Japan’s Odakyu Romancecar means you’ll travel in relative luxury

Photos by Eddie Marczewski
Photos by Eddie Marczewski

Japan’s Odakyu Romancecar means you’ll travel in relative luxury

by Eddie Marczewski
Stripes Japan

You may have heard of Japan’s Romancecar, but what, exactly, is it?

This limited express train on the Odakyu line and has reserved seating only. A ticket on the Romancecar will get you from Shinjuku Station in Tokyo to popular holiday spots Hakone, Enoshima and Kamakura.

To purchase your ticket on the Romancecar, head to any Shinjuku Station ticket machine. Using the English menu, select the Romancecar limited express ticket. From there, the screen will prompt you to select the boarding time, the destination and which seat is available to pick. After that, you insert the yen to pay for the ticket and then a paper copy of your receipt and ticket will be disbursed. You can also order your tickets on the Internet in advance and pay for them by credit card which is a little bit more complicated but it’s possible I think you can even do it in English. If you have trouble getting your ticket or seat, feel free to walk into the ticket agent and try your best to tell them where you want to go. Most staff at Shinjuku Station can speak enough English to assist English-speakers.

The ticket will tell you your seat number and train car number. Pay close attention to the car number on the Romancecar platform to find the train car where you will enter. So, if your ticket reads car 5 seat 1A. You will first go to car five, then go inside and find seat 1A.

One of the more unusual things you’ll notice about the Romancecar are the seats. When you’re waiting to board, first the cleaning staff will enter and the seats will be facing in a different direction. Pay close attention and you will see when the seats automatically switch to face the departure direction. It’s a pretty cool site to see if you’ve never seen it before.

Once inside, get ready for a comfortable ride through the beautiful landscape. Hold on to your ticket, the train conductor comes through to check. Also, if there are empty seats around you, you’re allowed to go sit in those during the ride if you want to look out on the other side of the train. The train usually stops in two or three locations between Shinjuku and Ottawa. So, bear in mind, that if you switch seats, there may be someone boarding later that purchased the seemingly empty one. The train also announces stops in English.

The Romancecar also offers a few other luxuries. One is a restroom and another is a beverage and snack cart. An Odakyu Line employee will walk down the aisle selling beverages and food. You’ll also find some cars within have vending machines. Each seat has a tray just like in an airplane, so sit back and enjoy the ride with some great snacks or a lunch bento.

I really enjoy riding on the Romancecar because it’s comfortable and I’m guaranteed a seat. I can sit and enjoy the ride, play a game on my phone, and enjoy a nice cold beer or cold drink and snack. Consider the Odakyu Romancecar next time you make a trip to Hakone or Enoshima, it will feel like you’re flying first-class!

Grab a seat on the Odakyu Romancecar!

More information here.

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