A Travel Price Comparison for Japan Mashiko vs. Dewa Sanzan for Hiking, Couples, Attractions, and Food

Should you visit Mashiko or Dewa Sanzan?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Mashiko or Dewa Sanzan, this travel comparison, which includes costs, can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison down below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

Mashiko

Mashiko is a charming, traditional, and rural town. It offers plenty of small town charm along with sights and activities, too. This destination also has one of those special and quaint feelings. Visitors also love the hiking, shopping, and museums.

Dewa Sanzan

Dewa Sanzan is a traditional, religious, and sacred religious site. It's also popular because of the hiking and museums.

Mashiko and Dewa Sanzan: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Good for hiking
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Very walkable
  • Small town charm
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Good for hiking
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for shopping
  • Less family-friendly
  • Less walkable


Is there more to do in Mashiko or Dewa Sanzan?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Mashiko. Although Mashiko and Dewa Sanzan are both popular with visitors, Mashiko has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Mashiko is more popular for its food, nightlife, shopping, small town charm, and quaint atmosphere, while Dewa Sanzan is known for its hiking. Mashiko is more touristy than Dewa Sanzan and is known for its local sake, rural farms, and longstanding tradition in pottery making. It is also home to Mashiko Museum of Ceramic Art. Dewa Sanzan is popular for its traditional religion, three sacred mountains, and the Shukubo Pilgrim Lodges.

How is Mashiko different from Dewa Sanzan?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Mashiko or Dewa Sanzan?

Mashiko
Dewa Sanzan

You'll find a number of good museums and attractions in both Dewa Sanzan and Mashiko.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Mashiko. There are a couple of museums around town that are focused on the local activities such as pottery. You can check out the Shoji Hamada Memorial Mashiko Sankokan Museum, the Mashiko Museum of Ceramic Art, and the Entsuji Temple.

Dewa Sanzan is a good place to visit if you're interested in museums or other recognizable sights. This is a sacred religious site that is at the heart of the Shugendo folk religion. The religion combines Buddhist and Shinto traditions and there are several temples in the area including the most sacred sights at Yudono-san, Haguro-san, and Gas-san, as well as the Churenji and Dainichibo Temples.


Is the Food Better in Mashiko or Dewa Sanzan? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Mashiko
Dewa Sanzan

Mashiko is very good for its restaurants. However, Dewa Sanzan is lacking in options for its restaurant scene.

Mashiko has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants around town that serve udon, soba, and other Japanese favorites that use local ingredients.

Dewa Sanzan may not make the list for most foodies, but you'll find what you need while you're in town. In your guesthouse you'll be given "Shojin cuisine", which is the traditional cuisine that has been handed down through the generations. It is strictly vegetarian and is heavily influenced by whatever vegetable is currently in season in the area. Traditionally, the cuisine focused on sustenance and not taste, but for the purposes of hospitality, the dishes are more flavorful than is typical in the traditional cuisine.

Is Mashiko or Dewa Sanzan Better for Nightlife?

Mashiko
Dewa Sanzan

Mashiko is a decent place to visit for nightlife and partying. However, Dewa Sanzan is lacking in options for its evening party scene.

Those looking for nightlife will find a few places to hang out in Mashiko. There are a couple of bars and pubs around town, but not a huge nightlife scene.

Things get quiet in the evenings in Dewa Sanzan. This is a religious site that is remote and focused on mountain worship and devotion. Nightlife is non-existent in the area.

Is Mashiko or Dewa Sanzan Better for Hiking?

Mashiko
Dewa Sanzan

Dewa Sanzan is a great religious site for hiking. Also, Mashiko is not as popular, but is still a nice town for the nearby hiking options.

Many visitors go to Dewa Sanzan for the hiking trails. Experienced hikers can climb Mt. Gassan and Mt. Yudono in one day and do Mt. Haguro separately. For Mt. Gassan, you'll want to take the bus to the 8th station and climb from there.

Plenty of visitors go hiking around Mashiko. There are three mountains in the area with hiking trails that let you experience the Japanese countryside and natural beauty. These mountains are Mt. Amamakisan, Mt.Mitsudoyasan, and Mt. Takadateyama.


Is the Shopping Better in Mashiko or Dewa Sanzan?

Mashiko
Dewa Sanzan

Mashiko is an excellent place to visit for its shopping opportunities. However, Dewa Sanzan is lacking in options for its shopping areas.

Mashiko is well-known for its shopping. Local pottery is the main purchase in town, and there are many shops and local vendors who sell locally made pottery.

Dewa Sanzan has some shopping areas for those that seek them out. This is a sacred sight that is devoted to worship and a simple life. As such, shopping in not available in the area with the exception of a couple of convenience stores.

Is Mashiko or Dewa Sanzan Better for Families?

Mashiko
Dewa Sanzan

Mashiko is an excellent place to visit for its kid-friendly activities. However, Dewa Sanzan is lacking in options for its family-friendly activities.

Because of its large number of kid-friendly activities, Mashiko is very family-friendly. Pottery is the claim to fame in this small town, and kids will thoroughly enjoy taking a children's pottery class. Its the perfect way to immerse them in the local culture in a fun and hands-on way. Farm life, and fruit picking are also popular here.

Dewa Sanzan is not such a family-friendly town. The remote location make this a challenging place to access. It's a religious destination and its sacred and historic past is often lost to children. Out of respect for the strict religion, this site is best visited as an adult.

Is Mashiko or Dewa Sanzan Better for Couples?

Mashiko
Dewa Sanzan

Mashiko is an excellent place to visit for its romantic activities. Also, Dewa Sanzan is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for couples.

Mashiko makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. It's a charming town with local farms, pottery, and sake. Many couples enjoy spending a few days soaking up the local atmosphere and enjoying the simple pleasures.

Dewa Sanzan is a good town for couples to visit. Couples who want to do something that's a bit different from mainstream Japan will appreciate a visit to this religious site.


Is Mashiko or Dewa Sanzan Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Mashiko
Dewa Sanzan

Dewa Sanzan is a nice place to visit for backpackers and budget travelers. However, Mashiko is not known for backpackers.

It's common for backpackers to visit Dewa Sanzan. This is an off-the-beaten-path destination for backpackers, and it can be difficult to reach by public transit. Once you're there, if you want a traditional experience, you can stay at a Shukubo Pilgrim Lodge.

Mashiko is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. Most backpackers don't venture to this community, but its seeped in quaint culture and small town atmosphere.

Is Mashiko or Dewa Sanzan Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Mashiko
Dewa Sanzan

Mashiko is very good for times when you don't have a car. However, Dewa Sanzan is lacking in options for its public transit.

Mashiko has some public transit options. There are local trains that stop by the strawberry picking farms. There are also local buses in the area.

Public transit is generally limited in Dewa Sanzan. There is public transit from Tsuruoka Station to Mt. Haguro and the accommodation in the area. There are also buses to the top of Mt. Haguro, Mt. Yudono, and Mt. Gassan 8th Station.

Is Mashiko or Dewa Sanzan a more walkable city?

Mashiko
Dewa Sanzan

Mashiko is an excellent place to visit for its high level of walkability. However, Dewa Sanzan is lacking in options for its ease of walking around.

Mashiko is a very walkable town. Many people choose to walk around town and the pottery area is about a 20 minute walk from Mashiko Station.

Dewa Sanzan is generally not very walkable. Everything is very spread out so walking can be challenging. Experienced hikers will enjoy hiking to each of the three shrines.


For even more information, also check out Is Mashiko Worth Visiting? and Is Dewa Sanzan Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Dewa Sanzan or Mashiko?

How long in Mashiko or Dewa Sanzan?

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

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

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


  • How many days in Mashiko or Dewa Sanzan? Ideal Length of Stay
    Mashiko 1-2 
    Dewa Sanzan 2-3

One day in Mashiko or Dewa Sanzan?

Mashiko is a small town with plenty to do. One day should give you a good understanding of everything this town has to offer. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

In Dewa Sanzan, you'll find museums. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. This religious site offers something for everyone. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

A weekend in Mashiko or Dewa Sanzan?

Mashiko might be a small town, but there's plenty to do in the area. This town offers something for everyone. Plenty of people spend a weekend in the area when traveling. If you enjoy all that's offered here, then a weekend is just the right amount of time to spend here.

In Dewa Sanzan, you'll find museums. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. A weekend here is typical. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Dewa Sanzan has to offer.

Five days in Mashiko or Dewa Sanzan?

Because Mashiko is a small town, it's easy to explore in a short amount of time. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel.

Dewa Sanzan is a great place to explore. Hikers are also drawn to this area. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. Anyone can find something fun to do here.


A week in Mashiko or Dewa Sanzan?

Since Mashiko is a small town, it's easily explored when your time is limited. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Dewa Sanzan. Many people enjoy the museums when visiting Dewa Sanzan. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Coach Bus Tours in Japan, The Best Adventure Tours to Japan, The Best Sightseeing Tours in Japan, and The Best Cultural Tours in Japan.


Which place is cheaper, Dewa Sanzan or Mashiko?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Mashiko is $64, while the average daily cost in Dewa Sanzan is $65. 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 Mashiko and Dewa Sanzan in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Mashiko $33
    Dewa Sanzan $28
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Mashiko $66
    Dewa Sanzan $56
Compare Hotels in Mashiko and Dewa Sanzan

Looking for a hotel in Mashiko or Dewa Sanzan? 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 Mashiko


Hotels in Dewa Sanzan


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: Dewa Sanzan Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Mashiko $11
    Dewa Sanzan $22

Is it cheaper to fly into Mashiko or Dewa Sanzan?

Prices for flights to both Dewa Sanzan and Mashiko 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
    Mashiko $23
    Dewa Sanzan $24

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Mashiko $8.87
    Dewa Sanzan $9.24

Tours and Activities in Dewa Sanzan

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

  • Tsuruoka & Dewa-Sanzan Full-Day Private Tour with Government-Licensed Guide: $229

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Mashiko $5.13
    Dewa Sanzan $7.28


When comparing the travel costs between Mashiko and Dewa Sanzan, we can see that Dewa Sanzan 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 Mashiko Expensive? and Is Dewa Sanzan Expensive?.



When is the best time to visit Mashiko or Dewa Sanzan?

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 Mashiko or Dewa Sanzan in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Mashiko and Dewa Sanzan. Most visitors come to Mashiko for the hiking, the small town charm, and the family-friendly experiences during these months. Furthermore, the summer months attract visitors to Dewa Sanzan because of the hiking.

In July, Mashiko is generally around the same temperature as Dewa Sanzan. Daily temperatures in Mashiko average around 24°C (75°F), and Dewa Sanzan fluctuates around 23°C (74°F).

Mashiko usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Dewa Sanzan during summer. Mashiko gets 130 hours of sunny skies, while Dewa Sanzan receives 124 hours of full sun in the summer.

Dewa Sanzan receives a lot of rain in the summer. Mashiko gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In July, Mashiko usually receives less rain than Dewa Sanzan. Mashiko gets 117 mm (4.6 in) of rain, while Dewa Sanzan receives 191 mm (7.5 in) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Mashiko 24°C (75°F) 
    Dewa Sanzan 23°C (74°F)

Should I visit Mashiko or Dewa Sanzan in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Mashiko as well as Dewa Sanzan. The autumn months attract visitors to Mashiko because of the hiking trails, the shopping scene, and the small town atmosphere. Additionally, the hiking trails are the main draw to Dewa Sanzan this time of year.

Mashiko is a little warmer than Dewa Sanzan in the autumn. The daily temperature in Mashiko averages around 16°C (60°F) in October, and Dewa Sanzan fluctuates around 13°C (56°F).

In the autumn, Mashiko often gets less sunshine than Dewa Sanzan. Mashiko gets 133 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Dewa Sanzan receives 149 hours of full sun.

It's quite rainy in Dewa Sanzan. Mashiko receives a lot of rain in the autumn. Mashiko usually gets around the same amount of rain in October as Dewa Sanzan. Mashiko gets 145 mm (5.7 in) of rain, while Dewa Sanzan receives 152 mm (6 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Mashiko 16°C (60°F) 
    Dewa Sanzan 13°C (56°F)

Should I visit Mashiko or Dewa Sanzan in the Winter?

Both Dewa Sanzan and Mashiko are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. The museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Mashiko this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Dewa Sanzan for the museums and the cuisine.

Be prepared for some very cold days in Dewa Sanzan. It's quite cold in Mashiko in the winter. In the winter, Mashiko is much warmer than Dewa Sanzan. Typically, the winter temperatures in Mashiko in January average around 3°C (38°F), and Dewa Sanzan averages at about -1°C (30°F).

Mashiko usually receives more sunshine than Dewa Sanzan during winter. Mashiko gets 181 hours of sunny skies, while Dewa Sanzan receives 149 hours of full sun in the winter.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Dewa Sanzan. In January, Mashiko usually receives less rain than Dewa Sanzan. Mashiko gets 44 mm (1.7 in) of rain, while Dewa Sanzan receives 206 mm (8.1 in) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Mashiko 3°C (38°F) 
    Dewa Sanzan -1°C (30°F)

Should I visit Mashiko or Dewa Sanzan in the Spring?

Both Dewa Sanzan and Mashiko during the spring are popular places to visit. Many travelers come to Mashiko for the small town charm.

In April, Mashiko is generally a little warmer than Dewa Sanzan. Daily temperatures in Mashiko average around 12°C (53°F), and Dewa Sanzan fluctuates around 9°C (47°F).

In the spring, Mashiko often gets less sunshine than Dewa Sanzan. Mashiko gets 160 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Dewa Sanzan receives 188 hours of full sun.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Mashiko. Mashiko usually gets more rain in April than Dewa Sanzan. Mashiko gets 118 mm (4.6 in) of rain, while Dewa Sanzan receives 100 mm (3.9 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Mashiko 12°C (53°F) 
    Dewa Sanzan 9°C (47°F)

Typical Weather for Dewa Sanzan and Mashiko

Mashiko Dewa Sanzan
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 3°C (38°F) 44 mm (1.7 in) -1°C (30°F) 206 mm (8.1 in)
Feb 4°C (38°F) 61 mm (2.4 in) -1°C (30°F) 151 mm (6 in)
Mar 6°C (44°F) 95 mm (3.7 in) 2°C (35°F) 116 mm (4.6 in)
Apr 12°C (53°F) 118 mm (4.6 in) 9°C (47°F) 100 mm (3.9 in)
May 17°C (62°F) 139 mm (5.5 in) 15°C (59°F) 96 mm (3.8 in)
Jun 20°C (68°F) 175 mm (6.9 in) 20°C (67°F) 120 mm (4.7 in)
Jul 24°C (75°F) 117 mm (4.6 in) 23°C (74°F) 191 mm (7.5 in)
Aug 26°C (78°F) 135 mm (5.3 in) 25°C (77°F) 174 mm (6.8 in)
Sep 22°C (71°F) 163 mm (6.4 in) 20°C (68°F) 154 mm (6.1 in)
Oct 16°C (60°F) 145 mm (5.7 in) 13°C (56°F) 152 mm (6 in)
Nov 11°C (51°F) 78 mm (3.1 in) 7°C (44°F) 207 mm (8.1 in)
Dec 6°C (42°F) 40 mm (1.6 in) 2°C (35°F) 231 mm (9.1 in)


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