Odakyu Limited Express Romancecar

Odakyu Limited Express Romancecar

Odakyu Limited Express Romancecar
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The area
Neighborhood: Shinjuku
Shinjuku is the commuting capital of Tokyo, and contains the busiest train station in the world. To the west, there's an office district with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office at its center. To the east, there’s a district with long-established department stores, cinemas and theaters. Shinjuku Gyoen is a park originally built as the garden for the Imperial Household. It is quite famous as a venue for cherry-blossom viewing in March and April. In Shinjuku, many restaurants operate all night, and districts such as Omoide Yokocho (Memory Lane) or Shinjuku Golden Machi have back streets filled with tiny restaurants and bars that reflect each owner’s unique taste and style.
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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252 reviews
Very good

Nishinomiya, Japan1,232 contributions
Oct 2022
This is the special express train that has double-wide seats so that couples can sit together - ergo the nomenclature "Romance Car".

Since it is designed to take tourists from Tokyo to Hakone, each car has an area to place your luggage. However, their overhead luggage space is strangely shaped (probably due to the shape of the train itself) so backpacks are too wide to fit in.

As for the ride itself, it was just a ride. Nothing special however they did have larger windows than standard.

They do have a Romance Car museum at Ebina Station.

Like all special trains, you need to purchase two tickets for one ride. The price of the trip plus the Romance Car ticket. But the trip itself isn't that expensive so it isn't a burden.
Written October 16, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

John D
London, UK342 contributions
Nov 2014 • Couples
Travelled return journey on the Limited Express "Romancecar" from Shinjuku to Hakone in November 2014 in the rear panorama car of the LSE train. An enjoyable and quirky experience - I think perhaps people get the wrong idea when they read the word "Romancecar"! This isn't some kind of "love train", it's just an ordinary train which doesn't have armrests between the seats. Some of the trains also have panoramic views in the front and rear carriages. Be aware that these seats get sold out very quickly (I'll come onto this later). We weren't able to get seats in the forward facing car but in fact, the rear facing car was perhaps more interesting as you get to see the barriers at the level crossings come up as you pass them which is fun (they are very quick in Japan!) Ultimately, this is just a train journey from Tokyo to Odawara/Hakone but I'd recommend it over the Shinkansen just for something a little different. Here are some tips:

(i) Seat reservations: check the timetable on the Odakyu website well in advance. Seat reservations open up at 10am (Japanese time) on month earlier. There are several different types of train (http://www.odakyu.jp/english/romancecar/lineup/). The VSE is the newest and has front and rear panoramic cars as well as private cabins (for 4 passengers) and a comprehensive food/drink service. The LSE is the oldest but still has front and rear panoramic cars. If you want a chance of getting the front seat in a panoramic car, you need to be in front of your computer on the booking site exactly at 10am one month prior to the date you want to travel. This will probably mean getting up in the middle of the night if you are based in Europe so set an alarm! If you are unsure about the booking process, e-mail the Odakyu Service Centre - they are very helpful and will guide you through the process.

(ii) Hakone free pass: You can buy the 2/3 day Hakone Free Pass in Shinjuku which covers the journey to Hakone and all Odakyu transport in Hakone (Tozan line, cable car, ropeway, bus etc). Combine this with the seat reservations to get the best fare to Hakone.

One last point, if you do book the front seat in a panoramic car, be aware that you may end up with bright sunlight shining into your eyes so if you are not keen on this/you are travelling in the summer months while the sun is still low in the sky, you may want to sit elsewhere.
Written November 28, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Tumbi Umbi, Australia169 contributions
Oct 2018 • Family
We are a family of 5, 2 adults and 3 kids under 10. We had 10 days in Tokyo and wanted to visit Hakone.

I had read reviews and decided to purchase the tickets the day before we wanted to travel. The booking center is easy to find just outside the Odakyu Department Store on Level 2 of Shinjuku Station.

It looks like university students work there which was fine as their English was perfect.
We purchased our Hakone Freepass tickets and we wanted the Romancecar in both directions. We selected the first train leaving at 7am and the 4:26pm return.

Just to explain the pricing:
- Per adult we payed 5140 for the Freepass + 1090 One way Romancecar + 1090 Return Romancecar = 7320
- Per child we payed 1500 for the Freepass + 550 One way Romancecar + 550 Return Romancecar = 2600
So in total 2 A + 3K = 22440

We arrived at Shinjuku station early for our 7am train which was a red 8000 series, the seats are comfortable you have free WiFi and and a fold down tray.
We traveled to Hakone-Yumoto which is the end of the line for the Romancecar train.
Next we transferred to the Hakone Tozan Train headed for Gora. As the track is so steep the train goes thru a series of tunnels and switchbacks.
Arriving at Gora you transfer to the to Hakone Tozan Cable Car a funicular that travels up the steep incline for about 1.5km. We got off at Koen-kami station as the Hakone Freepass gives you free entry into Hakone Gora Park.
The park was well worth the visit and had an awesome Bonsai display.
Back on the funicular to finish the ride to Sounzan.
At Sounzan we transferred to the Hakone Ropeway, unfortunately the weather was cloudy with light rain and by the time we got to the top station at Owakudani, you could not see a thing let alone Mt Fuji.
You transfer to another Ropeway at Owakudani which travels to Togendai-Ko.

We had lunch at the Lakeview Restaurant overlooking the lake at Togendai-Ko. Make sure you show them your Freepasss as you get a 5% discount.

The sun started to come out after lunch so we boarding the "Pirate Ship" as they are affectionately known for a cruise on the lake to Hakonemachi-Ko. You change to another "Pirate Ship" for the last leg to Motohakone-Ko.

There were some nice shops at Motohakone-Ko that had very reasonably prices souvenirs.

From Motohakone-Ko we caught the Hakone Tozan Highway Bus "R" which is the express bus back to Hakone.

We got back to Hakone as 3pm and as the weather had turned fro the worst we asked at the Odakyu counter would it be possible to get an earlier train instead of waiting for the 4:26pm. They were very helpful and gave us new tickets on the 3:12pm train.

This train was a white 5000 series.

We arrived back at Shinjuku at 4:40pm. So 10 hours all together.

If anyone is interested in travelling on different forms of transport or seeing a regional area close to Tokyo in an easy going, comfortable trip then the Hakone Freepass with Romancecar option is definitely worth considering and if you happen to see Mt Fuji then that is an added bonus.
Written October 12, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

United States432 contributions
Aug 2015 • Family
In some trains they have an observation deck in the first car. We able to book the fourth rows for our trip to Hakone and the front row seats on our return to Shinjuku.

Although all first four rows are considered as observation deck, only the first and second rows actually have a good view. The third row aisle seats have partial view of the front, the third row window seats are blocked by pillars which make them worst than normal window seats. The fourth row aisle seats have even more limited frontal view and the window seats are just like regular window seats.

If you really want to book good seats make sure you go to Odakyu site exactly at 10:00 Japan time. It is a good idea to practice and get familiar to the booking process beforehand. All seats will be gone within 2 minutes. If you failed to book any observation deck seats, you can try again after 7 days since any booked but unpaid seats will be re-opened after a week.

Does it worth the trouble? Yes, for the first row and iffy for the rest. Good luck and have fun!
Written August 13, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Singapore, Singapore1,546 contributions
Oct 2016 • Family
So far this is probably only train ride I know which you can experience as a train driver. Of course, you have to book the observation deck seats (the 1st row is the best). The observation deck is at the most front part of car 1, where they design the driver seat on the top so you can sit where normally the driver sits and have a panoramic view.
You have to reserve the seats (and not all the trains have observation deck. LSE type has but MSE type does not have. You have to be careful). The ticket is on sale on Odakyu website at 10am Japanese time before the travel date. You must be very quick in order to get the observation deck seat. They accept credit card so you can pay the limited express fee (i.e. the fee for the seat reservation).
On the travel day itself, you have to purchase a normal ticket in order to get into the station. The normal ticket fee is part of Hakone Free pass also. So if you purchase Hakone Free pass, you don't have to buy the normal ticket.
All romance car is limited express train, which means no matter what you have to purchase normal ticket plus limited express ticket. So booking the seat online in advance does not incur any additional charge.
Written November 4, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Singapore, Singapore181 contributions
Dec 2017 • Family
The Romancecar train is basically a long distance train, nothing romantic about the setup. The ride from Shinjuku station to Hakone Yumoto is smooth, comfortable and takes about 1hour and 20 mins. You need 2 tickets for the Romancecar train ride - firstly the limited express ticket for Romancecar which can be bought online within 30 days of departure from the Odakyu website, and additionally buy a normal ticket or a 2 day freepass ticket which can only be bought at Odakyu office or their ticket machine in Shinjuku station. We opted for the 2 day free pass as it included the cost of all the modes of transport in Hakone, including the Hakone Tozan train, Hakone Funicular train, Hakone Ropeway, Hakone Sightseeing cruise, and Hakone Tozan bus. The free pass also provides discounts at several attractions in Hakone such as the museums. Even if you are travelling to Hakone for a 1 day trip, it is still cost effective and convenient to just buy the 2 day freepass.
Written December 19, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Nicholas B
6 contributions
Sep 2017 • Couples
Convenient way to travel from Shinjuku to Hakone. The reserved seats on the RomanceCar was fine.

BIG TIP : If you are travelling on the RomanceCar that has a Panoramic seat views (rear carriage) right in front in the noon time....DON'T. No tinting whatsoever. You will be roasted by the sun.
Written September 9, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Hong Kong, China1,287 contributions
Feb 2017 • Couples
Just normal train from Shinjuku to Hakone, with a few city stops in between, very convenient but not romance at all, when buying the ticket online, you would get the seat only, still have to buy the train ticket so please arrive at least 20 minutes before departure to buy the ticket at the counter, observation deck seats cost more I personally don't feel the necessity as the scenery is not too exciting. Credit card accepted at the counter. Changing time is free of charge, counter staff are very nice.
Written February 13, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

California4,855 contributions
Nov 2018 • Couples
Our travel agent booked this approx. 1 hr 40 min ride from Hakone to Shinjuku (Tokyo) on the Romancecar. It's not a Shinkansen -- and not romantic in the least -- more of a squeaky rickety train with carpeted floor and poor ventilation. The station in Hakone had a couple of stores and food places where you could grab a snack, use the WC, buy gifts or buy lunch to-go, etc. Impressively, a team of cleaners were standing on the platform so they could hop on board and cleanbefore we boarded -- love the clean aspect of Japan!

Luggage can be placed on the racks above your seat or behind the back seat in the carriage. (I recommend carry-on size throughout Japan for ease of travel). There are coat hooks, blinds to pull down for the sun, reclining seats and a server conveniently comes by with a cart selling drinks and snacks. There are no plugs for charging, so make sure you're fully charged before you get on board. Announcements are in English and Japanese.

Our carriage had a variety of snorers, sneezers, coughing hackers, nose-pickers and food smells, so I can't say it was the best of our train experiences in Japan, but it was clean, on time and got us where we wanted to go. I also enjoyed the views out the window. :) If you found this review useful or informational in any way, please click the 'thank' button. Happy travels!

Side note: We took the bus from our hotel in Hakone to the train station. The luggage storage on the buses is very limited, so again, I recommend you limit the luggage you carry around Japan to carry-on size.
Written March 7, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Hong Kong, China249 contributions
Jan 2017 • Couples
The express train is rather pricy but gets you to and from Hakone Yumoto pretty quickly. You can pay and reserve seats for the express on their website, especially if you want to ride in the observation cars because they go out fast. The website has clear instructions but it can be confusing for some people because the reservation fee online does not include the cost for the train ticket. You need to pay for regular train plus the express romancecar.

I strongly recommend heading over to the foreign travelers service counter in Odakyu department store Shinjuku (which is very close to the train platform) to sort it out if you have doubts. Their service is excellent. The train ride itself was fun and straightforward. Be punctual!
Written January 18, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Odakyu Limited Express Romancecar (Kanto) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

Frequently Asked Questions about Odakyu Limited Express Romancecar