuyama - Shigizammon, discontinued on January 7, 1944 and abandoned on March 21, 1957 (1957-03-21))
  • Horyuji Line (法隆寺線) (Shin-Horyuji - Hirahata, discontinued on February 11, 1945 and abandoned on April 1, 1952 (1952-04-01))
  • Obusa Line (小房線) (Unebi - Kashiharajingu-eki, discontinued on June 1, 1950 and abandoned on September 1, 1952 (1952-09-01))
  • Ise Line (伊勢線) (Edobashi - Shin-Matsusaka - Daijingu-mae)
    • Shin-Matsusaka - Daijingu-mae: abandoned on August 11, 1942 (1942-08-11)
    • Edobashi - Shin-Matsusaka: abandoned on January 22, 1961 (1961-01-22)
  • Iga Line (伊賀線) (Nishi-Nabari - Iga-Kambe, abandoned on October 1, 1964 (1964-10-01))
  • Shima Line (志摩線) (Kashikojima - Shinjuko, abandoned on July 1, 1969 (1969-07-01))
  • Hachioji Line (八王子線) (Nishihino - Ise-Hachioji, discontinued on July 25, 1974 and abandoned on April 1, 1976 (1976-04-01))
  • Higashi-Shigi Cable Line (東信貴鋼索線) (Shigisanshita - Shigisan, abandoned on September 1, 1983 (1983-09-01))
  • Hokusei Line (Nishi-Kuwana - Ageki, transferred to Sangi Railway Co. on April 1, 2003)
  • Utsube Line (Kintetsu Yokkaichi - Utsube, transferred to Yokkaichi Asunaro Railway Company on April 1, 2015)
  • Hachioji Line (Hinaga - Nishi-Hino, transferred to Yokkaichi Asunaro Railway Company on April 1, 2015)

Lines transferred to Nankai Electric RailwayEdit

To separate both former Kankyū lines and Nankai Railway lines, on June 1, 1947, the following lines were transferred to Nankai Electric Railway Co. Ltd. that was renamed from Kōyasan Electric Railway Co., Ltd.

  • Nankai Main Line (Namba - Wakayamashi)
    • Tennoji Branch Line (天王寺支線) (Tengachaya - Tennoji)
      • Tengachaya - Imaikecho: abandoned on November 18, 1984 (1984-11-18)
      • Imaikecho - Tennoji: abandoned on July 1, 1993 (1993-07-01)
    • Takashinohama Line (Hagoromo - Takashinohama)
    • Tanagawa Line (Misakikoen - Tanagawa)
    • Kada Line (Kinokawa - Kada)
    • Kitajima Branch Line (北島支線) (Wakayamashi - Higashi-Matsue, abandoned on December 1, 1966 (1966-12-01))
  • Koya Line (Shiomibashi - Koyashita)
  • Hankai Line (Ebisucho - Hamadera-eki-mae) (transferred to Hankai Tramway Co., Ltd. on December 1, 1980)
    • Ohama Branch Line (大浜支線) (Shukuin - Ohama-kitaguchi - Ohamakaigan)
      • Ohama-kitaguchi - Ohamakaigan: abandoned on February 11, 1945 (1945-02-11)
      • Shukuin - Ohama-kitaguchi: closed on July 10, 1945, abandoned on November 28, 1980 (1980-11-28)
    • Uemachi Line (Tennoji-eki-mae - Sumiyoshikoen) (transferred to Hankai Tramway Co., Ltd. on December 1, 1980)
    • Hirano Line (平野線) (Imaike - Hirano) (abandoned on November 28, 1980 (1980-11-28))

Unbuilt linesEdit

  • Gifu Line (岐阜線) (Ogaki - Gifu or Hashima), planned by Yoro Electric Railway Co.
  • Shijonawate Line (四条畷線) (Sakuranomiya - Nukata), planned by Osaka Electric Railway Co.

Rolling stockEdit

As of 1 April 2017, Kintetsu operates a fleet of 1,905 electric multiple unit (EMU) vehicles, the second largest fleet for a private railway operator in Japan after Tokyo Metro (2,766 vehicles).[3] The newest Hinotori 80000 series EMU trainsets entered revenue service on limited express services between Osaka Namba and Kintetsu Nagoya in spring 2020. Eight six-car sets and three eight-car sets, 72 vehicles in total, will enter service by 2021. The end cars in each set will be designated "High Grade cars" with 1+2 abreast seating and a seat pitch of 1,300 mm (51 in). The intermediate "Regular" cars will have 2+2 abreast seating and a seat pitch of 1,160 mm (46 in). Seating in both types of accommodation will consist of fixed-back shell seats.[4][5]


In May 2022 Kintetsu announced that new commuter trainsets would be in service for 2024.[6]

Fare cardsEdit

KIPS ICOCA card: the contactless smart card sold by the Kintetsu Railway

Kintetsu accepts ICOCA, PiTaPa, and other compatible nation-wide IC cards throughout their network except on the Ikoma cable car and Katsuragi ropeway. Various discount tickets are also available from their website or ticket machines, with varying valid areas and usage periods. Surutto Kansai passes can be used in the Keihanshin area, west of Aoyamachō and north of Tsubosakayama stations. [7]

Offices of KintetsuEdit

  • Headquarters and Osaka Transportation Department, Railway Headquarters, Railway Headquarters: 1-55, Uehommachi Rokuchome, Tennoji-ku, Osaka
  • Nagoya Transportation Department, Railway Headquarters: 16-11, Unomori Itchome, Yokkaichi, Mie

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Miki, Masafuni (March 2004). "Railway Operators in Japan 12: Southern and Eastern Kinki Region" (PDF). Japan Railway & Transport Review. 38: 62–65 – via East Japan Railway Culture Foundation.
  2. ^ 純持株会社制移行に伴う会社分割に関するお知らせ (PDF) (in Japanese). Kintetsu Corporation. May 13, 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 6, 2014. Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  3. ^ 私鉄車両編成表 2017 [Private Railway Rolling Stock Formations - 2017] (in Japanese). Japan: Kotsu Shimbunsha. 25 July 2017. pp. 213–214. ISBN 978-4-330-81317-2.
  4. ^ 近鉄,名阪特急に新形車両を導入 [Kintetsu to introduce new rolling stock on Nagoya - Osaka limited express services]. Japan Railfan Magazine Online (in Japanese). Japan: Koyusha Co., Ltd. 11 January 2018. Archived from the original on 12 January 2018. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  5. ^ 新型名阪特急 2020年春デビュー! [New Nagoya - Osaka limited express to debut in spring 2020!] (PDF). News Release (in Japanese). Japan: Kintetsu Railway. 11 January 2018. Archived (PDF) from the original on 11 January 2018. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  6. ^ "近鉄,2024年秋に新形一般車両を導入へ" [Kintetsu to introduce new general vehicles in the fall of 2024]. Japan Railfan Magazine Online (in Japanese). 17 May 2022. Archived from the original on 18 May 2022. Retrieved 26 May 2022.
  7. ^ "Surutto Kansai pass". Surutto Kansai.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

External linksEdit