A luxury ride to historic Kyoto, Nara and Osaka – Kintetsu Aoniyoshi Sightseeing Train

There are many different ways to get around between Osaka and the historic cities and sights of Kyoto and Nara. But Kintetsu Railway offers the most special, relaxing and luxury one by the AONIYOSHI Sightseeing Limited Express Train. If you like combining your sightseeing with a ride of a special and unique train, just ride a train or simply take beautiful train pictures, then this is your choice.

In this article you will find:

What is the Aoniyoshi Train?

The Aoniyoshi Sightseeing Limited Express Train is a fairly new train operated by Kintetsu Railway. It connects Osaka with Nara and Kyoto. Nara and Kyoto are both full of historic and ancient sight, whereas Osaka is modern and famous vibrant life, restaurant, food and drinking culture. When visiting Japan all three cities are definitely worth a visit. Depending on you preferences stay in overnight in either of them and visit the others by day trips using the Aoniyoshi train.

Aoniyoshi outside view of car no. 4
Outside view of car no. 4

The train is really a unique one designed for luxury and relaxing sight seeing travel. It consists of four wagons with a total capacity of 84 people only. Three wagons are so-called Twin Seat cars. Seats are arranged so that always two people can sit together. On the one side, seats are facing each, on the other side they are facing the window. The third one is the Saloon Car. There you can find seats with tables for up to four people as well as a sales counter offering snacks and merchandising. All seats are very relaxing chairs reminding of an old fashioned library. Despite the traditional design the train is totally modern and refurbished offering power plugs on each seat, reading lights and a curtain. Of course there are also toilets on board. Further there is a small library in one of the cars where you can get a book or magazine to read during the trip. Nice idea, but in most cases watching out of the window is more recommended.

Twin Seat car of the Aoniyoshi train
Twin Seat car

Where does the Aoniyoshi run?

The Aoniyoshi connects Osaka, Nara and Kyoto. In Osaka it departs at the Kintetsu Osaka Namba station which is in the center of Osaka. It takes two more stops in Osaka city at Osaka-Uehommachi and Tsuruhashi running through the suburbs of Osaka before heading into the country side towards Nara. It doesn’t stop before reaching the Kintetsu Nara Station. After changing directions it continues to Kyoto Station. Kyoto Station is located in central Kyoto and also served by other companies such as JR.

It takes about 40 minutes to get from Osaka to Nara and vice versa. And it’s another about 40 minutes for the trip between Kyoto and Nara.

Kintetsu Osaka Namba Station

The Kintetsu Osaka Namba Station is located in the heart of Osaka city in the area called Namba. It is in fact a huge combination of several stations and underground shopping malls. At first it might be difficult to find your way there. But there are pretty good signs leading the way when entering the underground system. The Kintetsu station is located in the very basement. Osaka Namba is connected well be subway from any place in Osaka.

Kintetsu Nara Station

Compared to Namba the Kintetsu Nara Station is rather small and clear. It’s also and underground station located centrally in Nara. Major sights and tourists spots can be reached by walks or bit of hikes from there there.

Kintetsu Kyoto Station

The Kintetsu Kyoto Station is located inside the main Kyoto Station building complex. It’s entrance is right next to the shinkansen an gates and quite easy to find. There are also JR and subway lines serving Kyoto Station. The station is centrally located in Kyoto right in front of Kyoto Tower. The station building is an attraction on its own by its unique architecture, observation decks and a skywalk.

When does the Aoniyoshi run?

The train runs six times a week. Be aware that it does not run on Thursdays. This information is actually not mentioned on the English website, only on the Japanese one. A couple of trains are running over the day with slight time differences on weekdays and weekends. Start in the morning is in Osaka to Kyoto over Nara. During the day it shuttles between Kyoto and Nara before returning to Osaka in the evening.

I’d recommend to use it on a weekday since weekends might be packed with Japanese visitors.

*Timetable might have changed so please confirm on official sites before your departure

Train 1 Osaka to Kyoto via Nara

WeekdayWeekend & Holiday
Kintetsu-Nara (Arriving)9:5810:07
Kintetsu-Nara (Departing)10:0910:13
Kyoto (Arriving)10:5010:49

Train 2 From Kyoto to Nara

WeekdayWeekend & Holiday
Kyoto (Departing)10:2010:20
Kintetsu-Nara (Arriving)11:5511:55

Train 3 From Nara to Kyoto

WeekdayWeekend & Holiday
Kintetsu-Nara (Departing)12:1012:10
Kyoto (Arriving)12:4512:45

Train 4 From Kyoto to Nara

WeekdayWeekend & Holiday
Kyoto (Departing)13:2013:20
Kintetsu-Nara (Arriving)13:5513:54

Train 5 From Nara to Kyoto

WeekdayWeekend & Holiday
Kintetsu-Nara (Departing)14:1014:10
Kyoto (Arriving)14:4514:45

Train 6 From Kyoto to Osaka via Nara

WeekdayWeekend & Holiday
Kintetsu-Nara (Arriving)15:5615:56
Kintetsu-Nara (Departing)16:0216:03
Osaka-Namba (Arrival)16:4016:39

Tickets and Prices for the Aoniyoshi Journey

Limited Express typically means that you need to buy an extra ticket to pay a surcharge for this train. Several limited express trains, like the Aoniyoshi have reserved seats only. This means you have to make the seat reservation prior to boarding.

In general you can just go to one of the Kintetsu stations to make the reservation and buy the ticket. As said the Aoniyoshi has a limited capacity and is pretty popular so tickets might sell out fast.

Luckily Kintetsu offers an online reservation system which is also available in English. Reservation for trains opens one month before their departure at 10:30 AM Japanese time. It‘s recommended to reserve the Aoniyoshi quite early. The system lacks in design but is easy to understand. Payment can be done by credit cards. Changes and cancellation to your reservation are also possible.

Fare Prices

The price calculation is a bit difficult at the first look but typical to Japanese trains.

Firstly you have to pay a base fare which depends on the travel distance. Additionally there is the limited express surcharge also depending on the distance. This surcharge applies to any type of limited express operated by Kintetsu. Finally the is a special surcharge for the Sightseeing train which is fixed at 210 Yen which is depending on the rate less then 2$ or 2 Euro. One must say a really fair surcharge for a first class luxury travel.

One remark: Twin Seats are obviously designed for some private travel. So in case you want to use them alone you must purchase a child ticket for the second seat which is roughly at half the price.

That leads to the following total prices:

One adult when two people are using the twin seats

Osaka Namba ↔ KyotoOsaka Namba ↔ NaraNara ↔ Kyoto
Total1960 Yen1300 Yen1370 Yen
Basic Fare
Ltd. Exp. Special
960 Yen
790 Yen
570 Yen
520 Yen
210 Yen
640 Yen
520 Yen
210 Yen
Prices using Twin Seat with two persons

One adult when using the twin seats alone

Osaka Namba ↔ KyotoOsaka Namba ↔ NaraNara ↔ Kyoto
Total2470 Yen1670 Yen1740 Yen
Basic Fare
Ltd. Exp.
960 Yen
1190 Yen
320 Yen
570 Yen
780 Yen
320 Yen
640 Yen
780 Yen
320 Yen
Prices using Twin Seat alone

To mention again that the single usage of a Twin Seat is priced more than fair.

Hints and Recommendation

  • Make you reservation in advance, the train might sell our fast
  • Take in total the full ride from Osaka over Nara to Kyoto
  • Haven‘t been to Nara before: Start from Osaka, get off in Nara for sightseeing and continue later the day to Kyoto or back to Osaka
  • Use the stop in Nara to take some pictures of the train

Q&A about the Aoniyoshi Train

Is there a toilet on board?

Yes, there is. As in basically an Japanese trains there are toilettes on board. Also, those toilettes are clean and functional.

Does the Aoniyoshi Train depart on time?

Yes. As all trains in Japan the Aoniyoshi also departs on time.

Should I make a reservation for the train?

Yes, definately. In Japan sightseeing trains are popular among locals and tourists. So especially in vacation season or weekends this train is very lickely to be fully booked. Therefore, make sure to reserve you tickets in advance.

How can I make a reservation for the Aoniyoshi Train?

There are two way to make a reservation. In Japan you can go to any Kintetsu Railway station and reserve your ticket at a vending machine or at the counter. Kintetsu also offers an online reservation system in English language which can be found here (https://www.ticket.kintetsu.co.jp/vs/en/e-ticket/). Tickets can be reserved one month prior to departure starting at 10:30 (JST). The online service is only available between 5:30 and 23:45 JST.


Timetable in JP: https://www.kintetsu.co.jp/senden/aoniyoshi/

English Info: https://www.kintetsu.co.jp/foreign/english/aoniyoshi/

Online Reservation of Kintetsu: https://www.ticket.kintetsu.co.jp/vs/en/e-ticket/

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