A Travel Price Comparison for Japan Nara vs. Kyoto for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Nara or Kyoto?

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

Should I visit Nara or Kyoto? 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

As Japan's first capital, Nara offers a world of tradition and culture second only to the city of Kyoto. It is home to eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which are largely concentrated in the area of Nara Park. Here, it is also common to see many deer wandering freely amongst the temples and shrines.

Kyoto

Kyoto is a larger city of Japan, though it is very much set in the old ways. With quiet temples, sublime gardens, colorful shrines, and geisha walking amidst a city surrounded by stunning mountains, Kyoto feels like a world of another time and place. True to ancient Japanese tradition, most aspects of daily life are tied closely with the changing of the seasons.

Which city is cheaper, Kyoto or Nara?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Nara is $78, while the average daily cost in Kyoto is $77. 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 city. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Nara and Kyoto in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Nara $47
    Kyoto $46
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Nara $94
    Kyoto $92

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Nara $5.55
    Kyoto $7.84

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Kyoto

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Kyoto:

  • Japan Railway Station Shared Arrival Transfer : Kyoto Station to Kyoto City: $25
  • Kansai Airport to/from Osaka/Kyoto/Sakai - Shared Transfer: $83
  • Shared Departure Transfer: Kyoto City to Osaka Itami Airport: $101
  • Shared Departure Transfer : Kyoto City to Kansai International Airport: $101
  • Private departure transfer from Kyoto city to Osaka Itami International airport: $112
  • Private departure transfer from Kyoto city to Kansai International airport: $148
  • Departure Private Transfer from Kyoto City to Kansai Airport KIX by Minivan: $209
  • Osaka Private Transfer from Itami Airport (ITM) to central Osaka: $314
  • Osaka ITM Airport to Kyoto Center door to door Private Transfer 6 seats Alphard: $334
  • Private Transfer to/from Chubu Centrair Airport: $359
  • Private Departure Transfer : Kyoto City to Kansai International Airport: $364
  • KIX Airport Transfers (to or from KYOTO) by Land Rover Discovery Sport 2018: $376

Is it cheaper to fly into Nara or Kyoto?

Prices for flights to both Kyoto 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 $25
    Kyoto $22

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Nara

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

  • Cooking Japanese rice in traditional oven at Shikano-fune, Kamado: $38

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Kyoto

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

  • Online Cooking Experience ~ Vegan Taco rice!! ~ high protein and low carbohydrate: $35
  • Nishiki Market Breakfast Walking Food Tour: $43
  • Private Japanese Cooking Lesson and Lunch: $60
  • Authentic Seasonal Japanese Home Cooking Lesson with a Charming Local in Kyoto: $62
  • Morning Japanese Bento Cooking Class: $70
  • Kyoto Cooking Class: $74
  • Sushi or Obanzai Cooking and Matcha with a Kyoto Native in her Home: $74
  • Ramen Cooking Class at Ramen Factory in Kyoto: $76
  • Private Japanese Cooking Class with a Local in a Beautiful Wooden House in Kyoto: $78
  • Ramen Cooking class: $81
  • Nishiki Market Food Tour in Kyoto: $83
  • Bento Box Cooking Class: $86

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Nara $7.14
    Kyoto $14

Tours and Activities in Nara

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

  • [Virtual Tour] Enjoy Japanese Ancient City (Nara) with Friendly Deer: $12
  • All must-sees in 3 hours - Nara Park Classic Tour!: $30
  • Japanese Calligraphy Experience in Nara: $35
  • Nara Like a Local: Customized Private Tour: $36
  • Nara Craft Tours - local Craft beers tour experience in Nara City: $40
  • Heijo Palace Walking Tour (Half Day): $43
  • Sushi Making Experience Umemori Sushi School Nara/Kyoto/Osaka: $45
  • Big Buddha, Bambi and Backstreets Cultural Tour: $59
  • Nara Todai-ji Lazy Bird Tour: $64
  • Nara Lazy Bird Tour: $80
  • Half-Day UNESCO Heritage & Local Culture Walking Tour: $88
  • Discover Traditional Nara Walking Tour (Half day): $91

Tours and Activities in Kyoto

Here are a few actual costs in Kyoto for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Fushimi Inari Shrine: Explore the 1,000 Torii Gates on an audio walking tour: $5.99
  • Family Mitsui House Museum with green tea admission ticket: $9.84
  • [Virtual Tour] Kyoto Highlights: $12
  • Flower hunting in Kyoto with Mori the Doggo (Online experience): $12
  • Forest bathe in Kyoto’s Sacred Mountain (Online experience): $12
  • Gion Walking Tour by Night with Virtual Option: $13
  • Kyoto Virtual Tour: $15
  • Mansagama-pottery wheel experience-: $18
  • Kyoto Virtual Online Tour: $18
  • Kimono and Yukata 2 Hours Experience in Kyoto: $20
  • Gion Historical Virtual Walking Tour in Kyoto: $21
  • 5-Hour Guided Walking Tour - Walk in Kyoto, Talk in English: $21

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Nara $10
    Kyoto $11

Sample the Local Flavors in Kyoto

Also in Kyoto, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Kyoto Small-Group Sake Brewery Tour with Sake Tasting: $61
  • Sake Brewery Tour: $81
  • Kyoto Sake Brewery & Tasting Walking Tour: $93
  • Kyoto Sake Brewery Tour with Lunch: $191
  • Kyoto Sake Brewery Tour: $193
  • Fushimi Private One Day tour/ Sake brewery & Geisha lunch: $1,210


When comparing the travel costs between Nara and Kyoto, we can see that Nara 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.

Budget Your Trip

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Nara vs. Kyoto Travel Comparison

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