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

Should you visit Nara or Nagoya?

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

Should I visit Nara or Nagoya? 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 traditional, tranquil, and natural city. It offers plenty of beauty for visitors. It's also popular because of the hiking, shopping, and museums.

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 nightlife, food, and shopping.

Nara and Nagoya: 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
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for food
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


Is there more to do in Nara or Nagoya?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Nagoya than Nara, as it is bigger with more sights, attractions, and activities for visitors. Nagoya is more popular for its food and big city activities, while Nara is known for its historical sights, hiking, and impressive beauty. Nara is more touristy than Nagoya and is popular for its many temples and shrines, its beautiful natural areas, and its free roaming deer. Nagoya is popular for its local cuisine, historic shrines, and long running shipping industry. It is also home to the Nagoya Castle.

How is Nara different from Nagoya?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Nara
Nagoya

Plenty of people visit the high quality sights and museums in both Nara and Nagoya.

Nara offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. 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.

Many visitors head to Nagoya specifically to visit some of its top-rated museums and other sights. 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.


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

Nara
Nagoya

Nagoya is a must-visit destination for its local cuisine and restaurants. Also, Nara is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its restaurants.

For foodies, Nagoya is an obvious choice, as it is one of the food capitals of the world. 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.

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 Nagoya Better for Nightlife?

Nara
Nagoya

Evening events are high quality in both Nara and Nagoya.

Nara has plenty to do after the sun goes down. 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.

Nagoya has a lively atmosphere and nightlife is popular here. 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.

Is Nara or Nagoya Better for its Old Town?

Nara
Nagoya

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

Nara has an old town worth visiting. 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.

Nagoya does not have a historic old town.


Is Nara or Nagoya Better for Hiking?

Nara
Nagoya

Nara is a very popular place for its hiking trails. However, Nagoya is not a hiking destination.

Many visitors explore the nearby hiking trails while visiting Nara. 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.

Nagoya is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Nara or Nagoya?

Nara
Nagoya

Both Nara and Nagoya are high quality 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 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.

Is Nara or Nagoya Better for Families?

Nara
Nagoya

Nagoya is a must-visit destination for its family-friendly activities. Also, Nara is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its kid-friendly activities.

As it has a large number of activities for kids, Nagoya is a very family-friendly destination. 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.

You'll find plenty of family-friendly things to do in Nara. 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.


Is Nara or Nagoya Better for Couples?

Nara
Nagoya

Nara is a very popular place for couples. Also, Nagoya is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for romance.

Nara makes for a fun place to visit for 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.

Nagoya is a nice destination for couples. 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.

Is Nara or Nagoya Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Nara
Nagoya

Both Nara and Nagoya are good 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.

Nagoya is popular with backpackers and budget travelers. 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.

Is Nara or Nagoya Better for Students?

Nara
Nagoya

Nagoya is a popular place for students. However, Nara is not popular with students.

Nagoya is a good city to visit for 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.

Nara is not popular with students.


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

Nara
Nagoya

Both Nara and Nagoya offer high quality 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.

Nagoya offers a very effecient public transportation network. 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.

Is Nara or Nagoya a more walkable city?

Nara
Nagoya

Nara and Nagoya both are high quality 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.

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.

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

Should I spend more time in Nagoya or Nara?

How long in Nara or Nagoya?

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

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


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

One day in Nara or Nagoya?

Many travelers enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting the destination of Nara. Hikers are also drawn to this area. One day is often enough time to do most activities.

Nagoya is a big city destination where you can fill many days. 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 Nagoya?

Nara 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.

Nagoya is a fun place to experience. Most people visit for the food. 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 Nagoya?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Nara. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. 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.

You'll find museums and nightlife around the under-the-radar big city of Nagoya. 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 Nagoya?

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the traditional destination of Nara. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

The under-rated city of Nagoya 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, Nagoya or Nara?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Nara is $86, while the average daily cost in Nagoya is $89. 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 Nagoya in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Nara $52
    Nagoya $46
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Nara $104
    Nagoya $92
Compare Hotels in Nara and Nagoya

Looking for a hotel in Nara or Nagoya? 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 Nagoya


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 Nagoya Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Nara $5.84
    Nagoya $11

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 Nagoya

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

  • Private Transfer from Nagoya Cruise Port to Nagoya City Hotels: $60
  • Private Transfer from Nagoya Cruise Port to Nagoya hotels: $67
  • Private Transfer from Nagoya hotels to Nagoya Cruise Port: $67
  • Nagoya to Nagoya Int Airport NGO, Departure Private Transfer: $73
  • Private Transfer from Nagoya Cruise Port to Nagoya Airport (NGO): $86
  • Private Transfer - Nagoya Cruise Port to Nagoya Int Airport (NGO): $95
  • Private Transfer from Nagoya city hotels to Kanazawa Cruise Port : $133
  • Chubu Itn Airport to/from Nagoya City private transfer: $138
  • Private Transfer from Nagoya City Hotels to Kanazawa Cruise Port: $146
  • Chubu Airport (NGO) to/from Nagoya Private Transfer: $160
  • Nagoya airport to/from LEGOLAND Private transfer: $190
  • Private One-Way Transfers to/from Suzuka Circuit: $277

Is it cheaper to fly into Nara or Nagoya?

Prices for flights to both Nagoya 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
    Nagoya $27

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: $113
  • Full Day Nara E bike Tour and Osaka History Food Tour: $189

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

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Nara $7.82
    Nagoya $13

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: $167
  • 1-Day Walking Tour in Palace, Deer and Inkstick: $150
  • 3 Days Private Osaka Kyoto and Nara Tour With English Driver: $1,356
  • All must-sees in 3 hours - Nara Park Classic Tour! From JR Nara!: $43
  • E-Bike Eco Chic Tour Explore 1100 Year Old Primeval Forest: $89
  • Eigo Tour - Walk in Nara City: $66
  • Experience Authentic Sushi making in Nara: $115
  • Guided Tour of Todai ji and Nara Park: $87
  • Guided Uji Anime Walking Tour: $31
  • Half-Day Private Guided Tour : Nara Imperial Palace: $95
  • Half-Day Private Guided Tour to Nara City: $95
  • Immersive Experience Tour in Totsukawa village: $3,256

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: $26
  • 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: $53
  • From Gujo, Hida Takayama, and Shirakawa-go Day Tour: $61
  • From Ise Grand Shrine Day Tour: $61
  • Private Tour to Famous Places in Nagoya: $73
  • Customized Private Tour: $74
  • Mitsui Outlet Park, Light-Up Festival, & Onsen Tour: $77

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

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

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


Which is Bigger, Nara or Nagoya?

Nagoya has a larger population, and is about 6 times larger than the population of Nara. When comparing the sizes of Nara and Nagoya, 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 Nagoya?

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 Nagoya in the Summer?

Both Nagoya and Nara during the summer are popular places to visit. The summer months attract visitors to Nara because of the hiking and the family-friendly experiences. Furthermore, the city activities and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Nagoya this time of year.

In the summer, Nara is around the same temperature as Nagoya. Typically, the summer temperatures in Nara in July average around 27°C (80°F), and Nagoya averages at about 27°C (80°F).

In the summer, Nara often gets more sunshine than Nagoya. Nara gets 183 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Nagoya receives 170 hours of full sun.

Nagoya gets a good bit of rain this time of year. It rains a lot this time of the year in Nara. Nara usually gets less rain in July than Nagoya. Nara gets 186 mm (7.3 in) of rain, while Nagoya receives 213 mm (8.4 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Nara 27°C (80°F) 
    Nagoya 27°C (80°F)

Should I visit Nara or Nagoya in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Nara and Nagoya. The hiking trails, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area are the main draw to Nara this time of year. Furthermore, many travelers come to Nagoya for the city's sights and attractions and the shopping scene.

In October, Nara is generally around the same temperature as Nagoya. Daily temperatures in Nara average around 17°C (63°F), and Nagoya fluctuates around 18°C (64°F).

Nara usually receives less sunshine than Nagoya during autumn. Nara gets 159 hours of sunny skies, while Nagoya receives 176 hours of full sun in the autumn.

Nagoya receives a lot of rain in the autumn. Nara gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In October, Nara usually receives around the same amount of rain as Nagoya. Nara gets 110 mm (4.3 in) of rain, while Nagoya receives 114 mm (4.5 in) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Nara 17°C (63°F) 
    Nagoya 18°C (64°F)

Should I visit Nara or Nagoya in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Nara as well as Nagoya. Many travelers come to Nara for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Additionally, many visitors come to Nagoya in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

Nagoya can get quite cold in the winter. Be prepared for some very cold days in Nara. Nara is around the same temperature as Nagoya in the winter. The daily temperature in Nara averages around 4°C (40°F) in January, and Nagoya fluctuates around 4°C (40°F).

In the winter, Nara often gets less sunshine than Nagoya. Nara gets 140 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Nagoya receives 180 hours of full sun.

Nara usually gets more rain in January than Nagoya. Nara gets 49 mm (1.9 in) of rain, while Nagoya receives 42 mm (1.7 in) of rain this time of the year.


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

Should I visit Nara or Nagoya in the Spring?

Both Nagoya and Nara are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. Many visitors come to Nara in the spring for the natural beauty. Also, most visitors come to Nagoya for the activities around the city during these months.

In the spring, Nara is around the same temperature as Nagoya. Typically, the spring temperatures in Nara in April average around 14°C (57°F), and Nagoya averages at about 14°C (58°F).

Nara usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Nagoya during spring. Nara gets 176 hours of sunny skies, while Nagoya receives 189 hours of full sun in the spring.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Nagoya. It's quite rainy in Nara. In April, Nara usually receives less rain than Nagoya. Nara gets 127 mm (5 in) of rain, while Nagoya receives 152 mm (6 in) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Nara 14°C (57°F) 
    Nagoya 14°C (58°F)

Typical Weather for Nagoya and Nara

Nara Nagoya
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 4°C (40°F) 49 mm (1.9 in) 4°C (40°F) 42 mm (1.7 in)
Feb 5°C (40°F) 60 mm (2.3 in) 5°C (41°F) 65 mm (2.6 in)
Mar 8°C (46°F) 99 mm (3.9 in) 8°C (47°F) 110 mm (4.3 in)
Apr 14°C (57°F) 127 mm (5 in) 14°C (58°F) 152 mm (6 in)
May 19°C (65°F) 128 mm (5.1 in) 19°C (66°F) 157 mm (6.2 in)
Jun 23°C (73°F) 214 mm (8.4 in) 23°C (73°F) 213 mm (8.4 in)
Jul 27°C (80°F) 186 mm (7.3 in) 27°C (80°F) 213 mm (8.4 in)
Aug 28°C (82°F) 117 mm (4.6 in) 28°C (83°F) 145 mm (5.7 in)
Sep 24°C (74°F) 154 mm (6.1 in) 24°C (75°F) 204 mm (8 in)
Oct 17°C (63°F) 110 mm (4.3 in) 18°C (64°F) 114 mm (4.5 in)
Nov 12°C (53°F) 62 mm (2.4 in) 12°C (54°F) 71 mm (2.8 in)
Dec 7°C (44°F) 41 mm (1.6 in) 7°C (45°F) 41 mm (1.6 in)