A Travel Price Comparison for Japan Matsue vs. Dewa Sanzan for Attractions, Food, Couples, and Backpackers

Should you visit Matsue or Dewa Sanzan?

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

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Matsue and Dewa Sanzan 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.

Matsue

Matsue is a serene, historic, and quiet town. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. Visitors also love the shopping, museums, and food.

Dewa Sanzan

Dewa Sanzan is a remote, traditional, and religious religious site. And you can't forget about the hiking and museums.

Matsue and Dewa Sanzan: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Scenic old town
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good public transit
  • Very walkable
  • Impressive beauty
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 food
  • Less popular for shopping
  • Less family-friendly
  • Public transit not as usable
  • Less walkable


Is there more to do in Matsue or Dewa Sanzan?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Matsue than Dewa Sanzan, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Matsue is better known for its museums, food, nightlife, historical sights, shopping, and impressive beauty, while Dewa Sanzan is more popular for its hiking. Matsue is more touristy than Dewa Sanzan and is popular for its 17th century castle and its quaint atmosphere. Also, Matsue is famous for the Matsue Castle. Dewa Sanzan is well known for its traditional religion, three sacred mountains, and the Shukubo Pilgrim Lodges.

How is Matsue different from Dewa Sanzan?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

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

Matsue
Dewa Sanzan

Matsue is an excellent place to visit for its museums and history. Also, Dewa Sanzan is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its museums and landmarks.

Many visitors head to Matsue specifically to visit some of its top-rated museums and other sights. Most people visit town specifically to see the Matsue Castle, which is one of the last original castles left in Japan. The city also has parks and gardens, as well as the Shimane Art Museum, Yaegaki Shrine, and Miho Shrine.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Dewa Sanzan. 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 Matsue or Dewa Sanzan? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Matsue
Dewa Sanzan

Matsue is an excellent place to visit for its restaurants. However, Dewa Sanzan is lacking in options for its restaurant scene.

Matsue has a huge number of terrific restaurants. There are peaceful restaurants and cafes around town where you can sample the local dishes. Many restaurants have beautiful gardens and set lunch menus, which is a great way to sample fine dining cuisine at a reasonable price.

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 Matsue or Dewa Sanzan Better for Nightlife?

Matsue
Dewa Sanzan

Matsue 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 Matsue. It's a quiet town and there's not much of a nightlife scene, but if you spend the night you can probably find a quaint local bar where you can hang out.

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 Matsue or Dewa Sanzan Better for its Old Town?

Matsue
Dewa Sanzan

Matsue is very good for its old town. However, Dewa Sanzan does not have a historic old town.

Plenty of visitors enjoy exploring the old town in Matsue. The town has one of the last of the twelve original castles that are still in Japan. There are also many canals that cross the town.

Dewa Sanzan does not have a historic old town.


Is Matsue or Dewa Sanzan Better for Hiking?

Matsue
Dewa Sanzan

Dewa Sanzan is a great destination for its hiking experiences. However, Matsue is not a hiking destination.

You'll find a nice variety of hiking trails around Dewa Sanzan. 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.

Matsue is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Matsue or Dewa Sanzan?

Matsue
Dewa Sanzan

Matsue is very good for its shopping opportunities. However, Dewa Sanzan is lacking in options for its shopping areas.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Matsue. Kyomise Shopping District is a charming street near Ohashi Bridge. It is lined with shops and restaurants and tourists will enjoy visiting the souvenir and specialty stores in the area.

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 Matsue or Dewa Sanzan Better for Families?

Matsue
Dewa Sanzan

Matsue is very good for its kid-friendly activities. However, Dewa Sanzan is lacking in options for its family-friendly activities.

Matsue is a family-friendly town. Kids will enjoy the city's history as much as adults. There are several temples and shrines to explore as well as Lake Shinji. The best views of the lake are from the Shimane Art Museum.

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 Matsue or Dewa Sanzan Better for Couples?

Matsue
Dewa Sanzan

Both Matsue and Dewa Sanzan are notable destinations for a couple's getaway.

Matsue makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. Castles, gardens, and museums all make this a beautiful and romantic destination. Couples will enjoy immersing themselves in the city's history. There's also a beautiful lake and the impressive Matsue Vogel Park.

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 Matsue or Dewa Sanzan Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Matsue
Dewa Sanzan

Matsue and Dewa Sanzan are notable places to visit for backpackers and budget travelers.

Matsue is a good town to visit for backpackers. There are a couple of hostels and guesthouses as well as budget hotels around town for backpackers.

Plenty of backpackers 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.

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

Matsue
Dewa Sanzan

Matsue is an excellent place to visit for times when you don't have a car. However, Dewa Sanzan is lacking in options for its public transit.

Matsue has some very good public transit options. There are city buses as well as Ichibata Bus. Tourists will mostly use the Lakeline loop, which connects the two railway stations with all of the city's major attractions. Buses run every 20 minutes.

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 Matsue or Dewa Sanzan a more walkable city?

Matsue
Dewa Sanzan

Matsue 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.

Matsue is a very walkable town. Most of the town's sights can be reached on foot. You can walk from the JR Matsue Station to the castle in half an hour and it's only 15 minutes from the Shinjiko Onsen 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 Matsue Worth Visiting? and Is Dewa Sanzan Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Dewa Sanzan or Matsue?

How long in Matsue or Dewa Sanzan?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Matsue and Dewa Sanzan. In our opinion, Matsue has more to see and do, so we recommend that you spend more time in Matsue than Dewa Sanzan. However, 2-3 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Matsue than Dewa Sanzan 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 Matsue.


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

One day in Matsue or Dewa Sanzan?

Visitors enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the historic town of Matsue. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Many travelers enjoy the museums when visiting the destination of Dewa Sanzan. Hikers are also drawn to this area. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

A weekend in Matsue or Dewa Sanzan?

Visitors enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the historic destination of Matsue. 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.

Dewa Sanzan 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.


Five days in Matsue or Dewa Sanzan?

The quiet town of Matsue offers museums and food. 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.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Dewa Sanzan. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. 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.

A week in Matsue or Dewa Sanzan?

Many people enjoy the food and shopping when visiting Matsue. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

Travelers enjoy the museums when visiting the religious destination of Dewa Sanzan. This religious site offers a variety of activities to choose from. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Contiki Tours to Japan, The Best G Adventures Tours to Japan, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Tokyo, and The Best 10-Day Tours from Tokyo.


Which place is cheaper, Dewa Sanzan or Matsue?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Matsue is $63, while the average daily cost in Dewa Sanzan is $64. 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 Matsue and Dewa Sanzan in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Matsue $25
    Dewa Sanzan $27
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Matsue $50
    Dewa Sanzan $54
Compare Hotels in Matsue and Dewa Sanzan

Looking for a hotel in Matsue 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 Matsue


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: Matsue Hotel Prices and Dewa Sanzan Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Matsue $19
    Dewa Sanzan $22

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Matsue

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Matsue:

  • Private Transfer from Sakaiminato Port to Osaka Int Airport KIX: $200
  • Private Transfer from Sakaiminato Cruise Port to Osaka city : $131

Is it cheaper to fly into Matsue or Dewa Sanzan?

Prices for flights to both Dewa Sanzan and Matsue 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
    Matsue $27
    Dewa Sanzan $23

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Matsue $8.58
    Dewa Sanzan $8.99

Tours and Activities in Matsue

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

  • An E-Bike cycling tour of Matsue that will add to your enjoyment of the city: $97
  • Private Kimono Elegant Experience in the Castle Town of Matsue: $36
  • Tour around Matsue Horikawa: $11

Tours and Activities in Dewa Sanzan

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

  • Mount Haguro E-Bike Sightseeing Tour in Yamagata, Japan: $202
  • Tsuruoka & Dewa-Sanzan Full-Day Private Tour with Government-Licensed Guide: $224

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Matsue $6.67
    Dewa Sanzan $7.08


When comparing the travel costs between Matsue 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 Matsue Expensive? and Is Dewa Sanzan Expensive?.



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

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Matsue or Dewa Sanzan in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Matsue as well as Dewa Sanzan. Many visitors come to Matsue in the summer for the family-friendly experiences. Additionally, most visitors come to Dewa Sanzan for the hiking during these months.

Matsue is around the same temperature as Dewa Sanzan in the summer. The daily temperature in Matsue averages around 25°C (78°F) in July, and Dewa Sanzan fluctuates around 23°C (74°F).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Matsue this time of the year. In the summer, Matsue often gets more sunshine than Dewa Sanzan. Matsue gets 201 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Dewa Sanzan receives 124 hours of full sun.

It's quite rainy in Dewa Sanzan. Matsue receives a lot of rain in the summer. Matsue usually gets more rain in July than Dewa Sanzan. Matsue gets 268 mm (10.6 in) of rain, while Dewa Sanzan receives 191 mm (7.5 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Matsue 25°C (78°F) 
    Dewa Sanzan 23°C (74°F)

Should I visit Matsue or Dewa Sanzan in the Autumn?

Both Dewa Sanzan and Matsue are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. Most visitors come to Matsue for the shopping scene and the natural beauty of the area during these months. Also, the autumn months attract visitors to Dewa Sanzan because of the hiking trails.

In the autumn, Matsue is a little warmer than Dewa Sanzan. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Matsue in October average around 17°C (62°F), and Dewa Sanzan averages at about 13°C (56°F).

Matsue usually receives more sunshine than Dewa Sanzan during autumn. Matsue gets 173 hours of sunny skies, while Dewa Sanzan receives 149 hours of full sun in the autumn.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Dewa Sanzan. It's quite rainy in Matsue. In October, Matsue usually receives less rain than Dewa Sanzan. Matsue gets 135 mm (5.3 in) of rain, while Dewa Sanzan receives 152 mm (6 in) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Matsue 17°C (62°F) 
    Dewa Sanzan 13°C (56°F)

Should I visit Matsue or Dewa Sanzan in the Winter?

Both Dewa Sanzan and Matsue during the winter are popular places to visit. The winter months attract visitors to Matsue because of the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Also, the museums and the cuisine are the main draw to Dewa Sanzan this time of year.

It's quite cold in Dewa Sanzan in the winter. The weather in Matsue can be very cold. In January, Matsue is generally much warmer than Dewa Sanzan. Daily temperatures in Matsue average around 4°C (39°F), and Dewa Sanzan fluctuates around -1°C (30°F).

In the winter, Matsue often gets less sunshine than Dewa Sanzan. Matsue gets 84 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Dewa Sanzan receives 149 hours of full sun.

Dewa Sanzan gets a good bit of rain this time of year. It rains a lot this time of the year in Matsue. Matsue usually gets less rain in January than Dewa Sanzan. Matsue gets 151 mm (5.9 in) of rain, while Dewa Sanzan receives 206 mm (8.1 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Matsue 4°C (39°F) 
    Dewa Sanzan -1°C (30°F)

Should I visit Matsue or Dewa Sanzan in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Matsue and Dewa Sanzan. The natural beauty are the main draw to Matsue this time of year.

Matsue is much warmer than Dewa Sanzan in the spring. The daily temperature in Matsue averages around 13°C (55°F) in April, and Dewa Sanzan fluctuates around 9°C (47°F).

Matsue usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Dewa Sanzan during spring. Matsue gets 194 hours of sunny skies, while Dewa Sanzan receives 188 hours of full sun in the spring.

Matsue gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In April, Matsue usually receives more rain than Dewa Sanzan. Matsue gets 124 mm (4.9 in) of rain, while Dewa Sanzan receives 100 mm (3.9 in) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Matsue 13°C (55°F) 
    Dewa Sanzan 9°C (47°F)

Typical Weather for Dewa Sanzan and Matsue

Matsue Dewa Sanzan
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 4°C (39°F) 151 mm (5.9 in) -1°C (30°F) 206 mm (8.1 in)
Feb 4°C (40°F) 137 mm (5.4 in) -1°C (30°F) 151 mm (6 in)
Mar 7°C (45°F) 127 mm (5 in) 2°C (35°F) 116 mm (4.6 in)
Apr 13°C (55°F) 124 mm (4.9 in) 9°C (47°F) 100 mm (3.9 in)
May 18°C (64°F) 120 mm (4.7 in) 15°C (59°F) 96 mm (3.8 in)
Jun 21°C (71°F) 196 mm (7.7 in) 20°C (67°F) 120 mm (4.7 in)
Jul 25°C (78°F) 268 mm (10.6 in) 23°C (74°F) 191 mm (7.5 in)
Aug 27°C (81°F) 145 mm (5.7 in) 25°C (77°F) 174 mm (6.8 in)
Sep 23°C (73°F) 216 mm (8.5 in) 20°C (68°F) 154 mm (6.1 in)
Oct 17°C (62°F) 135 mm (5.3 in) 13°C (56°F) 152 mm (6 in)
Nov 11°C (53°F) 138 mm (5.4 in) 7°C (44°F) 207 mm (8.1 in)
Dec 7°C (44°F) 138 mm (5.4 in) 2°C (35°F) 231 mm (9.1 in)


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