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

Should you visit Nara or Kyoto?

Should I visit Nara or Kyoto? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into 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 $96, while the average daily cost in Kyoto is $96. 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. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Nara and Kyoto in more detail.



Accommodation

If you're traveling alone, you may be able to find a budget hotel or hostel for around $58. But for two people in a standard two-person hotel room in Nara the cost is $116 on average.

The average price for accommodation for two people in Kyoto is $114. This is for two people sharing a typical double occupancy hotel room.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Nara $58
    Kyoto $57
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Nara $116
    Kyoto $114

Food

Nara food costs typically run travelers around $31 per day. Eating every meal in a nicer restaurant will drive the cost up, and grabbing fast food or casual meals will help you save money.

The price of a meal in Kyoto can vary widely. However, the average price for food per day is $27 per person, and a typical meal will cost around $11 based on the spending of previous visitors. Less expensive dining options can be found by eating street food or at fast food restaurants.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Nara $31
    Kyoto $27

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Nara

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

  • Lunch or Dinner with Maiko Experience in Kyoto : $14
  • Instagrammable Cooking Class (Miso-balls): $23
  • Yokohama Lunch, Tea, and Dinner Cruise with Royalwings: $25
  • Online character lunch box cooking class: $27
  • Japanese Rolled Sushi cooking in Tokyo: $27
  • Tokyo West Side Walking and Street Food Tour: $34
  • Hakodate's Famous Ikameshi Cooking Class: $36
  • Cooking Japanese rice in traditional oven at Shikano-fune, Kamado: $38
  • Instagrammable Cooking Class (Casual): $41
  • Okinawa Home Cooking Experience: $45
  • Moby Dick Dinner Cruise in Naha: $53
  • Instagrammable Cooking Class (Special): $59

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Kyoto

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

  • Lunch or Dinner with Maiko Experience in Kyoto : $14
  • Instagrammable Cooking Class (Miso-balls): $23
  • Yokohama Lunch, Tea, and Dinner Cruise with Royalwings: $25
  • Online character lunch box cooking class: $27
  • Japanese Rolled Sushi cooking in Tokyo: $27
  • Tokyo West Side Walking and Street Food Tour: $34
  • Online Cooking Experience ~ Vegan Taco rice!! ~ high protein and low carbohydrate: $35
  • Hakodate's Famous Ikameshi Cooking Class: $36
  • Instagrammable Cooking Class (Casual): $41
  • Nishiki Market Breakfast Walking Food Tour: $43
  • Okinawa Home Cooking Experience: $45
  • Moby Dick Dinner Cruise in Naha: $53

Local Transportation

The average price of local transportation around Nara is $6.88 per person, per day. As this average includes both taxis and public transport, keep in mind that the prices of private drivers and taxis are significantly more expensive than public transportation.

The average price of local transportation around Kyoto is $9.72 per person, per day. As this average includes both taxis and public transport, keep in mind that the prices of private drivers and taxis are significantly more expensive than public transportation.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Nara $6.88
    Kyoto $9.72

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Nara

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Nara:

  • 1 Day Fuji Q Liner Pass with Two Way Transfer from Tokyo: $76
  • Ferry Roundtrip Transfers from Ishigaki Island by Anei Kanko : $11
  • Ferry Transfers between Naha and Kume, Tonaki by Kume Shosen : $11
  • Mount Fuji Climbing Tour with Accommodation & Transfer from Shinjuku/Tokyo/Yokohama/Nishi Funabashi: $121
  • Nara Kimono and Deer Experience Day Trip from Kyoto (with One Way Transfer): $10
  • Private Airport Transfer between New Chitose Airport (CTS) and Hokkaido Major Cities: $209
  • Private Airport Transfer between Tokyo 23 Wards/Tokyo Disneyland and Narita (NRT) or Haneda (HND) Airport: $125
  • Private Chubu Centrair International Airport (NGO) Transfer for Nagoya, Legoland, and Central Japan: $146
  • Private City Transfers Between Kyoto and Port of Kobe (One Way): $32
  • Private City Transfers Between Osaka and Port of Kobe (One Way): $32
  • Private City Transfers Between Port of Kobe and Kobe/Osaka/Kyoto (One Way): $32
  • Private City Transfers Between Tokyo and Kamakura/Shin-Yokohama (One Way): $32

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Kyoto

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Kyoto:

  • [5%OFF] Ferry Transfers from Ishigaki Island by Yaeyama Kanko Ferry: $6.09
  • Nara Kimono and Deer Experience Day Trip from Kyoto (with One Way Transfer): $10
  • Ferry Transfers between Naha and Kume, Tonaki by Kume Shosen : $11
  • Ferry Roundtrip Transfers from Ishigaki Island by Anei Kanko : $11
  • Shared Round-Trip Transfers for Chichibugahama Beach: $23
  • Japan Railway Station Shared Arrival Transfer : Kyoto Station to Kyoto City: $25
  • Private Transfers Between Musashino Forest Sports Plaza and Tokyo City or Airports: $32
  • Private Transfers Between Tokyo Stadium and Tokyo City or Airports: $32
  • Private Transfers Between Equestrian Park and Tokyo City or Airports: $32
  • Private Transfers Between Kokugikan Arena and Tokyo City or Airports: $32
  • Private Transfers Between Ariake Arena and Tokyo City or Airports: $32
  • Private Transfers Between Nippon Budokan and Tokyo City or Airports: $32

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.





Entertainment

Nara's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $8.85 per person, per day. This cost can vary widely by the type of activity, however, as this includes admission tickets, day tours, museums, and other things to do.

Kyoto's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $18 per person, per day. This cost can vary widely by the type of activity, however, as this includes admission tickets, day tours, museums, and other things to do.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Nara $8.85
    Kyoto $18

Tours and Activities in Nara

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

  • Beppu Tower Admission Ticket: $3.65
  • Uzu no Michi and Onaruto Bridge Hall Edy Ticket: $3.75
  • Yunomoto Onsen Experience in Hokkaido : $4.09
  • [5% OFF] Akame 48 Watefalls / Ninja Training Experience Discount Ticket in Mie: $4.35
  • Sakai Plaza of Rikyu and Akiko Experience: $4.39
  • Nagasaki Huis Ten Bosch Ticket: $4.55
  • Roman no Mori Kyowakoku Ticket in Chiba: $4.55
  • Hanshin Tourist Pass (1 Day, Umeda Pick Up): $4.55
  • Sapporo Hitsujigaoka Observation Hill Ticket: $4.85
  • Yunokuni no Mori Ticket in Komatsu: $4.99
  • Hida Kanayama Onsen Yutarikan Hot Spring Experience in Gifu: $4.99
  • Museum of Aeronautical Science Admission Ticket : $5.09

Tours and Activities in Kyoto

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

  • Beppu Tower Admission Ticket: $3.65
  • Uzu no Michi and Onaruto Bridge Hall Edy Ticket: $3.75
  • Yunomoto Onsen Experience in Hokkaido : $4.09
  • [5% OFF] Akame 48 Watefalls / Ninja Training Experience Discount Ticket in Mie: $4.35
  • Sakai Plaza of Rikyu and Akiko Experience: $4.39
  • Hanshin Tourist Pass (1 Day, Umeda Pick Up): $4.55
  • Roman no Mori Kyowakoku Ticket in Chiba: $4.55
  • Nagasaki Huis Ten Bosch Ticket: $4.55
  • Sapporo Hitsujigaoka Observation Hill Ticket: $4.85
  • Hida Kanayama Onsen Yutarikan Hot Spring Experience in Gifu: $4.99
  • Yunokuni no Mori Ticket in Komatsu: $4.99
  • Museum of Aeronautical Science Admission Ticket : $5.09

Alcohol

The average person spends about $12 on alcoholic beverages in Nara per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Kyoto may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $13 per day on alcoholic beverages.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Nara $12
    Kyoto $13

Sample the Local Flavors in Nara

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

  • Hiroshima Sake Brewery Guided Tour in "Saijo", one of the three largest Japanese Sake spot: $12

Sample the Local Flavors in Kyoto

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

  • Hiroshima Sake Brewery Guided Tour in "Saijo", one of the three largest Japanese Sake spot: $12
  • 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
  • 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.

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Nara vs. Kyoto Travel Comparison

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