A Travel Price Comparison for Japan Kyoto vs. Ise for Attractions, Couples, Food, and Families

Should you visit Kyoto or Ise?

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

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Kyoto and Ise 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.

Kyoto

Kyoto is a fascinating, traditional, and historic city. It's a large city, so you'll find plenty of things to do around town. The famous beauty of this place is one of the main draws. And you can't forget about the shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Ise

Ise is a overlooked, authentic, and off-the-beaten-path city. And you can't forget about the shopping, museums, and food.

Kyoto and Ise: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Scenic old town
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Very walkable
  • Impressive beauty
Pros
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less popular with couples
  • Less walkable


Is there more to do in Kyoto or Ise?

You'll generally find more things to do in Kyoto than Ise. Kyoto is bigger than Ise, and it also has more attractions and activities for travelers. Kyoto is better known for its museums, nightlife, historical sights, shopping, big city activities, and impressive beauty, while Ise is more popular for its beaches. Kyoto is more touristy than Ise and is known for its Buddhist temples, cultural activities, and rich history. Also, Kyoto is famous for Kinkaku-ji. Ise is well known for its important Shinto shrines and its coastal setting.

How is Kyoto different from Ise?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Kyoto or Ise?

Kyoto
Ise

Kyoto is a must-visit destination for its museums and landmarks. Also, Ise is still popular, but not quite as popular for its historical sights.

The museums, monuments, and landmarks in Kyoto are among the most recognizable in the world. With its long-running history, there are many traditional buildings and temples in town. Nijo Castle is stunning to explore, but also make sure you visit the Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine, the Golden Pavilion, and Kiyomizu-dera Temple.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Ise. While this is an often overlooked part of Japan for tourists, those who venture here will enjoy strolling through the forest and visiting the shrine complex of Ise Jingu.


Is the Food Better in Kyoto or Ise? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Kyoto
Ise

There are opportunities to sample the local cuisine at great restaurants in both Kyoto and Ise.

Eating is part of the travel experience when you visit Kyoto. The local cuisine is as beautiful as it is delicious. There is a long running history to many of the dishes, and the recipes are expertly prepared by world class chefs at many of the restaurants. You can enjoy everything from a tea ceremony to multi-course meals, referred to as kyo kaiseki.

Ise has a number of nationally recognized food spots and restaurants. You'll find some of Japan's best seafood around town and there are many local delicacies. Head to the downtown area around Iseshi Station to find a high concentration of places. One local specialty is the Japanese spiny lobster (also known as the Ise lobster).

Is Kyoto or Ise Better for Nightlife?

Kyoto
Ise

Kyoto is a city with good options for nightlife and partying. However, Ise is not particularly known for its evening party scene.

Kyoto has an active nightlife scene for those who seek it out. While it isn't known for its wild nightlife scene, there is a relaxed and active energy in the evenings here. You can visit the beautiful Arashiyama Kimono Forest or explore some of the riverfront areas such as Kamo Riverside.

Ise doesn't have the most active nightlife scene. Most visitors don't stay long enough to take in the nightlife, which is limited.

Is Kyoto or Ise Better for Beaches?

Kyoto
Ise

Ise is a city with good options for the beache. However, Kyoto is not a beach destination.

Plenty of visitors enjoy relaxing on the beach in Ise. There are several nice and sandy beaches in the area that make for a nice break from the sightseeing.

Kyoto is not a beach destination.


Is Kyoto or Ise Better for its Old Town?

Kyoto
Ise

Kyoto is a must-visit destination for its old town. However, Ise does not have a historic old town.

The rich history of Kyoto can be explored in its historical center. This is among the most historic cities in Japan and there are many traditional buildings and temples. Higashiyama is filled with interesting districts and it has many UNESCO World Heritage temples.

Ise does not have a historic old town.

Is the Shopping Better in Kyoto or Ise?

Kyoto
Ise

Kyoto is well known for its shopping opportunities. Also, Ise is still popular, but not quite as popular for its shopping areas.

Kyoto is a popular shopping destination with plenty of stores. There's a mix of modern shopping venues and traditional boutiques. Shijo Street is a popular shopping area, as is the area around JR Kyoto Station.

Ise has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. There's a shopping street in town with many of the shops housed in traditional buildings, giving the area a nice character.

Is Kyoto or Ise Better for Families?

Kyoto
Ise

Kyoto is well known for its family-friendly activities. Also, Ise is still popular, but not quite as popular for its kid-friendly activities.

Kyoto is a very kid-friendly city. Kids will enjoy exploring Nijo Castle as much as adults. If the weather isn't great, you can head to the Kyoto International Manga Museum which is a bit like a library and is perfect for Manga fans. There are also markets to explore such as the Nishiki Markets, which are lined with shops and restaurants.

Ise offers lots of family activities. The Ise Jingu Shrine complex is large and sprawling, and has the feel of a park. The kids will likely find visiting all of the temples tedious, but the forest is peaceful and the setting is beautiful.


Is Kyoto or Ise Better for Couples?

Kyoto
Ise

Kyoto is a must-visit destination for its romantic activities. Also, Ise is still popular, but not quite as popular for couples.

Kyoto is a great city for couples, as it has plenty to offer. This is one of the most historic cities in Japan, and it has many romantic neighborhoods where you can enjoy the atmosphere. Visit Sanneizaka Slope for its traditional shops and restaurants or take a ride on the Sagano Romantic Train. Other romantic highlights include Kimono Forest, which is an art exhibit, and Suzumushidera Temple.

Ise is a good city for couples to visit. This is an off-the-beaten path destination that is far more than a shrine - it's a complex of shrines. It's spread out over a large space and filled with forest and peaceful walks that couples will enjoy.

Is Kyoto or Ise Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Kyoto
Ise

Kyoto is well known for backpackers. Also, Ise is still popular, but not quite as popular for backpackers and budget travelers.

Kyoto is a great city to visit for backpackers. It's a popular destination in Japan and there are plenty of hostels and free activities that backpackers can enjoy.

Plenty of backpackers visit Ise. It's off the radar for many backpackers, but those that make it here will find a couple of hostels and affordable accommodation options.

Is Kyoto or Ise Better for Students?

Kyoto
Ise

Kyoto is well known for students. However, Ise is not popular with students.

Students come from all over to stay in Kyoto. It's a great student city with world class universities and a large student population.

Ise is not popular with students.


Is Kyoto or Ise Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Kyoto
Ise

Kyoto is well known for its public transit. Also, Ise is still popular, but not quite as popular for times when you don't have a car.

Kyoto has some very good public transit options. The city has an extensive system of trains, subways, and buses that make it easy to get around.

While Ise offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. The CAN Bus is a tourist bus that connects the train stations to the main attractions and runs every half hour.

Is Kyoto or Ise a more walkable city?

Kyoto
Ise

Kyoto is a must-visit destination for its high level of walkability. Also, Ise is still popular, but not quite as popular for its ease of walking around.

Getting around Kyoto on foot is easy. It's one of the most walkable cities in Japan and there are many sidewalks and pedestrian-friendly areas.

Ise is a somewhat walkable city. There are walking paths through the complex that connect the shrines, but some of the distances can be significant.

For even more information, also check out Is Kyoto Worth Visiting? and Is Ise Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Ise or Kyoto?

How long in Kyoto or Ise?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Kyoto and Ise. In our opinion, Kyoto has more to see and do, so we recommend that you spend more time in Kyoto than Ise. In general, 2-3 days is a good amount of time for Kyoto, and 1-3 days is enough time in Ise.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Kyoto than Ise 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 Kyoto.


  • How many days in Kyoto or Ise? Ideal Length of Stay
    Kyoto 2-3 
    Ise 1-3

One day in Kyoto or Ise?

With nightlife and food around the cultural destination of Kyoto, there's plenty to do. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. One of the main draws to the area is the museums. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel.

In Ise, many people enjoy the food and shopping that this off-the-beaten-path destination offers. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Because of this, one day is usually enough time for a trip here.


A weekend in Kyoto or Ise?

Many people visit Kyoto for a weekend. With food and shopping around the traditional city of Kyoto, there's plenty to do. One of the main draws to the area is the museums. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. Because of this, a weekend is usually enough time for a trip here.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Ise. 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 Kyoto or Ise?

The destination of Kyoto offers shopping and museums. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. It offers something for everyone. One of the main draws to the area is the museums. Five days is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips.

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

A week in Kyoto or Ise?

Kyoto, a popular city, is full of activities for travelers. Visiting the old town is also a must. Your budget might influence how long you stay. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days.

You'll find food and shopping around the overlooked destination of Ise. 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, Ise or Kyoto?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Kyoto is $96, while the average daily cost in Ise is $89. 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 Kyoto and Ise in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Kyoto $63
    Ise $42
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Kyoto $126
    Ise $84
Compare Hotels in Kyoto and Ise

Looking for a hotel in Kyoto or Ise? 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 Kyoto


Hotels in Ise


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: Kyoto Hotel Prices and Ise Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Kyoto $7.56
    Ise $43

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Kyoto

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Kyoto:

  • Chubu Centrair Airport to/from Kyoto Private Transfer: $562
  • From Private 1-Way Transfer to Kansai Airport: $321
  • Japan Railway Station Shared Arrival Transfer : Kyoto Station to Kyoto City: $17
  • Kansai Airport (KIX): Private One-Way Transfer to/from Kyoto: $208
  • Kansai Int Airport to/from Kyoto City Private Transfer: $269
  • Kyoto City to Osaka City Private Taxi Transfers: $175
  • Kyoto Early Bird Half Day Private Tour with Transfer: $296
  • Kyoto hotels to Kansai Airport (KIX) - Departure Private Transfer: $68
  • Kyoto to Osaka Kansai Airport (KIX) - Departure Private Transfer: $73
  • Customizable Private Tour with Hotel Transfers: $506
  • One-Way Private Transfer to/from Itami Airport: $321
  • Osaka (Itami) Airport to/from Kyoto City Private Transfer: $139

Is it cheaper to fly into Kyoto or Ise?

Prices for flights to both Ise and Kyoto 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
    Kyoto $24
    Ise $24

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Kyoto

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Kyoto.

  • Private Cooking Class Udon in Kyoto Japan: $41
  • Japanese Washoku Bento Cooking Class with Lunch: $45
  • Nishiki Market Brunch Walking Food Tour: $46
  • Japanese Home Cooking Lesson with Local Hosts in Peaceful Kyoto Suburb Otsu: $49
  • Private Guided Traditional Buddhist Cooking in Japan: $57
  • Kyoto Nishiki Market & Depachika: 2-hours Food Tour with a Local: $59
  • Afternoon Japanese Izakaya Cooking Class: $60
  • Morning Japanese Bento Cooking Class: $60
  • Japanese Cooking Class: $61
  • Sushi - Authentic Japanese Cooking Class - the best souvenir from Kyoto!: $62
  • Japanese Udon and Sushi Cooking Class with Tastings: $63
  • Wagashi(Japanese sweets) Cooking :Kyoto near Fushimiinari: $64

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Kyoto $13
    Ise $5.83

Tours and Activities in Kyoto

Here are a few actual costs in Kyoto for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Arashiyama self guided tour app multilingual audio guide: $2.17
  • Kyoto Tower Admission Ticket: $6.28
  • Arashiyama: Self-Guided Audio Tour through History & Nature: $6.42
  • Audio Guide Tour Sanjusangen-do & Chishaku-in: $6.42
  • Audio Guide Tour: Unveiling Kyoto Station Surroundings: $6.42
  • Audio Guide Tour of Kinkaku-ji & Ryōan-ji Areas ~ Zen Echoe: $6.42
  • Audio guide tour of the Kyoto Imperial Palace & surroundings: $6.42
  • Audio Guide Tour through Gion: Kiyomizu-dera and Kodai-ji: $6.42
  • Nijo Castle & Kitano Tenmangu Shrine: Auidio Guide Tour: $6.42
  • Family Mitsui House Museum with green tea admission ticket: $7.23
  • Kyoto self-guided tour app with multi-language audioguide: $8.70
  • Kyoto Self-Guided Audio Tour: $9.00

Tours and Activities in Ise

Here are a few actual costs in Ise for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Shirataki Takigyo Waterfall Meditation Experience in Toba: $29
  • Island Adventure Sea Kayak Tour(Ise-Shima): $39
  • Ise Grand Shrine Private Guided Tour: $90

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Kyoto $12
    Ise $4.53

Sample the Local Flavors in Kyoto

Also in Kyoto, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Japanese Sake Brewery and Fushimi Inari Sightseeing Tour: $18
  • Sake Brewery &Great Yakitori Experience: $77
  • Sake Brewery and Tasting Tour in Fushimi: $81
  • Kyoto Sake Brewery & Tasting Walking Tour: $83
  • Insider Sake Brewery Tour with Sake and Food Pairing: $83
  • Rural Brewery Town Walk: Half-Day Private Tour Near Kyoto: $99
  • Kyoto Sake Brewery Tour: $156
  • Rural Villages & Brewery Town: Private 1-Day Cycling Near Kyoto: $184
  • Kyoto Sake Bar and Pub Crawl (Food & Sake Tour): $193
  • Kyoto Sake Bar and Pub Crawl (Food & Sake Tour): $197
  • Kyoto Sake Brewery Tour with Lunch: $236
  • Kyoto Nightlife: Local Bar Crawl Experience: $442


When comparing the travel costs between Kyoto and Ise, we can see that Kyoto is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in Asia, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

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


Which is Bigger, Kyoto or Ise?

Kyoto has a larger population, and is about 10 times larger than the population of Ise. When comparing the sizes of Kyoto and Ise, 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 Kyoto or Ise?

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 Kyoto or Ise in the Summer?

Both Ise and Kyoto are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities. The summer months attract visitors to Kyoto because of the city activities and the family-friendly experiences. Also, the beaches and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Ise this time of year.

Kyoto is around the same temperature as Ise in the summer. The daily temperature in Kyoto averages around 27°C (81°F) in July, and Ise fluctuates around 26°C (79°F).

Kyoto usually receives more sunshine than Ise during summer. Kyoto gets 183 hours of sunny skies, while Ise receives 169 hours of full sun in the summer.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Ise. It's quite rainy in Kyoto. In July, Kyoto usually receives around the same amount of rain as Ise. Kyoto gets 236 mm (9.3 in) of rain, while Ise receives 219 mm (8.6 in) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Kyoto 27°C (81°F) 
    Ise 26°C (79°F)

Should I visit Kyoto or Ise in the Autumn?

Both Ise and Kyoto during the autumn are popular places to visit. The city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area are the main draw to Kyoto this time of year. Furthermore, many travelers come to Ise for the shopping scene.

In the autumn, Kyoto is around the same temperature as Ise. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Kyoto in October average around 18°C (64°F), and Ise averages at about 17°C (63°F).

In the autumn, Kyoto often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Ise. Kyoto gets 159 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Ise receives 160 hours of full sun.

Ise gets a good bit of rain this time of year. It rains a lot this time of the year in Kyoto. Kyoto usually gets less rain in October than Ise. Kyoto gets 111 mm (4.4 in) of rain, while Ise receives 145 mm (5.7 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Kyoto 18°C (64°F) 
    Ise 17°C (63°F)

Should I visit Kyoto or Ise in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Kyoto and Ise. Many travelers come to Kyoto for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Furthermore, many visitors come to Ise in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

Ise can get quite cold in the winter. Be prepared for some very cold days in Kyoto. In January, Kyoto is generally around the same temperature as Ise. Daily temperatures in Kyoto average around 5°C (40°F), and Ise fluctuates around 5°C (40°F).

Kyoto usually receives less sunshine than Ise during winter. Kyoto gets 140 hours of sunny skies, while Ise receives 165 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Kyoto usually receives more rain than Ise. Kyoto gets 50 mm (2 in) of rain, while Ise receives 45 mm (1.8 in) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Kyoto 5°C (40°F) 
    Ise 5°C (40°F)

Should I visit Kyoto or Ise in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Kyoto as well as Ise. Many visitors come to Kyoto in the spring for the activities around the city and the natural beauty. Additionally, most visitors come to Ise for the beaches during these months.

Kyoto is around the same temperature as Ise in the spring. The daily temperature in Kyoto averages around 14°C (58°F) in April, and Ise fluctuates around 13°C (56°F).

In the spring, Kyoto often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Ise. Kyoto gets 176 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Ise receives 169 hours of full sun.

It's quite rainy in Ise. Kyoto receives a lot of rain in the spring. Kyoto usually gets around the same amount of rain in April as Ise. Kyoto gets 153 mm (6 in) of rain, while Ise receives 149 mm (5.9 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Kyoto 14°C (58°F) 
    Ise 13°C (56°F)

Typical Weather for Ise and Kyoto

Kyoto Ise
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 5°C (40°F) 50 mm (2 in) 5°C (40°F) 45 mm (1.8 in)
Feb 5°C (41°F) 63 mm (2.5 in) 5°C (41°F) 61 mm (2.4 in)
Mar 8°C (47°F) 110 mm (4.3 in) 8°C (46°F) 104 mm (4.1 in)
Apr 14°C (58°F) 153 mm (6 in) 13°C (56°F) 149 mm (5.9 in)
May 19°C (67°F) 154 mm (6 in) 18°C (65°F) 162 mm (6.4 in)
Jun 23°C (73°F) 251 mm (9.9 in) 22°C (71°F) 236 mm (9.3 in)
Jul 27°C (81°F) 236 mm (9.3 in) 26°C (79°F) 219 mm (8.6 in)
Aug 29°C (83°F) 146 mm (5.7 in) 27°C (81°F) 176 mm (6.9 in)
Sep 24°C (75°F) 196 mm (7.7 in) 23°C (74°F) 238 mm (9.4 in)
Oct 18°C (64°F) 111 mm (4.4 in) 17°C (63°F) 145 mm (5.7 in)
Nov 12°C (54°F) 68 mm (2.7 in) 12°C (54°F) 80 mm (3.1 in)
Dec 7°C (45°F) 40 mm (1.6 in) 7°C (45°F) 40 mm (1.6 in)