|Locale||Kinki region/Tōkai region, Japan|
|Dates of operation||September 16, 1910–present|
|Length||501.2 km (311.4 mi)|
|Kinki-nippon Tetsudō Kabushiki gaisha|
|Formerly||Kintetsu Split Preparatory Company, Ltd.|
formerly Kinki-nippon Railway Company, Limited
|Founded||April 30, 2014in Osaka, Osaka Prefecture, Japan|
|Parent||Kintetsu Group Holdings|
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. 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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
All lines operate with 1,500 V DC overhead catenary except for the Keihanna Line, which operates on 750 V DC third rail.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As of 1 April 2017[update], 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). 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.
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.