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

Should you visit Nagoya or Sendai?

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

Should I visit Nagoya or Sendai? 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. Visitors also love the food, shopping, and museums.

Sendai

Sendai is a lively, high energy, and vibrant city. Because this is such a big city, visitors will find many sights and attractions around town. It's also popular because of the beaches, shopping, and museums.

Nagoya and Sendai: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • 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
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for food


Is there more to do in Nagoya or Sendai?

Both Sendai and Nagoya have plenty of things to do for visitors. Both offer a variety of sights, activities, and attractions for tourists. Nagoya is more popular for its food and big city activities, while Sendai is known for its beaches. Sendai is more touristy than Nagoya and is known for the Tanabata Festival, which is the largest of its kind and held every August. Nagoya is popular for its local cuisine, historic shrines, and long running shipping industry.

How is Nagoya different from Sendai?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Nagoya
Sendai

You'll find a number of very good museums and attractions in both Sendai 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 Sendai specifically to visit some of its top-rated museums and other sights. The city grew up as a castle town, and today the castle ruins are a popular tourist destination. A park surrounds the area, Aobayama Park, and while only the stonewalls remain, you can visit the Sendai City Museum in the park as well. Zuihoden Temple is another landmark worth visiting, as is the AER observation terrace.


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

Nagoya
Sendai

Nagoya is renowned for its restaurants. Also, Sendai is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its restaurant scene.

Known for it's food and restaurant scene, Nagoya is always at the top of any foodie's travel list. 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.

There are many up and coming restaurants in the Sendai area. There are a number of local specialties in the area and if you're an adventurous eater, then this is your place. Many of the dishes are influenced by the city's proximity to the ocean. Make sure you try the harako-meshi (rice with fish eggs), sea squirts, and sashimi. Another local favorite is beef tongue.

Is Nagoya or Sendai Better for Nightlife?

Nagoya
Sendai

The very good nightlife scene is relatively similar in Nagoya and Sendai.

Nagoya has a large number of nightlife venues. 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.

Sendai is a popular destination for visitors looking to party into the night. Head to Kokubuncho for the best nightlife scene in the area. This downtown neighborhood is filled with bars, clubs, and karaoke that come alive in the evening. For live music, check out Rensa, which is one of the city's largest live music venues.

Is Nagoya or Sendai Better for Beaches?

Nagoya
Sendai

Sendai is a popular place for the beach. However, Nagoya is not a beach destination.

Sendai is a good option for a beach vacation. There are a number of beaches in the area, but for the best options you'll want to head a bit out of town.

Nagoya is not a beach destination.


Is the Shopping Better in Nagoya or Sendai?

Nagoya
Sendai

Shoppers can find a variety of very good stores in both Nagoya and Sendai.

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.

Sendai is an extremely popular place for shoppers. You'll find shopping arcades in the downtown area like Ichibancho, which is one of the most popular shopping districts in the city. If you head out of town towards the suburbs, you'll find malls and other outlet stores.

Is Nagoya or Sendai Better for Families?

Nagoya
Sendai

Nagoya is renowned for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Sendai is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its family-friendly activities.

Nagoya is an amazing family-friendly city to visit. 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.

Sendai is known to be a very family-friendly place to visit. The city has a number of green spaces that kids will enjoy including parks and playgrounds. There are also kid-focused museums like the Anpanman Children's Museum and the 3M Sendai City Science Museum. If the young ones really need a break from the history, you can check out Yagiyama Beny Land.

Is Nagoya or Sendai Better for Couples?

Nagoya
Sendai

With fun activities for couples, both Nagoya and Sendai 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.

Sendai is a nice destination for couples. The city boasts beautiful temples as well as nice natural areas, parks, and gardens. If you have time to get out of town, Okama is a volcanic lake that is one of the most beautiful spots in the region, and well worth the excursion.


Is Nagoya or Sendai Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Nagoya
Sendai

Nagoya and Sendai 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.

Sendai is popular with backpackers and budget travelers. There are a couple of hostels around the town and many of the activities are free as they involve strolling through parks or wandering down shopping streets.

Is Nagoya or Sendai Better for Students?

Nagoya
Sendai

Nagoya is a nice place to visit for its student-friendly activities. However, Sendai is not popular with 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.

Sendai is not popular with students.

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

Nagoya
Sendai

Visitors will find very good public transit in both Nagoya and Sendai.

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 Sendai is fairly effecient and thorough. There are two subway lines the north-south Namboku Line and the east-west Tozai Line. These lines cross at Sendai Station.


Is Nagoya or Sendai a more walkable city?

Nagoya
Sendai

Nagoya and Sendai are very good 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.

Sendai is very walkable. There are many parts of the city that are walkable, especially around Sendai Station as well as in the Chuo-dori arcade and the the Kokubuncho neighborhood.

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

Should I spend more time in Sendai or Nagoya?

How long in Nagoya or Sendai?

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

Families should spend more time in Nagoya than Sendai. 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.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Nagoya than Sendai 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 Sendai? Ideal Length of Stay
    Nagoya 2-3 
    Sendai 2-3

One day in Nagoya or Sendai?

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

A weekend in Nagoya or Sendai?

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.

Sendai 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 Sendai?

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 Sendai. 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 Sendai?

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the often overlooked 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 high energy destination of Sendai. 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, Sendai or Nagoya?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Nagoya is $89, while the average daily cost in Sendai is $105. 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 Sendai in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Nagoya $46
    Sendai $59
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Nagoya $92
    Sendai $118
Compare Hotels in Nagoya and Sendai

Looking for a hotel in Nagoya or Sendai? 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 Sendai


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 Sendai Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Nagoya $11
    Sendai $18

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Nagoya

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

  • Private Transfer from Nagoya hotels to Nagoya Cruise Port: $67
  • Private Transfer from Nagoya city hotels to Kanazawa Cruise Port : $133
  • Private Transfer from Nagoya Cruise Port to Nagoya hotels: $67
  • Private Transfer from Nagoya Cruise Port to Nagoya City Hotels: $60
  • Private Transfer from Nagoya Cruise Port to Nagoya Airport (NGO): $86
  • Private Transfer from Nagoya City Hotels to Kanazawa Cruise Port: $146
  • Private Transfer - Nagoya Cruise Port to Nagoya Int Airport (NGO): $95
  • Private One-Way Transfers to/from Suzuka Circuit: $277
  • Nagoya to Nagoya Int Airport NGO, Departure Private Transfer: $73
  • Nagoya airport to/from LEGOLAND Private transfer: $190
  • Chubu Itn Airport to/from Nagoya City private transfer: $138
  • Chubu Airport (NGO): Private Transfer to/from Naign Shrine: $770

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Sendai

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

  • Sendai Airport to/from Sendai City private transfer: $156

Is it cheaper to fly into Nagoya or Sendai?

Prices for flights to both Sendai 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
    Sendai $33

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: $66
  • Grandma’s Traditional Cooking Class: $66
  • Grandma’s Nagoya Specialties Cooking Class: $66
  • gided japanese food tour in okazaki(aichi): $84
  • Market Tour and Authentic Nagoya Cuisine Cooking Class With a Local in Her Home: $92
  • Specialties of Nagoya Food Tour: $177

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Sendai

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

  • Miyagi, Shiogama Local Food Tour with Premium Tuna and Sushi Town: $129

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Nagoya $13
    Sendai $18

Tours and Activities in Nagoya

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

  • 2-Hour Genuine Samurai Experience Through Kendo in Nagoya: $118
  • Day Tour with Ghibli Park Admission Ticket Round Trip from Nagoya: $177
  • Experience Japanese calligraphy & tea ceremony at a traditional house in Nagoya: $111
  • Explore Holy Mt Horaiji Private Tour: $210
  • Explore-Castles Tour in Samurai City Aichi Using Local Train: $237
  • From Gujo, Hida Takayama, and Shirakawa-go Day Tour: $61
  • From Ise Grand Shrine Day Tour: $61
  • From Shirakawa-go Bus Ticket with Hida Beef Lunch: $49
  • Full-Day Kisoji Nakasendo Trail Tour from Nagoya: $230
  • Full-Day Small-Group Tour in Ise Jingu: $230
  • Ghibli Park Ticket and Accommodation 2 Days Package (No Guide): $182
  • Green tea adventure in Nishio and amazing Nagoya: $295

Tours and Activities in Sendai

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

  • Japanese Taiko Drum Experience at Sairi Yashiki : $72
  • Sendai, Okama: Private tour from Sendai city to Okama: $256
  • Local Foodie Tour, wander around the gourmet town: $114

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Nagoya $12
    Sendai $11

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 Sendai, we can see that Sendai is more expensive. And not only is Nagoya much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Nagoya would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Nagoya 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 Sendai would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Sendai than you might in Nagoya.

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


Which is Bigger, Nagoya or Sendai?

Nagoya has a larger population, and is about 2 times larger than the population of Sendai. When comparing the sizes of Nagoya and Sendai, 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 Sendai?

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 Sendai in the Summer?

Both Sendai and Nagoya are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities. Many travelers come to Nagoya for the city activities and the family-friendly experiences. Also, many visitors come to Sendai in the summer for the beaches, the city activities, and the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Nagoya is generally a little warmer than Sendai. Daily temperatures in Nagoya average around 27°C (80°F), and Sendai fluctuates around 23°C (73°F).

Nagoya usually receives more sunshine than Sendai during summer. Nagoya gets 170 hours of sunny skies, while Sendai receives 124 hours of full sun in the summer.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Sendai. It's quite rainy in Nagoya. In July, Nagoya usually receives more rain than Sendai. Nagoya gets 213 mm (8.4 in) of rain, while Sendai receives 151 mm (5.9 in) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Nagoya 27°C (80°F) 
    Sendai 23°C (73°F)

Should I visit Nagoya or Sendai in the Autumn?

Both Sendai and Nagoya during the autumn are popular places to visit. Many visitors come to Nagoya in the autumn for the city's sights and attractions and the shopping scene. Furthermore, most visitors come to Sendai for the city's sights and attractions and the shopping scene during these months.

Nagoya is a little warmer than Sendai in the autumn. The daily temperature in Nagoya averages around 18°C (64°F) in October, and Sendai fluctuates around 15°C (59°F).

In the autumn, Nagoya often gets more sunshine than Sendai. Nagoya gets 176 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Sendai receives 149 hours of full sun.

Sendai gets a good bit of rain this time of year. It rains a lot this time of the year in Nagoya. Nagoya usually gets more rain in October than Sendai. Nagoya gets 114 mm (4.5 in) of rain, while Sendai receives 103 mm (4.1 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Nagoya 18°C (64°F) 
    Sendai 15°C (59°F)

Should I visit Nagoya or Sendai in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Nagoya and Sendai. Most visitors come to Nagoya for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months. Furthermore, the winter months attract visitors to Sendai because of the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

The weather in Sendai can be very cold. Nagoya can be very cold during winter. In the winter, Nagoya is much warmer than Sendai. Typically, the winter temperatures in Nagoya in January average around 4°C (40°F), and Sendai averages at about 2°C (35°F).

Nagoya usually receives more sunshine than Sendai during winter. Nagoya gets 180 hours of sunny skies, while Sendai receives 149 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Nagoya usually receives around the same amount of rain as Sendai. Nagoya gets 42 mm (1.7 in) of rain, while Sendai receives 42 mm (1.7 in) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Nagoya 4°C (40°F) 
    Sendai 2°C (35°F)

Should I visit Nagoya or Sendai in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Nagoya as well as Sendai. The spring months attract visitors to Nagoya because of the activities around the city. Additionally, the beaches and the activities around the city are the main draw to Sendai this time of year.

In April, Nagoya is generally a little warmer than Sendai. Daily temperatures in Nagoya average around 14°C (58°F), and Sendai fluctuates around 10°C (51°F).

In the spring, Nagoya often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Sendai. Nagoya gets 189 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Sendai receives 188 hours of full sun.

Nagoya receives a lot of rain in the spring. Nagoya usually gets more rain in April than Sendai. Nagoya gets 152 mm (6 in) of rain, while Sendai receives 94 mm (3.7 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Nagoya 14°C (58°F) 
    Sendai 10°C (51°F)

Typical Weather for Sendai and Nagoya

Nagoya Sendai
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 4°C (40°F) 42 mm (1.7 in) 2°C (35°F) 42 mm (1.7 in)
Feb 5°C (41°F) 65 mm (2.6 in) 2°C (35°F) 49 mm (1.9 in)
Mar 8°C (47°F) 110 mm (4.3 in) 5°C (40°F) 68 mm (2.7 in)
Apr 14°C (58°F) 152 mm (6 in) 10°C (51°F) 94 mm (3.7 in)
May 19°C (66°F) 157 mm (6.2 in) 15°C (60°F) 111 mm (4.4 in)
Jun 23°C (73°F) 213 mm (8.4 in) 19°C (66°F) 133 mm (5.2 in)
Jul 27°C (80°F) 213 mm (8.4 in) 23°C (73°F) 151 mm (5.9 in)
Aug 28°C (83°F) 145 mm (5.7 in) 25°C (77°F) 165 mm (6.5 in)
Sep 24°C (75°F) 204 mm (8 in) 21°C (69°F) 187 mm (7.4 in)
Oct 18°C (64°F) 114 mm (4.5 in) 15°C (59°F) 103 mm (4.1 in)
Nov 12°C (54°F) 71 mm (2.8 in) 9°C (49°F) 69 mm (2.7 in)
Dec 7°C (45°F) 41 mm (1.6 in) 4°C (40°F) 36 mm (1.4 in)