A Travel Price Comparison for Japan Matsue vs. Kyoto for Attractions, Old Town, Couples, and Food

Should you visit Matsue or Kyoto?

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 Kyoto 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 quiet, peaceful, and pretty town. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. And you can't forget about the shopping, museums, and food.

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.

Matsue and Kyoto: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less popular old town
  • Less popular with couples
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
  • Impressive beauty


Is there more to do in Matsue or Kyoto?

You'll generally find more things to do in Kyoto than Matsue. Kyoto is bigger than Matsue, and it also has more attractions and activities for travelers. Matsue is well known for its 17th century castle and its quaint atmosphere. Kyoto is well known for its Buddhist temples, cultural activities, and rich history. Also, Kyoto is famous for Kinkaku-ji.

How is Matsue different from Kyoto?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Kyoto 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 Kyoto?

Matsue
Kyoto

Kyoto is an unbeatable place for its museums and landmarks. Also, Matsue 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.

Visitors can fill many days exploring the museums and attractions around Matsue. 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.


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

Matsue
Kyoto

Dining out at restaurants in both Matsue and Kyoto can be an enjoyable experience.

Eating is part of the travel experience when you visit Matsue. 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.

Kyoto has a number of nationally recognized food spots and restaurants. 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.

Is Matsue or Kyoto Better for Nightlife?

Matsue
Kyoto

Kyoto is a city with good options for nightlife and partying. However, Matsue is a town with minimal options 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.

Matsue doesn't have the most active nightlife scene. 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.

Is Matsue or Kyoto Better for its Old Town?

Matsue
Kyoto

Kyoto is an unbeatable place for its old town. Also, Matsue is still popular, but not quite as popular for its historic old town charm.

With a famous historical old-town, Kyoto offers plenty to see. 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.

Matsue has an old town worth visiting. 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.


Is the Shopping Better in Matsue or Kyoto?

Matsue
Kyoto

Kyoto is a great destination for its shopping opportunities. Also, Matsue 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.

Matsue has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. 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.

Is Matsue or Kyoto Better for Families?

Matsue
Kyoto

Kyoto is a great destination for its family-friendly activities. Also, Matsue 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.

Matsue offers lots of family activities. 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.

Is Matsue or Kyoto Better for Couples?

Matsue
Kyoto

Kyoto is an unbeatable place for its romantic activities. Also, Matsue 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.

Matsue is a good town for couples to visit. 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.


Is Matsue or Kyoto Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Matsue
Kyoto

Kyoto is a great destination for backpackers. Also, Matsue 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 Matsue. There are a couple of hostels and guesthouses as well as budget hotels around town for backpackers.

Is Matsue or Kyoto Better for Students?

Matsue
Kyoto

Kyoto is a great destination for students. However, Matsue 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.

Matsue is not popular with students.

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

Matsue
Kyoto

You'll find somewhat comparable public transit options in both Matsue and Kyoto.

Public transit in Matsue can get you to some places easily. 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.

Many visitors use the public transit system in Kyoto. The city has an extensive system of trains, subways, and buses that make it easy to get around.


Is Matsue or Kyoto a more walkable city?

Matsue
Kyoto

Kyoto is an unbeatable place for its high level of walkability. Also, Matsue 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.

Matsue is a very walkable destination. 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.

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

Should I spend more time in Kyoto or Matsue?

How long in Matsue or Kyoto?

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Kyoto than Matsue 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 Matsue or Kyoto? Ideal Length of Stay
    Matsue 2-3 
    Kyoto 2-3

One day in Matsue or Kyoto?

In Matsue, many people enjoy the food and shopping that this peaceful destination offers. This town 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.

Many travelers enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting the destination of Kyoto. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

A weekend in Matsue or Kyoto?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Matsue. 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.

Kyoto is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. Don't miss the museums, as that's what most people do. 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 Kyoto?

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

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Kyoto. Don't miss the museums, as that's what most people do. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. 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 Kyoto?

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

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the historic destination of Kyoto. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Most visitors spend time around the old town 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, Kyoto or Matsue?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Matsue is $65, while the average daily cost in Kyoto is $96. 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 Kyoto in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Matsue $26
    Kyoto $63
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Matsue $52
    Kyoto $126
Compare Hotels in Matsue and Kyoto

Looking for a hotel in Matsue or Kyoto? 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 Kyoto


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 Kyoto Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Matsue $20
    Kyoto $7.56

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Matsue

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Matsue:

  • Private Transfer from Sakaiminato Cruise Port to Osaka city : $133
  • Private Transfer from Sakaiminato Port to Osaka Int Airport KIX: $203

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 Matsue or Kyoto?

Prices for flights to both Kyoto 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 $28
    Kyoto $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
  • Morning Japanese Bento Cooking Class: $60
  • Afternoon Japanese Izakaya 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.
    Matsue $8.82
    Kyoto $13

Tours and Activities in Matsue

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

  • Tour around Matsue Horikawa: $11
  • Private Kimono Elegant Experience in the Castle Town of Matsue: $36
  • An E-Bike cycling tour of Matsue that will add to your enjoyment of the city: $98

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
  • Nijo Castle & Kitano Tenmangu Shrine: Auidio Guide Tour: $6.42
  • Arashiyama: Self-Guided Audio Tour through History & Nature: $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 Sanjusangen-do & Chishaku-in: $6.42
  • Audio Guide Tour: Unveiling Kyoto Station Surroundings: $6.42
  • Audio Guide Tour through Gion: Kiyomizu-dera and Kodai-ji: $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 Gion Night Walking Tour. Up to 6 people!: $9.63

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Matsue $6.86
    Kyoto $12

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
  • 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 Brewery Tour with Lunch: $236
  • Kyoto Nightlife: Local Bar Crawl Experience: $442


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Matsue and Kyoto, we can see that Kyoto is more expensive. And not only is Matsue much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Matsue would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Matsue 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 Kyoto would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Kyoto than you might in Matsue.

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


Which is Bigger, Matsue or Kyoto?

Kyoto has a larger population, and is about 9 times larger than the population of Matsue. When comparing the sizes of Matsue and Kyoto, 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 Matsue or Kyoto?

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 Matsue or Kyoto in the Summer?

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

Matsue is around the same temperature as Kyoto in the summer. The daily temperature in Matsue averages around 25°C (78°F) in July, and Kyoto fluctuates around 27°C (81°F).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Matsue. Matsue usually receives more sunshine than Kyoto during summer. Matsue gets 201 hours of sunny skies, while Kyoto receives 183 hours of full sun in the summer.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Kyoto. It's quite rainy in Matsue. In July, Matsue usually receives more rain than Kyoto. Matsue gets 268 mm (10.6 in) of rain, while Kyoto receives 236 mm (9.3 in) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Matsue 25°C (78°F) 
    Kyoto 27°C (81°F)

Should I visit Matsue or Kyoto in the Autumn?

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

In the autumn, Matsue is around the same temperature as Kyoto. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Matsue in October average around 17°C (62°F), and Kyoto averages at about 18°C (64°F).

In the autumn, Matsue often gets more sunshine than Kyoto. Matsue gets 173 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Kyoto receives 159 hours of full sun.

Kyoto gets a good bit of rain this time of year. It rains a lot this time of the year in Matsue. Matsue usually gets more rain in October than Kyoto. Matsue gets 135 mm (5.3 in) of rain, while Kyoto receives 111 mm (4.4 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Matsue 17°C (62°F) 
    Kyoto 18°C (64°F)

Should I visit Matsue or Kyoto in the Winter?

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

Kyoto can get quite cold in the winter. Be prepared for some very cold days in Matsue. In January, Matsue is generally cooler than Kyoto. Daily temperatures in Matsue average around 4°C (39°F), and Kyoto fluctuates around 5°C (40°F).

Matsue usually receives less sunshine than Kyoto during winter. Matsue gets 84 hours of sunny skies, while Kyoto receives 140 hours of full sun in the winter.

Matsue gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In January, Matsue usually receives more rain than Kyoto. Matsue gets 151 mm (5.9 in) of rain, while Kyoto receives 50 mm (2 in) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Matsue 4°C (39°F) 
    Kyoto 5°C (40°F)

Should I visit Matsue or Kyoto in the Spring?

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

Matsue is cooler than Kyoto in the spring. The daily temperature in Matsue averages around 13°C (55°F) in April, and Kyoto fluctuates around 14°C (58°F).

In the spring, Matsue often gets more sunshine than Kyoto. Matsue gets 194 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Kyoto receives 176 hours of full sun.

It's quite rainy in Kyoto. Matsue receives a lot of rain in the spring. Matsue usually gets less rain in April than Kyoto. Matsue gets 124 mm (4.9 in) of rain, while Kyoto receives 153 mm (6 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Matsue 13°C (55°F) 
    Kyoto 14°C (58°F)

Typical Weather for Kyoto and Matsue

Matsue Kyoto
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 4°C (39°F) 151 mm (5.9 in) 5°C (40°F) 50 mm (2 in)
Feb 4°C (40°F) 137 mm (5.4 in) 5°C (41°F) 63 mm (2.5 in)
Mar 7°C (45°F) 127 mm (5 in) 8°C (47°F) 110 mm (4.3 in)
Apr 13°C (55°F) 124 mm (4.9 in) 14°C (58°F) 153 mm (6 in)
May 18°C (64°F) 120 mm (4.7 in) 19°C (67°F) 154 mm (6 in)
Jun 21°C (71°F) 196 mm (7.7 in) 23°C (73°F) 251 mm (9.9 in)
Jul 25°C (78°F) 268 mm (10.6 in) 27°C (81°F) 236 mm (9.3 in)
Aug 27°C (81°F) 145 mm (5.7 in) 29°C (83°F) 146 mm (5.7 in)
Sep 23°C (73°F) 216 mm (8.5 in) 24°C (75°F) 196 mm (7.7 in)
Oct 17°C (62°F) 135 mm (5.3 in) 18°C (64°F) 111 mm (4.4 in)
Nov 11°C (53°F) 138 mm (5.4 in) 12°C (54°F) 68 mm (2.7 in)
Dec 7°C (44°F) 138 mm (5.4 in) 7°C (45°F) 40 mm (1.6 in)