Kintetsu Railway

For other uses, see Kintetsu (disambiguation).
Kintetsu Railway
Corporate mark of Kintetsu Railway Company, Limited

Shimakaze Limited Express

2014 Blue Ribbon Award winner, 50000 series on
the Shimakaze Limited Express
Dates of operation 1910 (1910)present
Track gauge
  • 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
  • 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
Length 501.2 km (311.4 mi)
Kintetsu Railway Co., Ltd.
Native name
Formerly called
Kintetsu Split Preparatory Company, Ltd.
Private KK
Industry Ground Transport
Predecessor Kintetsu Corporation
Founded April 30, 2014 (2014-04-30) in Osaka, Osaka Prefecture, Japan
Key people
Services Passenger Transport
Owner Kintetsu Group Holdings Co., Ltd.
Website (Japanese)

Kintetsu Railway Co., Ltd. (近畿日本鉄道株式会社 Kinki Nippon Tetsudō Kabushiki Kaisha), 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. The railway network connects Osaka, Nara, Kyoto, Nagoya, Tsu, Ise, and Yoshino. Kintetsu Railway Co. Ltd. is currently a wholly owned subsidiary of Kintetsu Group Holdings Co., Ltd.


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 (nowaday the Nara Line) on April 30, 1914. 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 susidiary 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 current 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.

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, respectedly.

On the samed 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.[1]


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 tramway

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 lines

All lines operate with 1500 V DC overhead catenary except for the Keihanna Line, which operates on 750 V DC third rail.

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

Cable car (Funicular) lines

Ropeway (aerial tramway)

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

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.

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

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 services

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

Abandoned lines and transferred lines

Lines transferred to Nankai Electric Railway

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.

Unbuilt lines

Rolling stock

As of 1 April 2016, 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 (2,278 vehicles).[2]

Fare cards

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

Kintetsu accepts five types of pre-paid and post-paid reusable fare cards: Pearl Card, Surutto Kansai, J-Thru Card, PiTaPa, and ICOCA. Pearl Card is used for purchase of tickets and others are used in lieu of tickets. Validity of these cards varies by lines as shown in the table below.

Validity of fare cards on Kintetsu lines
Magnet Contactless IC
Dōmyōji Line x - + + +
Gose Line x + + + +
Ikoma Line x + + + +
Kashihara Line x + + + +
Keihanna Line x + x + +
Kyoto Line x + + + +
Minami-Osaka Line x + + + +
Nagano Line x + + + +
Nagoya Line x - - + +
Namba Line x + + + +
Nara Line x + + + +
Osaka Line Uehommachi - Aoyamachō x + + + +
Iga-Kōzu - Ise-Nakagawa x - - + +
Shigi Line x + + + +
Shima Line Five major stations2 x - - + +
Other stations x - - - -
Suzuka Line x - - + +
Tawaramoto Line x - - + +
Tenri Line x + + + +
Toba Line x - - + +
Yamada Line x - - + +
Yoshino Line x - - + +
Yunoyama Line x - - + +
Other lines x - - - -



  1. The sales of Pearl Card and J-Through Card ended on September 15, 2008.
  2. The five major stations on the Shima Line that accept IC Cards are Toba, Nakanogō, Shima-Isobe, Ugata and Kashikojima.

Offices of Kintetsu

See also


  1. 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. Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  2. 私鉄車両編成表 2016 [Private Railway Rolling Stock Formations - 2016] (in Japanese). Japan: Kotsu Shimbunsha. 25 July 2016. p. 213-214. ISBN 978-4-330-70116-5.
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