A Travel Price Comparison for Japan Atami vs. Sendai for Attractions, Nightlife, Families, and Food

Should you visit Atami or Sendai?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Atami and Sendai can help. It includes a travel cost comparison in addition to other factors. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Atami

Atami is a nostalgic, authentic, and overlooked town. Visitors also love the museums, nightlife, and food.

Sendai

Sendai is a lively, high energy, and vibrant city. It's a large city, so you'll find plenty of things to do around town. Visitors also love the nightlife, food, and beaches.

Atami and Sendai: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers


Is there more to do in Atami or Sendai?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Sendai than Atami, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Sendai is more touristy than Atami and is known for the Tanabata Festival, which is the largest of its kind and held every August. Also, Sendai is famous for the statue of Lord Masamune. Atami is well known for its onsen (hot springs) and sandy beaches.

How is Atami different from Sendai?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Sendai and Atami. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Atami or Sendai?

Atami
Sendai

Sendai is a very popular place for its museums and history. Also, Atami is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its museums and landmarks.

You'll find a good number of museums and monuments packed into Sendai. The city grew up as a castle town, and today the castle ruins are a popular tourist destination. A park surrounds the area, Aobayama Park, and while only the stonewalls remain, you can visit the Sendai City Museum in the park as well. Zuihoden Temple is another landmark worth visiting, as is the AER observation terrace.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Atami. The onsen, or hot springs, have historically been a big draw to this town. Places to experience them include Oedo Onsen Monogatari Atami, Otsuki Hotel Wafukan, and Myoraku-Yu. Other sights around town include Kaminiya Shrine and the MOA Museum of Art.


Is the Food Better in Atami or Sendai? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Atami
Sendai

There are opportunities to sample the local cuisine at notable restaurants in both Atami and Sendai.

Atami has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. You'll find an authentic Japanese dining experience here, with a lot of seafood due to the city's coastal location. Popular dishes include sushi, dried fish, and fish boiled in broth.

There are many up and coming restaurants in the Sendai area. There are a number of local specialties in the area and if you're an adventurous eater, then this is your place. Many of the dishes are influenced by the city's proximity to the ocean. Make sure you try the harako-meshi (rice with fish eggs), sea squirts, and sashimi. Another local favorite is beef tongue.

Is Atami or Sendai Better for Nightlife?

Atami
Sendai

Sendai is a very popular place for nightlife and partying. Also, Atami is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its evening party scene.

Sendai has a large number of nightlife venues. Head to Kokubuncho for the best nightlife scene in the area. This downtown neighborhood is filled with bars, clubs, and karaoke that come alive in the evening. For live music, check out Rensa, which is one of the city's largest live music venues.

Atami has an active nightlife scene for those who seek it out. The town was once a place to escape the city and enjoy a fun night out, but these days it's a bit quieter and has more of a nostalgic vibe. Head to Yushima Yugijo Yushima Amusement Center for some of the best nightlife in town.

Is Atami or Sendai Better for Beaches?

Atami
Sendai

Both Atami and Sendai are considered to be notable beach destinations.

Plenty of visitors enjoy relaxing on the beach in Atami. The most popular beach in the city is Atami Sun Beach, which is right in town. It's a place to relax in the sun, and there are sometimes fireworks throughout the year.

Sendai offers a nice beach destination. There are a number of beaches in the area, but for the best options you'll want to head a bit out of town.


Is the Shopping Better in Atami or Sendai?

Atami
Sendai

Sendai is a very popular place for its shopping opportunities. Also, Atami is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its shopping areas.

Sendai is well-known for its shopping. You'll find shopping arcades in the downtown area like Ichibancho, which is one of the most popular shopping districts in the city. If you head out of town towards the suburbs, you'll find malls and other outlet stores.

Many visitors go to Atami to go shopping. You'll find a couple of retro shopping streets in town such as Atami Ekimae Shopping Street, Nakamise Shopping Street, and Heiwadori Shopping Street. There are arcades and food stalls where you can sample local dishes.

Is Atami or Sendai Better for Families?

Atami
Sendai

Sendai is a very popular place for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Atami is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its family-friendly activities.

Because of its large number of kid-friendly activities, Sendai is very family-friendly. The city has a number of green spaces that kids will enjoy including parks and playgrounds. There are also kid-focused museums like the Anpanman Children's Museum and the 3M Sendai City Science Museum. If the young ones really need a break from the history, you can check out Yagiyama Beny Land.

You'll find plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Atami. The city is a hot springs area, but you can also head to the nearby beaches and other family-friendly activities.

Is Atami or Sendai Better for Couples?

Atami
Sendai

Both Atami and Sendai are notable destinations for a couple's getaway.

Atami makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. This is a beach and hot springs resort area, and in historic times it was a honeymoon destination. Today you'll find beaches, hot springs, shopping, and museums to explore, but most visitors use it as a base to explore the nearby areas, as the town itself doesn't have a lot to offer.

Sendai is a good town for couples to visit. The city boasts beautiful temples as well as nice natural areas, parks, and gardens. If you have time to get out of town, Okama is a volcanic lake that is one of the most beautiful spots in the region, and well worth the excursion.


Is Atami or Sendai Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Atami
Sendai

Atami and Sendai are both notable destinations for backpackers.

Atami is a good town to visit for backpackers. While there aren't a huge number of hostels in the area, and backpackers often skip over this town, prices aren't particularly high so you should be able to find something affordable.

Plenty of backpackers visit Sendai. There are a couple of hostels around the town and many of the activities are free as they involve strolling through parks or wandering down shopping streets.

Is Atami or Sendai Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Atami
Sendai

Sendai is a very popular place for times when you don't have a car. Also, Atami is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its public transit.

The public transit in Sendai can get you around easily. There are two subway lines the north-south Namboku Line and the east-west Tozai Line. These lines cross at Sendai Station.

You'll find some public transit in Atami, but it may not be enough to take you everywhere. There are public buses, such as the YuYu Bus, which has two routes and passes by many of the town's attractions.

Is Atami or Sendai a more walkable city?

Atami
Sendai

Sendai is a very popular place for its high level of walkability. Also, Atami is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its ease of walking around.

Sendai is a very walkable city. There are many parts of the city that are walkable, especially around Sendai Station as well as in the Chuo-dori arcade and the the Kokubuncho neighborhood.

Atami is a somewhat walkable town. Some parts of the city are more walkable than others.


For even more information, also check out Is Atami Worth Visiting? and Is Sendai Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Sendai or Atami?

How long in Atami or Sendai?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Atami and Sendai. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Sendai than in Atami. Usually, 1-2 days is a good amount of time for Atami, and 2-3 days is enough time in Sendai.

Families should spend more time in Sendai than Atami. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Sendai, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Sendai than Atami. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Sendai that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Sendai than Atami if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Sendai.


  • How many days in Atami or Sendai? Ideal Length of Stay
    Atami 1-2 
    Sendai 2-3

One day in Atami or Sendai?

Many travelers enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting the destination of Atami. One day is often enough time to do most activities.

In Sendai, many people enjoy the shopping and museums that this lively destination offers. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it.

A weekend in Atami or Sendai?

Atami is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. With all of its activities, you can easily fill a weekend here. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Sendai. For many, it makes a great getaway for a weekend. This would be the perfect place to spend a weekend, as it has just the right amount of activities. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.

Five days in Atami or Sendai?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Atami. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Sendai is a fun place to experience. Travelers enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the destination of Sendai. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything.


A week in Atami or Sendai?

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the authentic destination of Atami. This town offers a variety of activities to choose from. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

You'll find food and shopping around the lively destination of Sendai. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best 10-Day Tours from Tokyo, The Best 2-Week Tours from Tokyo, The Best Family-Friendly Tours to Japan, and The Best Hiking & Trekking Tours in Japan.


Which place is cheaper, Sendai or Atami?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Atami is $84, while the average daily cost in Sendai is $102. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Atami and Sendai in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Atami $42
    Sendai $58
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Atami $84
    Sendai $116
Compare Hotels in Atami and Sendai

Looking for a hotel in Atami or Sendai? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Atami


Hotels in Sendai


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Atami Hotel Prices and Sendai Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Atami $35
    Sendai $17

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Atami

Also for Atami, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Narita Airport to/from Izu or Atami City Private Transfer: $657
  • Haneda Airport to/from Izu or Atami City Private Transfer: $563

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Sendai

Also for Sendai, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Sendai Airport to/from Sendai city central private transfer: $155

Is it cheaper to fly into Atami or Sendai?

Prices for flights to both Sendai and Atami change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Atami $23
    Sendai $32

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Atami

For Atami, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Izakaya Dinner and Karaoke Lounge: $163

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Sendai

For Sendai, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Miyagi, Shiogama Local Food Tour with Premium Tuna and Sushi Town: $128

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Atami $7.50
    Sendai $18

Tours and Activities in Atami

For Atami, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • "Explore Atami's Culinary Culture" Walking Tour: $44
  • Exclusive Geisha Experience: $115
  • Hakone one day tour: $156
  • Ninja, Samurai, Odawara Castle Experience: $130
  • Odawara Castle and Town Guided Discovery Tour: $117
  • Sushi and Karaoke Experience in Japan: $228

Tours and Activities in Sendai

For Sendai, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Japanese Taiko Drum Experience at Sairi Yashiki : $72
  • Sendai, Okama: Private tour from Sendai city to Okama: $254
  • Local Foodie Tour, wander around the gourmet town: $114

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Atami $5.32
    Sendai $10


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Atami and Sendai, we can see that Sendai is more expensive. And not only is Atami much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Atami would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Atami and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Sendai would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Sendai than you might in Atami.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Atami Expensive? and Is Sendai Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Atami or Sendai?

Sendai has a larger population, and is about 30 times larger than the population of Atami. When comparing the sizes of Atami and Sendai, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Atami or Sendai?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Atami or Sendai in the Summer?

Both Sendai and Atami are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities. Most visitors come to Atami for the beaches and the family-friendly experiences during these months. Also, the summer months attract visitors to Sendai because of the beaches, the city activities, and the family-friendly experiences.

Atami is a little warmer than Sendai in the summer. The daily temperature in Atami averages around 26°C (78°F) in July, and Sendai fluctuates around 23°C (73°F).

Atami usually receives more sunshine than Sendai during summer. Atami gets 140 hours of sunny skies, while Sendai receives 124 hours of full sun in the summer.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Sendai. It's quite rainy in Atami. In July, Atami usually receives more rain than Sendai. Atami gets 202 mm (8 in) of rain, while Sendai receives 151 mm (5.9 in) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Atami 26°C (78°F) 
    Sendai 23°C (73°F)

Should I visit Atami or Sendai in the Autumn?

Both Sendai and Atami during the autumn are popular places to visit. The autumn months attract visitors to Atami because of the shopping scene. Furthermore, the city's sights and attractions and the shopping scene are the main draw to Sendai this time of year.

In the autumn, Atami is a little warmer than Sendai. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Atami in October average around 18°C (64°F), and Sendai averages at about 15°C (59°F).

In the autumn, Atami often gets less sunshine than Sendai. Atami gets 130 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Sendai receives 149 hours of full sun.

Sendai gets a good bit of rain this time of year. It rains a lot this time of the year in Atami. Atami usually gets more rain in October than Sendai. Atami gets 154 mm (6.1 in) of rain, while Sendai receives 103 mm (4.1 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Atami 18°C (64°F) 
    Sendai 15°C (59°F)

Should I visit Atami or Sendai in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Atami and Sendai. The museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Atami this time of year. Furthermore, many travelers come to Sendai for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

Be prepared for some very cold days in Sendai. In January, Atami is generally much warmer than Sendai. Daily temperatures in Atami average around 5°C (42°F), and Sendai fluctuates around 2°C (35°F).

Atami usually receives more sunshine than Sendai during winter. Atami gets 162 hours of sunny skies, while Sendai receives 149 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Atami usually receives more rain than Sendai. Atami gets 73 mm (2.9 in) of rain, while Sendai receives 42 mm (1.7 in) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Atami 5°C (42°F) 
    Sendai 2°C (35°F)

Should I visit Atami or Sendai in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Atami as well as Sendai. Many travelers come to Atami for the beaches. Additionally, many visitors come to Sendai in the spring for the beaches and the activities around the city.

Atami is a little warmer than Sendai in the spring. The daily temperature in Atami averages around 14°C (57°F) in April, and Sendai fluctuates around 10°C (51°F).

In the spring, Atami often gets less sunshine than Sendai. Atami gets 161 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Sendai receives 188 hours of full sun.

Atami receives a lot of rain in the spring. Atami usually gets more rain in April than Sendai. Atami gets 163 mm (6.4 in) of rain, while Sendai receives 94 mm (3.7 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Atami 14°C (57°F) 
    Sendai 10°C (51°F)

Typical Weather for Sendai and Atami

Atami Sendai
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 5°C (42°F) 73 mm (2.9 in) 2°C (35°F) 42 mm (1.7 in)
Feb 6°C (42°F) 83 mm (3.3 in) 2°C (35°F) 49 mm (1.9 in)
Mar 9°C (48°F) 153 mm (6 in) 5°C (40°F) 68 mm (2.7 in)
Apr 14°C (57°F) 163 mm (6.4 in) 10°C (51°F) 94 mm (3.7 in)
May 18°C (65°F) 164 mm (6.4 in) 15°C (60°F) 111 mm (4.4 in)
Jun 22°C (71°F) 254 mm (10 in) 19°C (66°F) 133 mm (5.2 in)
Jul 26°C (78°F) 202 mm (8 in) 23°C (73°F) 151 mm (5.9 in)
Aug 27°C (80°F) 222 mm (8.7 in) 25°C (77°F) 165 mm (6.5 in)
Sep 23°C (74°F) 209 mm (8.2 in) 21°C (69°F) 187 mm (7.4 in)
Oct 18°C (64°F) 154 mm (6.1 in) 15°C (59°F) 103 mm (4.1 in)
Nov 13°C (55°F) 108 mm (4.2 in) 9°C (49°F) 69 mm (2.7 in)
Dec 8°C (46°F) 62 mm (2.4 in) 4°C (40°F) 36 mm (1.4 in)


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