A Travel Price Comparison for Japan Nagoya vs. Kanazawa for Food, Families, Attractions, and Nightlife

Should you visit Nagoya or Kanazawa?

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

Should I visit Nagoya or Kanazawa? 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.

Nagoya

Nagoya is a under-the-radar, under-rated, and often overlooked city. It's a large city with plenty of activites for visitors as well. Other reasons to visit include museums, nightlife, and food.

Kanazawa

Kanazawa is a well-preserved, historic, and cultural city. It's also popular because of the food, shopping, and museums.

Nagoya and Kanazawa: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Big city activities
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Scenic old town
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Things to Consider
  • Less family-friendly


Is there more to do in Nagoya or Kanazawa?

You'll generally find more things to do in Nagoya than Kanazawa. Nagoya is bigger than Kanazawa, and it also has more attractions and activities for travelers. Nagoya is better known for its food, nightlife, and big city activities, while Kanazawa is more popular for its historical sights. Kanazawa is more touristy than Nagoya and is known for its history, preserved architecture, and classically landscaped gardens. Nagoya is well known for its local cuisine, historic shrines, and long running shipping industry. Also, Nagoya is famous for the Nagoya Castle.

How is Nagoya different from Kanazawa?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Nagoya or Kanazawa?

Nagoya
Kanazawa

You'll find a number of great museums and attractions in both Kanazawa and Nagoya.

Nagoya offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. There are shrines, temples, and other interesting sights in the city. Atsuta Jingu is an important Shinto shrine. Nagoya Castle is another interesting place to visit. If you're willing to head out of the city center a bit, the Meiji-mura Village Museum is an open air museum that has interesting Japanese architecture. There are also interesting museums in town such as the Nagoya City Art Museums and the Toyota Techno and Toyota Automobile Museums.

Many visitors head to Kanazawa specifically to visit some of its top-rated museums and other sights. The city is filled with history and you can visit the Kanazawa Castle, the Higashi Chaya Area with preserved Geisha houses, and the Nagamachi Samurai House Area. There are also museums such as the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art and the D.T. Suzuki Museum.


Is the Food Better in Nagoya or Kanazawa? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Nagoya
Kanazawa

Nagoya is very popular for its local flavors and cuisine. Also, Kanazawa is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its local cuisine and restaurants.

Nagoya has long been recognized as a culinary destination with great restaurants. The city has a strong food culture that's referred to as Nagoya meshi. It's a popular destination for foodies to Japan, even though the city itself is often overlooked by tourists. The city's food uses a lot of local vegetables and its influenced by several international flavors. Important ingredients in the dishes include unagi (freshwater eel), Nagoya cochin (chicken), tamari (soy sauce), and mame miso.

Eating is part of the travel experience when you visit Kanazawa. There's a long history to the city's cuisine and you'll find many diverse dishes that combine traditional ingredients with international fusion. The cuisine uses a lot of seafood, but you'll also find the one pot meal of Hanton Rice, Oden (hot pot), and Jibu-ni (made with duck and vegetables).

Is Nagoya or Kanazawa Better for Nightlife?

Nagoya
Kanazawa

Nagoya is great for nightlife. Also, Kanazawa is not as popular, but is still a nice city for nightlife and partying.

Many people head to Nagoya for the nightlife scene. There are many bars around town, many of which have an international theme. Later in the evening, many people head out to a nightclubs, most of which are concentrated in either Sakae and Shin-sakae.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Kanazawa. The town has everything from international style bars to local theaters that let you experience the traditional Japanese culture.

Is Nagoya or Kanazawa Better for its Old Town?

Nagoya
Kanazawa

Kanazawa is a popular place for its historic old town charm. However, Nagoya does not have a historic old town.

Kanazawa has an old town worth visiting. It's fascinating to visit both the Higashi Chaya Area with preserved Geisha houses and the Nagamachi Samurai House Area which has preserved samurai houses that line two canals. You can enter a few of the houses to see the traditional way of life.

Nagoya does not have a historic old town.


Is the Shopping Better in Nagoya or Kanazawa?

Nagoya
Kanazawa

Shoppers can find a variety of great stores in both Nagoya and Kanazawa.

Many visitors explore the shopping areas in Nagoya. You'll find everything from large shopping malls to street markets and local vendors. Many people head to Nagoya Station for shopping, but Osu Shotengai is another interesting shopping area in the city's old town.

Kanazawa is an extremely popular place for shoppers. The city has many shopping districts that include department stores, traditional stores, and large markets. This is a great place to do some souvenir shopping.

Is Nagoya or Kanazawa Better for Families?

Nagoya
Kanazawa

Nagoya is very popular for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Kanazawa is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its family-friendly activities.

Nagoya is one of the most popular family destinations. There are a large number of attractions for families in the area. This city is where you'll find Legoland Japan, which is one of the most popular activities to do with kids. The city also has the Sea Life Aquarium, which is located in the Legoland Hotel. Next to Legoland you'll find the SCMaglev and Railway Park. Another great activity is a visit to the Nagoya Public Aquarium, which is one of the biggest aquariums in Japan. There are dolphins, orcas, and many different ecosystems to explore. Nearby is the Sea Train Land amusement park.

Kanazawa is a family-friendly place to visit. Myouryuji Temple is a fun temple for kids where they can play ninja and discover the hidden spaces. When the kids are burned out of history, head to Tedori Fish Land which is a theme park in the area or check out the slides at Kenmin Seaside Park. There's also the Dolls Museum and the beautiful coastline.

Is Nagoya or Kanazawa Better for Couples?

Nagoya
Kanazawa

With fun activities for couples, both Nagoya and Kanazawa make for a notable place to visit.

Nagoya is a good city for couples to visit. Couples will enjoy visiting the Nagoya Castle or checking out the dolphin and orca shows at the Nagoya Public Aquarium. Noritake Garden is a nice place to explore. There are also many coffee shops in town as well as museums and temples.

Kanazawa is a nice destination for couples. The city has markets, museums, and gardens that are fun to explore as a couple. You can visit the Kanazawa Castle or sample one of the many restaurants around town.


Is Nagoya or Kanazawa Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Nagoya
Kanazawa

Nagoya and Kanazawa are both notable destinations for backpackers.

Plenty of budget travelers visit Nagoya. Although the city is often overlooked by tourists, there are a limited number of hostels in town, so they fill up quickly. You should make reservations well in advance if budget is a priority.

Kanazawa is popular with backpackers and budget travelers. There are a handful of hostels and affordable accommodation options that backpackers can choose from.

Is Nagoya or Kanazawa Better for Students?

Nagoya
Kanazawa

Both Nagoya and Kanazawa are notable destinations for students.

Plenty of students visit Nagoya. Nagoya University has been working to grow its international population. This is a fun and dynamic city that makes a great place to study.

Kanazawa is popular with students. It has a good educational environment with high quality educational institutions that appeal to international students.

Is Nagoya or Kanazawa Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Nagoya
Kanazawa

Nagoya is great for times when you don't have a car. Also, Kanazawa is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its public transit.

Public transit in Nagoya is fairly effecient and thorough. The city has both a subway and public buses. The main bus stations are at Nagoya Station and Sakae Station and there are six subway lines throughout the city.

Kanazawa has a few public transit options. There are two main buses that tourists use in town. The Kenrokuen Shuttle goes between the Kanazawa Station and Kenrokuen Gardens and the Kanazawa Loop Bus runs from Kanazawa Station via the Teramachi area, the Higashi Chaya District, and Omicho Market.


Is Nagoya or Kanazawa a more walkable city?

Nagoya
Kanazawa

Nagoya and Kanazawa are great when it comes to walkability.

Nagoya is a very walkable destination. The downtown area, where you'll find many of the sights, is walkable. The distances vary, but many sights can be reached on foot.

Kanazawa is very walkable. The city is relatively walkable with some rolling hills. It's possible to walk to Kanazawa Castle from Kanazawa Station in about 35 minutes.

For even more information, also check out Is Nagoya Worth Visiting? and Is Kanazawa Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Kanazawa or Nagoya?

How long in Nagoya or Kanazawa?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Nagoya or Kanazawa to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in Nagoya than Kanazawa because of the number of activities and things to do in the area. Usually, 2-3 days is a good amount of time for Nagoya, and 1-2 days is enough time in Kanazawa.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Nagoya than Kanazawa 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 Nagoya.


  • How many days in Nagoya or Kanazawa? Ideal Length of Stay
    Nagoya 2-3 
    Kanazawa 1-2

One day in Nagoya or Kanazawa?

Nagoya is a big city with plenty to do. 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.

Many travelers enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting the destination of Kanazawa. One day is often enough time to do most activities.

A weekend in Nagoya or Kanazawa?

Nagoya is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have a weekend, this city makes for a great vacation. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Nagoya, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

Kanazawa 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 Nagoya or Kanazawa?

Nagoya is a popular choice for travelers. It's no surprise that food is why people visit. 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.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Kanazawa. 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 Nagoya or Kanazawa?

Nagoya is a great place to explore. It's no surprise that food is why people visit. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This city offers something for everyone.

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the historic destination of Kanazawa. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Luxury Tours to Japan, The Best Tours for Seniors to Japan, The Best Contiki Tours to Japan, and The Best G Adventures Tours to Japan.


Which place is cheaper, Kanazawa or Nagoya?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Nagoya is $86, while the average daily cost in Kanazawa is $100. 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 Nagoya and Kanazawa in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Nagoya $45
    Kanazawa $62
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Nagoya $90
    Kanazawa $124
Compare Hotels in Nagoya and Kanazawa

Looking for a hotel in Nagoya or Kanazawa? 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 Nagoya


Hotels in Kanazawa


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: Nagoya Hotel Prices and Kanazawa Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Nagoya $11
    Kanazawa $9.08

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Nagoya

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

  • Chubu Airport (NGO): Private Transfer to/from Naign Shrine: $769
  • Chubu Airport (NGO) to/from Kyoto Private Transfer: $444
  • Private Transfer between Chubu Centrair Int'l Airport and Nagoya: $279
  • Private One-Way Transfers to/from Suzuka Circuit: $276
  • Private Transfer from Nagoya Airport (NKM) to Toyama Cruise Port: $240
  • Chubu Itn Airport to/from Nagoya City private transfer: $197
  • Nagoya airport to/from LEGOLAND Private transfer: $188
  • Private Transfer from Nagoya Airport NKM to Shimizu Cruise Port: $180
  • Private Transfer from Nagoya Int Airport (ITM) to Shimizu Port: $164
  • Chubu Airport (NGO) to/from Nagoya Private Transfer: $158
  • Private Transfer from Nagoya City Hotels to Kanazawa Cruise Port: $144
  • LEGOLAND Japan Resort Ticket with Private Transfer: $109

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Kanazawa

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

  • Noto Airport to/from Kanazawa City Private Transfer: $310
  • Kanazawa City to/from Wakura City Private transfer: $248

Is it cheaper to fly into Nagoya or Kanazawa?

Prices for flights to both Kanazawa and Nagoya 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
    Nagoya $27
    Kanazawa $31

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Nagoya

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

  • Grandma’s Traditional Cooking Class: $66
  • Grandma’s Home Cooking Cute Bento Workshop: $66
  • Grandma’s Nagoya Specialties Cooking Class: $66
  • Market Tour and Authentic Nagoya Cuisine Cooking Class With a Local in Her Home: $92
  • Specialties of Nagoya Food Tour: $123

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Kanazawa

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

  • Sneaking into a Cooking Class for Japanese: $57
  • Japanese Cooking Classes in Kanazawa: $76
  • Japanese Cooking Classes in Kanazawa: $78

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Nagoya $13
    Kanazawa $9.49

Tours and Activities in Nagoya

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

  • 1 Day Private Tour in Nagoya Hotspots Using Local Bus: $208
  • Authentic Samurai Experience: Discover Japanese Sword-smith Town: $227
  • Autumn Leaves Private Tour in Nagoya: $161
  • Day Tour with Ghibli Park Admission Ticket Round Trip from Nagoya: $175
  • Experience Japanese calligraphy & tea ceremony at a traditional house in Nagoya: $110
  • Explore Holy Mt Horaiji Private Tour: $208
  • Explore Your Ultimate PRIVATE One-Day Adventure: $1,017
  • From Gujo, Hida Takayama, and Shirakawa-go Day Tour: $60
  • From Shirakawa-go Bus Ticket with Hida Beef Lunch: $49
  • Full-Day Kisoji Nakasendo Trail Tour from Nagoya: $227
  • Full-Day Small-Group Tour in Ise Jingu: $227
  • Ghibli Park Ticket and Accommodation 2 Days Package (No Guide): $180

Tours and Activities in Kanazawa

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Kanazawa.

  • “Be a Local” Kanazawa Izakaya Hop Tour: $78
  • 1 Day Tour from Kurobe Gorge and Unazuki Onsen: $224
  • 1-Day Shirakawago & Takayama Tour (Round Trip from Kanazawa): $166
  • 4 Hour Unique Kanazawa Cherry Blossom Sakura Private Experience: $221
  • Afternoon Round Trip Tour from Kanazawa: $88
  • E-Bike Cycling Guided Private Tour of KANAZAWA Main & KENROKUEN: $130
  • E-Bike Cycling with Guided Tour of KANAZAWA Main & KENROKUEN: $83
  • E-Bike Cycling with Guided Tour of KANAZAWA Main & KENROKUEN: $84
  • E-Bike with Guided Private Tour of KANAZAWA Main & KENROKUEN: $114
  • Experience Frying Pan making with an Ironworking Expert: $286
  • Full-Day Tour from Samurai, Matcha, Gardens and Geisha: $149
  • Futamata Clay Factory Tour: $286

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Nagoya $12
    Kanazawa $12

Sample the Local Flavors in Nagoya

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Nagoya:

  • The Nagoya Restaurant and Bar Crawl: $30
  • Pub Crawl in Nagoya: $39

Sample the Local Flavors in Kanazawa

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Kanazawa:

  • Nishide Shuzo Sake Brewery Tour and Sake Tasting: $71


When comparing the travel costs between Nagoya and Kanazawa, we can see that Kanazawa 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 Nagoya Expensive? and Is Kanazawa Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Nagoya or Kanazawa?

Nagoya has a larger population, and is about 5 times larger than the population of Kanazawa. When comparing the sizes of Nagoya and Kanazawa, 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 Nagoya or Kanazawa?

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 Nagoya or Kanazawa in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Nagoya and Kanazawa. The city activities and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Nagoya this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Kanazawa for the family-friendly experiences.

In the summer, Nagoya is around the same temperature as Kanazawa. Typically, the summer temperatures in Nagoya in July average around 27°C (80°F), and Kanazawa averages at about 26°C (78°F).

Nagoya usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Kanazawa during summer. Nagoya gets 170 hours of sunny skies, while Kanazawa receives 180 hours of full sun in the summer.

Kanazawa receives a lot of rain in the summer. Nagoya gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In July, Nagoya usually receives less rain than Kanazawa. Nagoya gets 213 mm (8.4 in) of rain, while Kanazawa receives 251 mm (9.9 in) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Nagoya 27°C (80°F) 
    Kanazawa 26°C (78°F)

Should I visit Nagoya or Kanazawa in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Nagoya as well as Kanazawa. Many travelers come to Nagoya for the city's sights and attractions and the shopping scene. Also, many visitors come to Kanazawa in the autumn for the shopping scene.

In October, Nagoya is generally around the same temperature as Kanazawa. Daily temperatures in Nagoya average around 18°C (64°F), and Kanazawa fluctuates around 17°C (62°F).

In the autumn, Nagoya often gets more sunshine than Kanazawa. Nagoya gets 176 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Kanazawa receives 155 hours of full sun.

It's quite rainy in Kanazawa. Nagoya receives a lot of rain in the autumn. Nagoya usually gets less rain in October than Kanazawa. Nagoya gets 114 mm (4.5 in) of rain, while Kanazawa receives 203 mm (8 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Nagoya 18°C (64°F) 
    Kanazawa 17°C (62°F)

Should I visit Nagoya or Kanazawa in the Winter?

Both Kanazawa and Nagoya are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. Many visitors come to Nagoya in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Also, most visitors come to Kanazawa for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months.

Kanazawa can be very cold during winter. Nagoya can get quite cold in the winter. Nagoya is a little warmer than Kanazawa in the winter. The daily temperature in Nagoya averages around 4°C (40°F) in January, and Kanazawa fluctuates around 3°C (38°F).

Nagoya usually receives more sunshine than Kanazawa during winter. Nagoya gets 180 hours of sunny skies, while Kanazawa receives 67 hours of full sun in the winter.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Kanazawa. In January, Nagoya usually receives less rain than Kanazawa. Nagoya gets 42 mm (1.7 in) of rain, while Kanazawa receives 294 mm (11.6 in) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Nagoya 4°C (40°F) 
    Kanazawa 3°C (38°F)

Should I visit Nagoya or Kanazawa in the Spring?

Both Kanazawa and Nagoya during the spring are popular places to visit. Most visitors come to Nagoya for the activities around the city during these months.

In the spring, Nagoya is a little warmer than Kanazawa. Typically, the spring temperatures in Nagoya in April average around 14°C (58°F), and Kanazawa averages at about 12°C (54°F).

In the spring, Nagoya often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Kanazawa. Nagoya gets 189 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Kanazawa receives 183 hours of full sun.

Kanazawa gets a good bit of rain this time of year. It rains a lot this time of the year in Nagoya. Nagoya usually gets around the same amount of rain in April as Kanazawa. Nagoya gets 152 mm (6 in) of rain, while Kanazawa receives 149 mm (5.9 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Nagoya 14°C (58°F) 
    Kanazawa 12°C (54°F)

Typical Weather for Kanazawa and Nagoya

Nagoya Kanazawa
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 4°C (40°F) 42 mm (1.7 in) 3°C (38°F) 294 mm (11.6 in)
Feb 5°C (41°F) 65 mm (2.6 in) 3°C (38°F) 192 mm (7.6 in)
Mar 8°C (47°F) 110 mm (4.3 in) 6°C (43°F) 156 mm (6.1 in)
Apr 14°C (58°F) 152 mm (6 in) 12°C (54°F) 149 mm (5.9 in)
May 19°C (66°F) 157 mm (6.2 in) 17°C (63°F) 150 mm (5.9 in)
Jun 23°C (73°F) 213 mm (8.4 in) 21°C (70°F) 202 mm (8 in)
Jul 27°C (80°F) 213 mm (8.4 in) 26°C (78°F) 251 mm (9.9 in)
Aug 28°C (83°F) 145 mm (5.7 in) 27°C (81°F) 171 mm (6.7 in)
Sep 24°C (75°F) 204 mm (8 in) 23°C (73°F) 248 mm (9.8 in)
Oct 18°C (64°F) 114 mm (4.5 in) 17°C (62°F) 203 mm (8 in)
Nov 12°C (54°F) 71 mm (2.8 in) 11°C (52°F) 266 mm (10.5 in)
Dec 7°C (45°F) 41 mm (1.6 in) 6°C (43°F) 306 mm (12 in)