A Travel Price Comparison for Japan Nara vs. Hiroshima for Attractions, Food, Nightlife, and Families

Should you visit Nara or Hiroshima?

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

Should I visit Nara or Hiroshima? 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.

Nara

Nara is a historic, cultural, and traditional city. It's a gorgeous place to visit. Other reasons to visit include nightlife, food, and hiking.

Hiroshima

Hiroshima is a memorable, meaningful, and park-filled city. And you can't forget about the nightlife, food, and shopping.

Nara and Hiroshima: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Scenic old town
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Home to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park


Is there more to do in Nara or Hiroshima?

Travelers will generally find more things to do in Nara than Hiroshima. While Hiroshima is larger than Nara, Nara has more sights and attractions for tourists. Nara is very popular for its nightlife, historical sights, hiking, and impressive beauty, while Hiroshima attracts visitors for its museums and food. Nara is famous for its many temples and shrines, its beautiful natural areas, and its free roaming deer. It is also well known for Nara Park. Hiroshima is famous for being the sight of the world's first atomic bomb detonation.

How is Nara different from Hiroshima?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Nara or Hiroshima?

Nara
Hiroshima

Hiroshima is a must-visit destination for its sights and museums. Also, Nara is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its museums and history.

The museums, monuments, and landmarks in Hiroshima are among the most recognizable in the world. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park was built to commemorate the victims of the world's first nuclear attack. The park also serves as a sight to promote long term peace. In the park you'll find the Peace Memorial Museum, the Memorial Cenotaph, the Atom Bomb Dome, and the Flame of Peace. Other sights in Hiroshima include the Itsukushima shrine, the Hiroshima Castle, and Mitaki-dera Temple.

Many visitors head to Nara specifically to visit some of its top-rated museums and other sights. The city is filled with history. There are many ancient temples such as Tōdai-ji Temple, Kofuku-ji Temple, Yakushi-ji Temple, and Tōshōdai-ji Temple. You can also visit the Nara National Museum as well as the many parks and gardens.


Is the Food Better in Nara or Hiroshima? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Nara
Hiroshima

Hiroshima is notable for its local cuisine and restaurants. Also, Nara is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its restaurants.

Eating is part of the travel experience when you visit Hiroshima. There are many local dishes that you'll find in restaurants around town. Some of the best dining areas are around Hiroshima Station and in downtown Hiroshima. Make sure you try the Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki, the local oysters, and tsukemen.

Nara is becoming an appealing option for foodies. The cuisine is simple and traditional with its roots in the history of the area. Many residents start their morning with a simple rice porridge. The area is also known for its persimmon leaf sushi and miwa somen (a thin, chewy noodle).

Is Nara or Hiroshima Better for Nightlife?

Nara
Hiroshima

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

The nightlife in Nara has something for everybody. The town offers a serene and relaxed atmosphere at night. There are plenty of bars around town that are known for their friendly bartenders and you'll find many of the bars in Naramachi, which is the old town area.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Hiroshima. The city has many hidden pubs and traditional Japanese bars. The most vibrant nightlife scene is in the Chugoku-Shikoku district, particularly around Nagarekawa Street.

Is Nara or Hiroshima Better for its Old Town?

Nara
Hiroshima

Nara is a city with good options for its historic old town. However, Hiroshima does not have a historic old town.

Nara is a good destination for visiting its old town. Naramachi is the old town of Nara. This is the old merchant district and today you'll find several traditional residential buildings and warehouses that are open to the public.

Hiroshima does not have a historic old town.


Is Nara or Hiroshima Better for Hiking?

Nara
Hiroshima

Nara is a great city for hiking. However, Hiroshima is not a hiking destination.

Many visitors go to Nara for the hiking trails. The city is all about its surrounding nature. There are historic pilgrim routes that pass through the hills and mountains, taking you by sacred sights and ancient forests. In the area you'll find some of Japan's most ancient byways.

Hiroshima is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Nara or Hiroshima?

Nara
Hiroshima

Both Nara and Hiroshima are excellent shopping destinations.

Nara is a popular shopping destination with plenty of stores. Sanjo-dori is the main street through town. This is where you'll find many souvenir shops that sell local items and traditional food. Mochiido Center Town is the oldest shopping arcade in town and it is filled with history.

Many visitors explore the shopping areas in Hiroshima. There are outlet malls as well as morning markets, that make for interesting shopping. Head to old Sanyodo Road to shop where the locals shop and for international brands head to Hondori Central Shopping District.

Is Nara or Hiroshima Better for Families?

Nara
Hiroshima

Nara is a great city for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Hiroshima is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its family-friendly activities.

Nara is a very family-friendly destination. Head to Nara Park for a bit of nature in the city. Deer roam freely in the park, which is filled with pine trees and beautiful lawns. Kids will also appreciate a visit to Ikomasanjo Amusement Park or the NARAMACHI-KARAKURI Toy Museum. You can also take a ride on the Ikoma Cable Line or spend some time at the Tennenyamato Hot Spring Nara Kenko Land.

Hiroshima is a family-friendly place to visit. Tragedy often comes to mind when you think of this city, as it was the sight of the first atomic bomb detonation. Older kids will learn a lot from a visit, but it may be a bit overwhelming for younger kids. There are still many things to do with kids of all ages in the city though, such as feeding the koi fish at Shukeien Park or visiting the floating Itsukushima shrine.


Is Nara or Hiroshima Better for Couples?

Nara
Hiroshima

Nara is a great city for romance. Also, Hiroshima is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its romantic activities.

Nara is a great city if you're traveling as a couple. The city is smaller than you might expect, and it's filled with green space and parks. You can wander through Nara Park, see the deer, and soak up the romantic atmosphere. You can also visit one of the beautiful temples such as Todaiji Temple. Many couples also enjoy exploring Yoshikien Garden.

Hiroshima makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. There is plenty of nature and green space in the city. Couples will enjoy visiting the Hiroshima Castle or wandering through the gardens such as Shukkeien or the Hiroshima Botanical Garden.

Is Nara or Hiroshima Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Nara
Hiroshima

Both Nara and Hiroshima are nice destinations for backpackers.

Plenty of budget travelers visit Nara. There are a couple of hostels in the area that cater to backpackers and the budget travel crowd.

Hiroshima is popular with backpackers and budget travelers. There are many hostels around town and plenty of things to see an do.

Is Nara or Hiroshima Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Nara
Hiroshima

Both Nara and Hiroshima offer excellent public transit options.

The public transit in Nara can get you around easily. There are city buses that will take you through town and to the many tourist spots.

Hiroshima offers a very effecient public transportation network. There's a good tram and streetcar network around town as well as a ferry connecting the city to Miyajima Island. There are also buses around town.


Is Nara or Hiroshima a more walkable city?

Nara
Hiroshima

Nara and Hiroshima both are excellent when exploring on foot.

Nara is a very walkable city. Many of the sights are within walking distance of each other, so many visitors enjoy exploring on foot.

Hiroshima is a very walkable destination. If you base yourself in downtown Hiroshima, you can explore many areas on foot.

For even more information, also check out Is Nara Worth Visiting? and Is Hiroshima Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Hiroshima or Nara?

How long in Nara or Hiroshima?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Nara and Hiroshima. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Hiroshima than in Nara. Usually, 1-2 days is a good amount of time for Nara, and 2-3 days is enough time in Hiroshima.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Nara than Hiroshima 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 Nara.


  • How many days in Nara or Hiroshima? Ideal Length of Stay
    Nara 1-2 
    Hiroshima 2-3

One day in Nara or Hiroshima?

You'll find shopping and museums around the city of Nara. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. One day is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Nara has to offer. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Visitors enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the destination of Hiroshima. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything.

A weekend in Nara or Hiroshima?

You'll find museums and nightlife around the traditional destination of Nara. Hikers are also drawn to this area. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend.A weekend should give you a good understanding of everything this city has to offer. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from.

Hiroshima is a fun place to experience. Most people visit for the museums. If you have a weekend, this is a great place to go. A weekend is often enough time to do most activities. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.


Five days in Nara or Hiroshima?

Travelers enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the cultural city of Nara. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

You'll find museums and nightlife around the park-filled destination of Hiroshima. This city offers something for everyone. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

A week in Nara or Hiroshima?

Nara is a popular choice for travelers. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. One week 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. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

The meaningful city of Hiroshima offers nightlife and food. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. One week 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.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Sightseeing Tours in Japan, The Best Cultural Tours in Japan, The Best Food and Culinary Tours in Japan, and The Best Romantic Tours for Couples in Japan.


Which place is cheaper, Hiroshima or Nara?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Nara is $84, while the average daily cost in Hiroshima is $98. 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 Nara and Hiroshima in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Nara $51
    Hiroshima $63
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Nara $102
    Hiroshima $126
Compare Hotels in Nara and Hiroshima

Looking for a hotel in Nara or Hiroshima? 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 Nara


Hotels in Hiroshima


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: Nara Hotel Prices and Hiroshima Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Nara $5.69
    Hiroshima $9.49

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Nara

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Nara:

  • Kansai Airport (KIX):Private One-Way Transfer to/from Nara: $241

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Hiroshima

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

  • Private Transfer from Hiroshima Airport (HIJ) to Hiroshima Port: $54
  • Private Transfer from Hiroshima Port to Hiroshima Airport (HIJ): $54
  • Private Transfer from Hiroshima Port to Hiroshima Airport (HIJ): $59
  • Private Transfer from Hiroshima Airport (HIJ) to Hiroshima Port: $60
  • Hiroshima Airport to/from Hiroshima City Private Transfer: $172
  • Private Arrival Transfer From Hiroshima International Airport to Hiroshima City: $217
  • Private Departure Transfer Hiroshima City to Hiroshima International Airport: $217
  • Iwakuni Airport to/from Hiroshima City Private Transfer: $230
  • Hiroshima port Shore excursion Private transfer: $477

Is it cheaper to fly into Nara or Hiroshima?

Prices for flights to both Hiroshima and Nara 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
    Nara $28
    Hiroshima $28

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Nara

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Nara.

  • Eel Fishing and Cooking Experience in Kyoto: $72
  • Cooking class, learning how to make authentic sushi: $112
  • Full Day Nara E bike Tour and Osaka History Food Tour: $188

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Hiroshima

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

  • Food and Culture Guided Walking Tour with Dinner: $74
  • Bar Hopping Food Tour: $80
  • Hiroshima Bar Hopping Food Tour: $82
  • Enjoy a Private Japanese Cooking Class with a Local Hiroshima Family: $90
  • Dinner Cruise on HANAIKADA (Raft-Type Boat) with Scenic View of Miyajima: $95
  • Best of Hiroshima Food Tour: $155
  • Best of Hiroshima Food Tour: $236

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Nara $7.62
    Hiroshima $5.26

Tours and Activities in Nara

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Nara are as follows:

  • 1 Day Walking Tour in Nara Palace Deer and Inkstick: $166
  • 1-Day Walking Tour in Palace, Deer and Inkstick: $149
  • 3 Days Private Osaka Kyoto and Nara Tour With English Driver: $1,432
  • All must-sees in 3 hours - Nara Park Classic Tour! From JR Nara!: $42
  • Eigo Tour - Walk in Nara City: $65
  • Experience Authentic Sushi making in Nara: $115
  • Guided Tour of Todai ji and Nara Park (Guide in Spanish): $86
  • Guided Uji Anime Walking Tour: $39
  • Half-Day Private Guided Tour : Nara Imperial Palace: $94
  • Half-Day Private Guided Tour to Nara City: $94
  • Immersive Experience Tour in Totsukawa village: $3,235
  • Japan's Oldest Shrine & Nagashi Somen Walking Tour from Nara: $156

Tours and Activities in Hiroshima

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

  • Hiroshima Imaginary Experience: $2.59
  • Hiroshima:Visit Tourist Pass(1, 2, 3day and 3day middlearea): $6.38
  • HIROSHIMA ORIZURU TOWER Admission Ticket: $15
  • Visit World Heritage site Itsukushima Shrine by sea & Oyster raft tour: $24
  • Kumano Brush Factory Tour and Brush-Making Experience: $26
  • Mihara Goshushi Tour-Walking around the castle town Mihara-: $26
  • Sunset Walking Tour at Peace Park, Hiroshima: $29
  • Hiroshima Historical Walking Tour - Why A-Bomb was Dropped: $32
  • Peace Park Tour VR/Hiroshima: $32
  • Original Amulet Making Experience: $33
  • Guided Virtual Tour of Peace Park in Hiroshima/PEACE PARK TOUR VR: $33
  • Traditional Japanese Archery Experience: $35

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Nara $11
    Hiroshima $12


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

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


Which is Bigger, Nara or Hiroshima?

Hiroshima has a larger population, and is about 3 times larger than the population of Nara. When comparing the sizes of Nara and Hiroshima, 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 Nara or Hiroshima?

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 Nara or Hiroshima in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Nara as well as Hiroshima. Many visitors come to Nara in the summer for the hiking and the family-friendly experiences. Also, most visitors come to Hiroshima for the family-friendly experiences during these months.

In July, Nara is generally around the same temperature as Hiroshima. Daily temperatures in Nara average around 27°C (80°F), and Hiroshima fluctuates around 26°C (79°F).

In the summer, Nara often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Hiroshima. Nara gets 183 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Hiroshima receives 194 hours of full sun.

It's quite rainy in Hiroshima. Nara receives a lot of rain in the summer. Nara usually gets less rain in July than Hiroshima. Nara gets 186 mm (7.3 in) of rain, while Hiroshima receives 238 mm (9.4 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Nara 27°C (80°F) 
    Hiroshima 26°C (79°F)

Should I visit Nara or Hiroshima in the Autumn?

Both Hiroshima and Nara are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. Most visitors come to Nara for the hiking trails, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area during these months. Also, the autumn months attract visitors to Hiroshima because of the shopping scene.

Nara is around the same temperature as Hiroshima in the autumn. The daily temperature in Nara averages around 17°C (63°F) in October, and Hiroshima fluctuates around 17°C (63°F).

Nara usually receives less sunshine than Hiroshima during autumn. Nara gets 159 hours of sunny skies, while Hiroshima receives 193 hours of full sun in the autumn.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Hiroshima. It's quite rainy in Nara. In October, Nara usually receives around the same amount of rain as Hiroshima. Nara gets 110 mm (4.3 in) of rain, while Hiroshima receives 102 mm (4 in) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Nara 17°C (63°F) 
    Hiroshima 17°C (63°F)

Should I visit Nara or Hiroshima in the Winter?

Both Hiroshima and Nara during the winter are popular places to visit. The winter months attract visitors to Nara because of the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Furthermore, the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Hiroshima this time of year.

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

In the winter, Nara often gets less sunshine than Hiroshima. Nara gets 140 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Hiroshima receives 153 hours of full sun.

Nara usually gets around the same amount of rain in January as Hiroshima. Nara gets 49 mm (1.9 in) of rain, while Hiroshima receives 49 mm (1.9 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Nara 4°C (40°F) 
    Hiroshima 4°C (40°F)

Should I visit Nara or Hiroshima in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Nara and Hiroshima. The natural beauty are the main draw to Nara this time of year.

In April, Nara is generally around the same temperature as Hiroshima. Daily temperatures in Nara average around 14°C (57°F), and Hiroshima fluctuates around 14°C (56°F).

Nara usually receives less sunshine than Hiroshima during spring. Nara gets 176 hours of sunny skies, while Hiroshima receives 193 hours of full sun in the spring.

Hiroshima receives a lot of rain in the spring. Nara gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In April, Nara usually receives less rain than Hiroshima. Nara gets 127 mm (5 in) of rain, while Hiroshima receives 168 mm (6.6 in) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Nara 14°C (57°F) 
    Hiroshima 14°C (56°F)

Typical Weather for Hiroshima and Nara

Nara Hiroshima
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 4°C (40°F) 49 mm (1.9 in) 4°C (40°F) 49 mm (1.9 in)
Feb 5°C (40°F) 60 mm (2.3 in) 5°C (41°F) 63 mm (2.5 in)
Mar 8°C (46°F) 99 mm (3.9 in) 8°C (46°F) 108 mm (4.3 in)
Apr 14°C (57°F) 127 mm (5 in) 14°C (56°F) 168 mm (6.6 in)
May 19°C (65°F) 128 mm (5.1 in) 18°C (64°F) 157 mm (6.2 in)
Jun 23°C (73°F) 214 mm (8.4 in) 22°C (71°F) 260 mm (10.2 in)
Jul 27°C (80°F) 186 mm (7.3 in) 26°C (79°F) 238 mm (9.4 in)
Aug 28°C (82°F) 117 mm (4.6 in) 27°C (81°F) 117 mm (4.6 in)
Sep 24°C (74°F) 154 mm (6.1 in) 23°C (74°F) 185 mm (7.3 in)
Oct 17°C (63°F) 110 mm (4.3 in) 17°C (63°F) 102 mm (4 in)
Nov 12°C (53°F) 62 mm (2.4 in) 12°C (53°F) 67 mm (2.6 in)
Dec 7°C (44°F) 41 mm (1.6 in) 7°C (44°F) 37 mm (1.5 in)