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Riding the Odakyu Romancecar: Enjoy Japan's Spectacular Scenery in Style!

Riding the Odakyu Romancecar: Enjoy Japan's Spectacular Scenery in Style!

Date published: 17 September 2019
Last updated: 15 February 2021

The Odakyu Romancecar is a convenient means of transportation when visiting Hakone or other resorts located two hours from Tokyo city center.

From Shinjuku Station, you can go to Hakone Yumoto Station, the gateway of Hakone, without changing trains even once! The cars with viewing seats, where you can enjoy the beautiful scenery, are also popular. To make your trip to Hakone more comfortable and enjoyable, you should know the features of romance cars and how to board one.

Travel to Hakone on a Romancecar!

The Romancecar from Shinjuku Station to Hakone Yumoto Station runs from 7 am to 5 pm on weekdays, weekends and holidays (until 7 pm on weekends and holidays), with 1 to 2 trains running every hour. The number of trains and the type of car vary depending on the time of the day, so it's best to check the schedule beforehand.

These are the Romancecars currently in service. We will talk about the features of each car later in this article.
These are the Romancecars currently in service. We will talk about the features of each car later in this article.

Romancecars only have reserved seats, so you need a special express ticket aside from the ticket to your destination. The fare from Shinjuku Station to Hakone Yumoto Station is 1,190 JPY per adult and the special express fare is 1,090 JPY per adult.
(These fares are as of August 2019.)

How to buy a special express ticket

Aside from the Shinjuku Station, you can also buy the Romancecar special express ticket from the ticket machine located outside the ticket date in each station along Odakyu Line, and from the special express ticket machine located at the boarding platform of the Romancecar.

The special express ticket machines outside the ticket gate. They are located next to the ticket booth.
The special express ticket machines outside the ticket gate. They are located next to the ticket booth.
The special express ticket machines located at the boarding platform of Romancecar
The special express ticket machines located at the boarding platform of Romancecar

You can also reserve special express tickets via internet or telephone 1 month before the boarding date. It’s best to reserve tickets beforehand if you have decided your boarding date and time.

Boarding the Romancecar at the station

After purchasing a ticket and a special express ticket, go through the automatic ticket gate and head to the Romancecar boarding platform.

You can only go through the ticket gate with a ticket. So, you will have to purchase a special express ticket at a ticket machine at the platform or inside the car later.

As you go through the ticket gate, the information on Romancecar scheduled for departure is displayed on the electronic bulletin board, so be sure to check the name of your train and platform.

When taking a Romancecar from Shinjuku Station, the boarding area is usually the 2nd or 3rd platform located on the ground floor of Odakyu Railway Shinjuku Station.

①列車・車形 (Train/Type) ②出発時刻 (Schedule) ③号車・座席番号 (Car no. / Seat no.)
①列車・車形 (Train/Type) ②出発時刻 (Schedule) ③号車・座席番号 (Car no. / Seat no.)

Once at the platform, look at the boarding location for each train, such as "VSE", written on the floor near the platform. Try to search for the train and train number the matches your special express ticket. Wait in line at the designated boarding location until the Romancecar arrives.

Once the Romancecar arrives, be sure to check the train name. People often mistake trains the depart before or after their train, so be careful.

Once you get on, look for the seat bearing the seat number on the special express ticket and take a seat. Now, you can enjoy your trip in comfort.

Each of the 5 Romancecars have different features!

Now, we will talk about the features of each Romacecar currently in service.

Currently, there are 5 Romancecars in operation, from the EXE (30000 model), which debuted in 1996, to the GSE (70000 model) introduced in 2018. Each train sports a different look. The wide variety of trains is one of the features of the Romancecar.

●Enjoy a dynamic view with the newest train GSE (70000 model)

This is the latest vehicle that uses a large glass as its front window and has 1-meter high continuous windows on its sides. This train allows you to enjoy a dynamic view.

This train has spacious seats with a table and outlet. It was designed to reduce vehicle vibration, making the trip easier. It also has limited content such as the map of the current area, a live stream of the viewing camera, and original videos. The train is equipped with Wi-Fi to which you can connect your smartphone.

●VSE (50000 model) is designed for people to enjoy their trip

There is no window frame on the windshield of the viewing seats installed at the end of Car 1 and Car 10, so that you can enjoy the open scenery in a spacious view.

It's designed for people to enjoy the scenery, so the seats are facing the window. Aside from this, it's also designed to reduce fatigue from sitting for long periods.

●Board the MSE (60000 model) on the subway

The Romancecar that goes through the Tokyo Metro Subway Chiyoda Line sports a calm interior equipped with LED lighting and wine-red carpet.

The train's comfortable seats come with stylish tables. It also has umbrella holders which keep the area around the seats clean and comfortable.

●EXEα (30000 model) equipped with large storage space

The train's interior is an elegant space featuring a natural design with beige seats and indirect lighting.

The comfortable seats are equipped with hooks and umbrella holders. They also have dedicated storage space for suitcases.

●EXE (30000 model) used by many commuters and students

This Romancecar is popular not only for sightseeing but also as a commuter express. This model has the largest number of seats and is used by many commuting workers and students.

It has a comfortable interior featuring stately spacious seats.

Features Unique to the Romancecar

What sets the Romancecar from other trains is its viewing seats. Aside from this, it has a lot of features not seen in cars, buses and other trains. We will now introduce the features of the Romancecar which will rev up your trip to Hakone.

●Enjoy the impressive scenery from the viewing seats

The Romancecar is best known for its viewing seats from which you can enjoy the scenery through a large window. From the front window, which allows you to feel like the train's driver, the impressive view of the tracks spreads out in front of you.

Moreover, it is popular with a lot of people because it costs the same as a regular seat. The seats are limited so be sure to reserve the seats ahead of time. In addition, only GSE (70000 model) and VSE (50000 model) have viewing seats.

●Enjoy a meal inside the train

Lunch boxes, snacks, sweets, and drinks are sold in the Romancecar. If you reserve in advance, they will even bring the meal to your seat. The best part of travelling on a train is enjoying lunch while looking at the open scenery outside.

●Salon Seats to lounge with a group

VSE (50000 model) has a semi-private room called Saloon Seats that can accommodate up to 4 people. It allows you to sit face-to-face in a private space partitioned by glass. When you go to Hakone with a group or with your family, we recommended that you reserve Saloon Seats so you can properly relax.

Lastly, we a list of various ways you can reserve and buy a Romancecar ticket and a special express ticket.

●Reserve and buy online
There are two ways to reserve and buy tickets on the internet. Both methods accept credit card as a form of payment. If you have a smartphone that can log in to their websites, you can ride the romance car even without being issued a special express ticket.

You don’t have to register, so you can immediately reserve and buy tickets. You can also reserve tickets on the internet and pay for them at the ticket machine in each station of the Odakyu Line and at ticket booths.

Here, you have to register first before reserving tickets. You can buy special express tickets and accumulate points with the Odakyu Point Card.

●Reserve by phone
You can reserve tickets by phone 60 minutes before the departure of the train. However, you can only reserve four (4) tickets with each phone call. You cannot choose your seat or reserve Saloon Seats. The ticket reserved through telephone call will be paid at the ticket booth or ticket machine.

「Reserve through an operator」
TEL No.: 044 (299) 8200
Reservation time: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM

●Reserve and buy tickets at the ticket booth or ticket machine
At major stations on the Odakyu Line, there are ticket booths where you can purchase tickets and special express tickets. These tickets can also be purchased at ticket machines located in each station. You can also purchase special express tickets booked on the Internet, etc. at the ticket booth or ticket machine.

Experience an adventure unique to the Odakyu Romancecar and have a wonderful trip to Hakone.

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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