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For info on using trains, subways & taxis around Osaka, or trains from Osaka to Kyoto (JR or Hankyu), Nara (JR or Kintetsu), Kobe (JR or Hankyu/Hanshin) and Himeji (JR), go to the Getting Around page. Includes info on JR West Pass, Kansai Thru Pass (private trains, etc.), ICOCA prepaid IC chip card (good on JR and private lines), and other discount tickets. For info on getting to/from Kansai International Airport (KIX), including special train deals, go to the Arriving & Departing page.
Kintetsu Railways offers a Rail Pass that can be purchased on arrival at Kansai International Airport (Osaka) from the JTB Travel Office. It became valid on the first day on which it it is activated at a Kintetsu station. At Y3,500 it is great value. Each Pass comes with three coupons that can be exchanged for Limited Express tickets. The four vouchers in the pass is used for use on local journeys. You just show it to the attendant at each station - they are located along side the automatic ticket turnstyles. You will see them by their fawn uniform - most speak basic English.
The Limited Express are trains that travel to further out destinations such as Nagoya or Nara and Kyoto. With three one-way passes you have to plan for where you will get best value. There is no direct Limited Express from Osaka (Namba Station or nearby stations) to Kyoto, therefore it is best to use the unlimited travel part of the Pass to catch local Kintetsu trains to Nara and use the Limited Express for Nagoya as this is a 2 hour plus journey.
The cost of regular return fares to Nagoya alone was equivalent to the whole pass cost - you get Kyoto and Nara return as a bonus and used the local (non-bookable ) communter trains. All this for 5 days.
Make sure you ask for the Kinki Nippon Railway English language Route Guide (you can get it at Namba Station at the ticket office where you exchange coupons for Limited Express tickets) as it gives the relevant railway and subway connections whereas the map that comes with the tickets doesn't.
It should also be pointed out that Kintetsu does not run a train service from Kansai Airport - you must use Nankai or Japan Rail. Nankai Railways has a regular commuter service with many stops but it gives an opportunity to get a perspective of the outskirt of Osaka or you can use Nankai's Rapi't (yes that's the spelling) which has bookable seats and while dearer is recommended for first time travellers to Osaka - unless you are budget travellers. It's what the local business executives use.
In and arround Osaka, Nagoya and Kyoto you are best to use the subway as Kintetsu has limited numers of stations. An all-day pass in Osaka is around Y800 which is good value considering a one-way ride for one or two stops is Y200. In Nagoya it is even cheaper Y650. Thank you to the kind local lady in Nagoya who pointed this out. There are plenty of reviews about the subway system. The ticket vending machines have an "English button" with full instructions in English.