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

Should you visit Nara or Sendai?

Should I visit Nara or Sendai? 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.

Sendai

Sendai, Japan is located in the Toohoku region on the main Honshu island. It is often referred to as "Forest City" due to the large amount of green space throughout the city and the tree filled parks and public spaces. Sendai is a very pleasant city to visit; they are in close proximity to both mountains and the sea and have many large universities throughout the city, making it a popular college town.

Which city is cheaper, Sendai 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 Sendai is $117. 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 Sendai 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 prices for places to stay in Sendai can vary by date, location, and type. Generally, the average cost for accommodation per person is $66, while a typical double-occupancy hotel room for two people will cost around $132.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Nara $58
    Sendai $66
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Nara $116
    Sendai $132

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 Sendai can vary widely. However, the average price for food per day is $36 per person, and a typical meal will cost around $14 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
    Sendai $36

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 Sendai

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

  • Private Tour - Japanese Meal in a Historic Port Town! Enjoy the Food Tour!: $138

Local Transportation

The average price of local transportation around Nara is $6.87 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.

Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Sendai than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $20 on transportation in Sendai on average per day.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Nara $6.87
    Sendai $20

Is it cheaper to fly into Nara or Sendai?

Prices for flights to both Sendai 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 $8.83 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.

Sightseeing expenses in Sendai, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $20 per day, per person.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Nara $8.83
    Sendai $20

Tours and Activities in Nara

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

  • 1-Day Nara and Uji Private Custom Tour from Osaka by Chartered Vehicle: $831
  • All must-sees in 3 hours - Nara Park Classic Tour!: $30
  • Deer City Nara Walking & Izakaya Hopping Tour: $167
  • Discover Traditional Nara Walking Tour (Full day): $118
  • Discover Traditional Nara Walking Tour (Half day): $91
  • Full-Day Private Guided Tour to Nara Temples: $246
  • Gigantic Todai-ji Temple Early Bird Tour: $96
  • Hand Painted Yuzen Dyeing Experience: $383
  • Heijo Palace Walking Tour (Half Day): $43
  • Heijo Palace and Yamato Koriyama Walking Tour (Full Day): $107
  • Japanese Calligraphy Experience in Nara: $35
  • Nara - Craft Beer and Sake Walking Tour: $98

Tours and Activities in Sendai

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

  • Private Tour - Everything good in Sendai! Find goods in craftsmanship town: $79
  • Private Tour - Glossy Sendai Night, Taste the sake and Food of Tohoku!: $89
  • Explore the Ice Monster Forest in Zao! Snow Vehicle Tour to See the Snow Rime: $96
  • A Special Tour to Visit the Ice-clad Crater-Lake and the Frost-covered Shrine: $96
  • Sendai / Matsushima Half-Day Private Tour with Nationally-Licensed Guide: $98
  • Private Tour - Fill your Stomach with Must-Eats of Sendai, a Gourmet City!: $98
  • Private Tour - Scenary beyond imagination, a temple into the Sky in Sendai: $108
  • Private Tour - Leap Time Back to Know Sendai by Visiting All Must Sees: $108
  • Private Tour - Feel the Sea Breeze in an adventurous island: Urato: $113
  • Private Tour - A Tour to Get Luck Through Three Bridges and an Island!: $113
  • Private Tour - Energy charge with a trip around power spots in Sendai!: $118
  • Private Tour - Great Views and Foods, Explore Matsushima to your Fullest!: $118

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.

Typically, people visiting Sendai spend on average $12 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Nara $12
    Sendai $12


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Nara and Sendai, we can see that Sendai 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 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 Nara.

Budget Your Trip

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Nara vs. Sendai Travel Comparison

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