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

Should you visit Nagasaki or Dewa Sanzan?

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

Should I visit Nagasaki or Dewa Sanzan? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Nagasaki

Nagasaki is a interesting, authentic, and welcoming city. It's a large city, so you'll find plenty of things to do around town. Visitors also love the food, shopping, and museums.

Dewa Sanzan

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

Nagasaki and Dewa Sanzan: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good public transit
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 nightlife
  • Less popular for shopping
  • Less family-friendly
  • Public transit not as usable


Is there more to do in Nagasaki or Dewa Sanzan?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Nagasaki. Although Nagasaki and Dewa Sanzan are both popular with visitors, Nagasaki has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Nagasaki is more popular for its museums, food, nightlife, shopping, and big city activities, while Dewa Sanzan is known for its hiking. Nagasaki is more touristy than Dewa Sanzan and is known for its history, hot spring spas, and local cuisine. It is also home to the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum. Dewa Sanzan is popular for its traditional religion, three sacred mountains, and the Shukubo Pilgrim Lodges.

How is Nagasaki different from Dewa Sanzan?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

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

Nagasaki
Dewa Sanzan

Nagasaki 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 Nagasaki specifically to visit some of its top-rated museums and other sights. Nagasaki Peace Park is a moving tribute to those lost during the atomic bomb attack. Other sights around town include the Nagasaki Shinchi Chinatown, Kofukuji Temple, and Huis Ten Bosch.

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 Nagasaki or Dewa Sanzan? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Nagasaki
Dewa Sanzan

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

Nagasaki has a huge number of terrific restaurants. The city has a cosmopolitan cuisine which has been influenced by China and several Western cuisines. Popular local dishes include Chanpon (a noodle dish), Sara Udon (meat, vegetables, and noodles), and Kakuni Manju (pork belly on a dough bun).

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 Nagasaki or Dewa Sanzan Better for Nightlife?

Nagasaki
Dewa Sanzan

Nagasaki is an excellent place to visit for nightlife and partying. However, Dewa Sanzan is lacking in options for its evening party scene.

Nagasaki has a lively atmosphere and nightlife is popular here. The best areas for nightlife are the Doza-machi and Shianbashi districts. Shinanbashi is filled with narrow alleys and its easy to get lost.

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 Nagasaki or Dewa Sanzan Better for Hiking?

Nagasaki
Dewa Sanzan

Dewa Sanzan is a very popular place for its hiking trails. However, Nagasaki is not a hiking destination.

Many visitors explore the nearby hiking trails while visiting 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.

Nagasaki is not a hiking destination.


Is the Shopping Better in Nagasaki or Dewa Sanzan?

Nagasaki
Dewa Sanzan

Nagasaki 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 Nagasaki. Head to the waterfront for the best shopping opportunities. You'll find everything from malls to souvenir shops around town. You'll also find traditional market streets which are known as shōtengai.

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 Nagasaki or Dewa Sanzan Better for Families?

Nagasaki
Dewa Sanzan

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

Nagasaki is a family-friendly city. Check out Agiruno Oka Park, which has a small farm and other recreational activities. There are also several kid-friendly museums like the Nagasaki City Science Museum and the Nagasaki Penguin Aquarium. There are also many parks and playgrounds as well as the Nagasaki Seaside Park.

Dewa Sanzan is not such a family-friendly city. 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 Nagasaki or Dewa Sanzan Better for Couples?

Nagasaki
Dewa Sanzan

With fun activities for couples, both Nagasaki and Dewa Sanzan make for a good place to visit.

Nagasaki is a good city for couples to visit. There's a unique cuisine with good restaurants. There are also many parks where couples can take a stroll, as well as relaxing hot springs nearby.

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


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

Nagasaki
Dewa Sanzan

Nagasaki and Dewa Sanzan are both good destinations for backpackers.

Plenty of budget travelers visit Nagasaki. There are a number of hostels in the city, but you really should make reservations in advance as they tend to fill up.

Dewa Sanzan is popular with backpackers and budget travelers. 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 Nagasaki or Dewa Sanzan Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Nagasaki
Dewa Sanzan

Nagasaki 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.

Nagasaki has some very good public transit options. The city has four tram lines as well as city buses.

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 Nagasaki or Dewa Sanzan a more walkable city?

Nagasaki
Dewa Sanzan

Nagasaki is very good for its high level of walkability. However, Dewa Sanzan is lacking in options for its ease of walking around.

Nagasaki is a somewhat walkable place. Many parts of the city can be explored by foot. The downtown is about a kilometer from Nagasaki Station and the Peace Park is several kilometers in the other direction from the 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 Nagasaki Worth Visiting? and Is Dewa Sanzan Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Dewa Sanzan or Nagasaki?

How long in Nagasaki or Dewa Sanzan?

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

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Nagasaki 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 Nagasaki.


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

One day in Nagasaki or Dewa Sanzan?

Visitors enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the authentic city of Nagasaki. 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.

The religious site of Dewa Sanzan offers museums. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

A weekend in Nagasaki or Dewa Sanzan?

Visitors enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the welcoming destination of Nagasaki. This city 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 popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have a weekend, this religious site makes for a great vacation. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Dewa Sanzan, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

Five days in Nagasaki or Dewa Sanzan?

The welcoming city of Nagasaki offers shopping and museums. 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 popular choice for travelers. 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. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.


A week in Nagasaki or Dewa Sanzan?

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

Dewa Sanzan is a great place to explore. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This religious site offers something for everyone.


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 Nagasaki?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Nagasaki is $87, 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 Nagasaki and Dewa Sanzan in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Nagasaki $46
    Dewa Sanzan $27
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Nagasaki $92
    Dewa Sanzan $54
Compare Hotels in Nagasaki and Dewa Sanzan

Looking for a hotel in Nagasaki 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 Nagasaki


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: Nagasaki Hotel Prices and Dewa Sanzan Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Nagasaki $17
    Dewa Sanzan $22

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Nagasaki

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

  • Private Transfer from Uragashira Port to Fukuoka Airport (FUK): $158
  • Private Transfer from Uragashira Port to Fukuoka Airport (FUK): $143
  • Private Transfer from Uragashira Cruise Port to Fukuoka hotels: $143
  • Private Transfer from Uragashira Cruise Port to Fukuoka hotels: $158
  • Private Transfer from Sasebo Cruise Port to Fukuoka hotels: $158
  • Private Transfer from Sasebo Cruise Port to Fukuoka Airport (FUK): $143
  • Private Transfer from Sasebo Cruise Port to Fukuoka Airport (FUK): $158
  • Private Transfer from Nagasaki Port to Nagasaki Airport (NGS): $46
  • Private Transfer from Nagasaki Cruise Port to Nagasaki hotels: $68
  • Private Transfer from Nagasaki Cruise Port to Nagasaki Hotels: $61
  • Private Transfer from Nagasaki Cruise Port to Nagasaki Airport: $51
  • Private Transfer from Nagasaki Airport (NGS) to Nagasaki Port: $46

Is it cheaper to fly into Nagasaki or Dewa Sanzan?

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

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Nagasaki

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

  • Sunset Beach Dinner: $50
  • Private Walking Street Food Tour Of Nagasaki: $164

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Nagasaki $22
    Dewa Sanzan $8.99

Tours and Activities in Nagasaki

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

  • Experience Hasami Ware with professionals ~ '400 years history' and 'Modern daily use pottery' ~: $120
  • 4 Hour Private Cherry Blossom "Sakura" Experience in Nagasaki: $221
  • Gunkanjima Digital Museum Attraction Ticket: $12
  • Hasami Ware 2-Day Tour with Special Guide ~ '400 years history' and 'Modern daily use pottery' ~: $180
  • Hasami Ware Study Tour with Special Guide ~ '400 years history' and 'Modern daily use pottery' ~ : $93
  • Japan Nagasaki Huis Ten Bosch Admission Ticket: $57
  • Must-See Nagasaki With A Local: Private & Personalized Walking Experience: $241
  • Nagasaki Custom Full Day Tour: $195
  • Nagasaki Custom Half Day Tour: $123
  • Nagasaki Full-Day Private Tour with Government-Licensed Guide: $136
  • Nagasaki Half-Day Private Tour with Government-Licensed Guide: $91
  • Nagasaki Half-Day Sightseeing Tour with 1-day Tram Ticket: $84

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: $227

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Nagasaki $10
    Dewa Sanzan $7.08


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

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



When is the best time to visit Nagasaki 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 Nagasaki or Dewa Sanzan in the Summer?

Both Dewa Sanzan and Nagasaki are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities. The city activities and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Nagasaki this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Dewa Sanzan for the hiking.

In July, Nagasaki is generally a little warmer than Dewa Sanzan. Daily temperatures in Nagasaki average around 27°C (81°F), and Dewa Sanzan fluctuates around 23°C (74°F).

Nagasaki usually receives more sunshine than Dewa Sanzan during summer. Nagasaki gets 197 hours of sunny skies, while Dewa Sanzan receives 124 hours of full sun in the summer.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Dewa Sanzan. It's quite rainy in Nagasaki. In July, Nagasaki usually receives more rain than Dewa Sanzan. Nagasaki gets 334 mm (13.1 in) of rain, while Dewa Sanzan receives 191 mm (7.5 in) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Nagasaki 27°C (81°F) 
    Dewa Sanzan 23°C (74°F)

Should I visit Nagasaki or Dewa Sanzan in the Autumn?

Both Dewa Sanzan and Nagasaki during the autumn are popular places to visit. Many travelers come to Nagasaki for the city's sights and attractions and the shopping scene. Furthermore, many visitors come to Dewa Sanzan in the autumn for the hiking trails.

Nagasaki is a little warmer than Dewa Sanzan in the autumn. The daily temperature in Nagasaki averages around 20°C (67°F) in October, and Dewa Sanzan fluctuates around 13°C (56°F).

In the autumn, Nagasaki often gets more sunshine than Dewa Sanzan. Nagasaki gets 189 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 Nagasaki. Nagasaki usually gets less rain in October than Dewa Sanzan. Nagasaki gets 104 mm (4.1 in) of rain, while Dewa Sanzan receives 152 mm (6 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Nagasaki 20°C (67°F) 
    Dewa Sanzan 13°C (56°F)

Should I visit Nagasaki or Dewa Sanzan in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Nagasaki and Dewa Sanzan. Many visitors come to Nagasaki in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Furthermore, most visitors come to Dewa Sanzan for the museums and the cuisine during these months.

Dewa Sanzan can be very cold during winter. In the winter, Nagasaki is much warmer than Dewa Sanzan. Typically, the winter temperatures in Nagasaki in January average around 7°C (44°F), and Dewa Sanzan averages at about -1°C (30°F).

Nagasaki usually receives less sunshine than Dewa Sanzan during winter. Nagasaki gets 112 hours of sunny skies, while Dewa Sanzan receives 149 hours of full sun in the winter.

Dewa Sanzan receives a lot of rain in the winter. In January, Nagasaki usually receives less rain than Dewa Sanzan. Nagasaki gets 78 mm (3.1 in) of rain, while Dewa Sanzan receives 206 mm (8.1 in) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Nagasaki 7°C (44°F) 
    Dewa Sanzan -1°C (30°F)

Should I visit Nagasaki or Dewa Sanzan in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Nagasaki as well as Dewa Sanzan. Most visitors come to Nagasaki for the activities around the city during these months.

In April, Nagasaki is generally much warmer than Dewa Sanzan. Daily temperatures in Nagasaki average around 16°C (60°F), and Dewa Sanzan fluctuates around 9°C (47°F).

In the spring, Nagasaki often gets less sunshine than Dewa Sanzan. Nagasaki gets 174 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Dewa Sanzan receives 188 hours of full sun.

Nagasaki receives a lot of rain in the spring. Nagasaki usually gets more rain in April than Dewa Sanzan. Nagasaki gets 175 mm (6.9 in) of rain, while Dewa Sanzan receives 100 mm (3.9 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Nagasaki 16°C (60°F) 
    Dewa Sanzan 9°C (47°F)

Typical Weather for Dewa Sanzan and Nagasaki

Nagasaki Dewa Sanzan
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 7°C (44°F) 78 mm (3.1 in) -1°C (30°F) 206 mm (8.1 in)
Feb 7°C (45°F) 87 mm (3.4 in) -1°C (30°F) 151 mm (6 in)
Mar 10°C (51°F) 116 mm (4.6 in) 2°C (35°F) 116 mm (4.6 in)
Apr 16°C (60°F) 175 mm (6.9 in) 9°C (47°F) 100 mm (3.9 in)
May 19°C (67°F) 193 mm (7.6 in) 15°C (59°F) 96 mm (3.8 in)
Jun 23°C (73°F) 328 mm (12.9 in) 20°C (67°F) 120 mm (4.7 in)
Jul 27°C (81°F) 334 mm (13.1 in) 23°C (74°F) 191 mm (7.5 in)
Aug 28°C (83°F) 187 mm (7.4 in) 25°C (77°F) 174 mm (6.8 in)
Sep 25°C (77°F) 191 mm (7.5 in) 20°C (68°F) 154 mm (6.1 in)
Oct 20°C (67°F) 104 mm (4.1 in) 13°C (56°F) 152 mm (6 in)
Nov 14°C (58°F) 85 mm (3.3 in) 7°C (44°F) 207 mm (8.1 in)
Dec 9°C (48°F) 67 mm (2.6 in) 2°C (35°F) 231 mm (9.1 in)


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