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

Should you visit Nagoya or Matsue?

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

Should I visit Nagoya or Matsue? 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-rated, often overlooked, and under-the-radar city. Travelers will also find plenty of sights and attractions here, as it's a big city that attracts lots of visitors. And you can't forget about the shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Matsue

Matsue is a pretty, serene, and historic town. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. It's also popular because of the museums, food, and shopping.

Nagoya and Matsue: Pros and Cons

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


Is there more to do in Nagoya or Matsue?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Nagoya than Matsue, as it is bigger with more sights, attractions, and activities for visitors. Nagoya is more popular for its food, nightlife, shopping, and big city activities, while Matsue is known for its historical sights and impressive beauty. Matsue is more touristy than Nagoya and is popular for its 17th century castle and its quaint atmosphere. Nagoya is popular for its local cuisine, historic shrines, and long running shipping industry. It is also home to the Nagoya Castle.

How is Nagoya different from Matsue?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Nagoya
Matsue

You'll find a number of excellent museums and attractions in both Matsue 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 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.


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

Nagoya
Matsue

Nagoya is an unbeatable place for its restaurant scene. Also, Matsue is still popular, but not quite as popular for its local flavors and cuisine.

Many restaurants in Nagoya have been singled out for their culinary prowess. 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.

Matsue has a number of nationally recognized food spots and 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.

Is Nagoya or Matsue Better for Nightlife?

Nagoya
Matsue

Nagoya is a great destination for nightlife and partying. However, Matsue is a town with minimal options for its evening party scene.

The people in Nagoya know how to have a good time. 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.

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 Nagoya or Matsue Better for its Old Town?

Nagoya
Matsue

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

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.

Nagoya does not have a historic old town.


Is the Shopping Better in Nagoya or Matsue?

Nagoya
Matsue

Nagoya is a great destination for its shopping opportunities. Also, Matsue is still popular, but not quite as popular for its shopping areas.

Nagoya is a popular shopping destination with plenty of stores. 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.

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 Nagoya or Matsue Better for Families?

Nagoya
Matsue

Nagoya is an unbeatable place for its family-friendly activities. Also, Matsue is still popular, but not quite as popular for its kid-friendly activities.

Nagoya is an extremely popular city to visit for families. 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.

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 Nagoya or Matsue Better for Couples?

Nagoya
Matsue

With fun activities for couples, both Nagoya and Matsue make for a good 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.

Matsue is a nice destination for couples. 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 Nagoya or Matsue Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Nagoya
Matsue

Nagoya and Matsue are both good 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.

Matsue is popular with backpackers and budget travelers. There are a couple of hostels and guesthouses as well as budget hotels around town for backpackers.

Is Nagoya or Matsue Better for Students?

Nagoya
Matsue

Nagoya is a city with good options for students. However, Matsue is not popular with students.

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

Matsue is not popular with students.

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

Nagoya
Matsue

Visitors will find excellent public transit in both Nagoya and Matsue.

Many visitors use the public transit system in Nagoya. 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.

Public transit in Matsue is fairly effecient and thorough. 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.


Is Nagoya or Matsue a more walkable city?

Nagoya
Matsue

Nagoya and Matsue are excellent 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.

Matsue is very walkable. 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 Nagoya Worth Visiting? and Is Matsue Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Matsue or Nagoya?

How long in Nagoya or Matsue?

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

Families should spend more time in Nagoya than Matsue. 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 Matsue. 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 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 Nagoya.


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

One day in Nagoya or Matsue?

Nagoya is a bustling city that offers something for everyone. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

Many travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the destination of Matsue. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

A weekend in Nagoya or Matsue?

Nagoya is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. Don't miss the food, 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.

Matsue 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 Matsue?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Nagoya. Don't miss the food, as that's what most people do. 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.

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

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

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the peaceful destination of Matsue. This town 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, Matsue or Nagoya?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Nagoya is $87, while the average daily cost in Matsue 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 Nagoya and Matsue in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Nagoya $45
    Matsue $25
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Nagoya $90
    Matsue $50
Compare Hotels in Nagoya and Matsue

Looking for a hotel in Nagoya or Matsue? 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 Matsue


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 Matsue Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Nagoya $11
    Matsue $19

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Nagoya

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

  • Chubu Airport (NGO) to/from Kyoto Private Transfer: $445
  • Chubu Airport (NGO) to/from Nagoya Private Transfer: $159
  • Chubu Airport (NGO): Private Transfer to/from Naign Shrine: $769
  • Chubu Itn Airport to/from Nagoya City private transfer: $137
  • Japan Railway Station Shared Departure Transfer : Nagoya City to Nagoya Station: $17
  • Nagoya airport to/from LEGOLAND Private transfer: $189
  • Nagoya to Nagoya Int Airport NGO, Departure Private Transfer: $73
  • Private One-Way Transfers to/from Suzuka Circuit: $276
  • Private Transfer between Chubu Centrair Int'l Airport and Nagoya: $280
  • Private Transfer from Nagoya Airport (NKM) to Toyama Cruise Port: $243
  • Private Transfer from Nagoya Airport NKM to Shimizu Cruise Port: $182
  • Private Transfer from Nagoya City Hotels to Kanazawa Cruise Port: $146

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Matsue

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Matsue:

  • Private Transfer from Sakaiminato Port to Osaka Int Airport KIX: $202
  • Private Transfer from Sakaiminato Cruise Port to Osaka city : $133

Is it cheaper to fly into Nagoya or Matsue?

Prices for flights to both Matsue 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
    Matsue $27

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Nagoya

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

  • Nagoya Special Food Tour: $65
  • Grandma’s Traditional Cooking Class: $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: $176

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Nagoya $13
    Matsue $8.60

Tours and Activities in Nagoya

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

  • Hida Takayama from Nagoya Bus ticket Oneway/Raundway: $20
  • Shirakawa-go from Nagoya One Day Bus ticket Oneway/Roundway: $22
  • Shirakawa-go From Nagoya One day Bus Self-guided Tour: $23
  • Hida Takayama from Nagoya Bus ticket Oneway/Raundway: $25
  • From Shirakawa-go Bus Ticket with Hida Beef Lunch: $49
  • Shirakawa-go from Nagoya One Day Bus ticket with Hida Beef Lunch: $50
  • Tie-Dye Activity and Traditional Town Walking Tour in NAGOYA: $52
  • From Gujo, Hida Takayama, and Shirakawa-go Day Tour: $61
  • From Ise Grand Shrine Day Tour: $61
  • Customized Private Tour: $74
  • Mitsui Outlet Park, Light-Up Festival, & Onsen Tour: $76
  • Hida Takayama & World Heritage Shirakawa-go Day Tour: $82

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: $98
  • Private Kimono Elegant Experience in the Castle Town of Matsue: $36
  • Tour around Matsue Horikawa: $11

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Nagoya $12
    Matsue $6.69

Sample the Local Flavors in Nagoya

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

  • Pub Crawl in Nagoya: $39


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Nagoya and Matsue, we can see that Nagoya 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 Nagoya would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Nagoya 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 Nagoya Expensive? and Is Matsue Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Nagoya or Matsue?

Nagoya has a larger population, and is about 10 times larger than the population of Matsue. When comparing the sizes of Nagoya and Matsue, 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 Matsue?

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 Nagoya or Matsue in the Summer?

Both Matsue and Nagoya during the summer are popular places to visit. Many visitors come to Nagoya in the summer for the city activities and the family-friendly experiences. Furthermore, most visitors come to Matsue for the family-friendly experiences during these months.

In July, Nagoya is generally around the same temperature as Matsue. Daily temperatures in Nagoya average around 27°C (80°F), and Matsue fluctuates around 25°C (78°F).

In Matsue, it's very sunny this time of the year. In the summer, Nagoya often gets less sunshine than Matsue. Nagoya gets 170 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Matsue receives 201 hours of full sun.

Matsue gets a good bit of rain this time of year. It rains a lot this time of the year in Nagoya. Nagoya usually gets less rain in July than Matsue. Nagoya gets 213 mm (8.4 in) of rain, while Matsue receives 268 mm (10.6 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Nagoya 27°C (80°F) 
    Matsue 25°C (78°F)

Should I visit Nagoya or Matsue in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Nagoya and Matsue. Most visitors come to Nagoya for the city's sights and attractions and the shopping scene during these months. Furthermore, the autumn months attract visitors to Matsue because of the shopping scene and the natural beauty of the area.

Nagoya is around the same temperature as Matsue in the autumn. The daily temperature in Nagoya averages around 18°C (64°F) in October, and Matsue fluctuates around 17°C (62°F).

Nagoya usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Matsue during autumn. Nagoya gets 176 hours of sunny skies, while Matsue receives 173 hours of full sun in the autumn.

Matsue receives a lot of rain in the autumn. Nagoya gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In October, Nagoya usually receives less rain than Matsue. Nagoya gets 114 mm (4.5 in) of rain, while Matsue receives 135 mm (5.3 in) of rain each month for the autumn.


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

Should I visit Nagoya or Matsue in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Nagoya as well as Matsue. The winter months attract visitors to Nagoya because of the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Additionally, the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Matsue this time of year.

It's quite cold in Matsue in the winter. The weather in Nagoya can be very cold. In the winter, Nagoya is around the same temperature as Matsue. Typically, the winter temperatures in Nagoya in January average around 4°C (40°F), and Matsue averages at about 4°C (39°F).

In the winter, Nagoya often gets more sunshine than Matsue. Nagoya gets 180 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Matsue receives 84 hours of full sun.

It's quite rainy in Matsue. Nagoya usually gets less rain in January than Matsue. Nagoya gets 42 mm (1.7 in) of rain, while Matsue receives 151 mm (5.9 in) of rain this time of the year.


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

Should I visit Nagoya or Matsue in the Spring?

Both Matsue and Nagoya are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. The activities around the city are the main draw to Nagoya this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Matsue for the natural beauty.

In April, Nagoya is generally a little warmer than Matsue. Daily temperatures in Nagoya average around 14°C (58°F), and Matsue fluctuates around 13°C (55°F).

Nagoya usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Matsue during spring. Nagoya gets 189 hours of sunny skies, while Matsue receives 194 hours of full sun in the spring.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Matsue. It's quite rainy in Nagoya. In April, Nagoya usually receives more rain than Matsue. Nagoya gets 152 mm (6 in) of rain, while Matsue receives 124 mm (4.9 in) of rain each month for the spring.


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

Typical Weather for Matsue and Nagoya

Nagoya Matsue
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 4°C (40°F) 42 mm (1.7 in) 4°C (39°F) 151 mm (5.9 in)
Feb 5°C (41°F) 65 mm (2.6 in) 4°C (40°F) 137 mm (5.4 in)
Mar 8°C (47°F) 110 mm (4.3 in) 7°C (45°F) 127 mm (5 in)
Apr 14°C (58°F) 152 mm (6 in) 13°C (55°F) 124 mm (4.9 in)
May 19°C (66°F) 157 mm (6.2 in) 18°C (64°F) 120 mm (4.7 in)
Jun 23°C (73°F) 213 mm (8.4 in) 21°C (71°F) 196 mm (7.7 in)
Jul 27°C (80°F) 213 mm (8.4 in) 25°C (78°F) 268 mm (10.6 in)
Aug 28°C (83°F) 145 mm (5.7 in) 27°C (81°F) 145 mm (5.7 in)
Sep 24°C (75°F) 204 mm (8 in) 23°C (73°F) 216 mm (8.5 in)
Oct 18°C (64°F) 114 mm (4.5 in) 17°C (62°F) 135 mm (5.3 in)
Nov 12°C (54°F) 71 mm (2.8 in) 11°C (53°F) 138 mm (5.4 in)
Dec 7°C (45°F) 41 mm (1.6 in) 7°C (44°F) 138 mm (5.4 in)