A Travel Price Comparison for Japan Nikko vs. Atami for Attractions, Couples, Food, and Families

Should you visit Nikko or Atami?

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

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Nikko and Atami can help. It includes a travel cost comparison in addition to other factors. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Nikko

Nikko is a historic, cultural, and tranquil town. You'll find plenty of local activities in this small town. It's considered by many to be an absolutely beautiful destination, too. Visitors also love the hiking, shopping, and museums.

Atami

Atami is a overlooked, nostalgic, and authentic town. Other reasons to visit include nightlife, food, and beaches.

Nikko and Atami: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Scenic old town
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Small town charm
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Less popular with couples


Is there more to do in Nikko or Atami?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Nikko. Although Nikko and Atami are popular destinations, Nikko has more sights and attractions for tourists. Nikko is very popular for its museums, food, historical sights, hiking, small town charm, and impressive beauty, while Atami attracts visitors for its nightlife and beaches. Nikko is more touristy than Atami and is known for its Shinto and Buddhist mountain temples, its tranquil hot spring baths, and its peaceful natural setting. It is also well known for the Toshogu Shrine. Atami is famous for its onsen (hot springs) and sandy beaches.

How is Nikko different from Atami?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Nikko or Atami?

Nikko
Atami

Nikko is renowned for its museums and history. Also, Atami is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its museums and landmarks.

The museums and tourist attractions in Nikko are world-renowned. The town sits on the edge of Nikko National Park, where you'll find shrines and temples. Toshogu Shrine is lavishly designed. Other notable temples in the area are Taiyuin, Rinnoji Temple, and Futarasan Temple.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Atami. The onsen, or hot springs, have historically been a big draw to this town. Places to experience them include Oedo Onsen Monogatari Atami, Otsuki Hotel Wafukan, and Myoraku-Yu. Other sights around town include Kaminiya Shrine and the MOA Museum of Art.


Is the Food Better in Nikko or Atami? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Nikko
Atami

Nikko is a very popular place for its restaurants. Also, Atami is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its restaurant scene.

Nikko has a huge number of terrific restaurants. There are many traditional dishes in the area, but one of the most famous is yuba. Yuba is made from a part of soy milk, and you'll find it in places all over town. You'll also find sushi, tofu, and tea everywhere.

There are many up and coming restaurants in the Atami area. You'll find an authentic Japanese dining experience here, with a lot of seafood due to the city's coastal location. Popular dishes include sushi, dried fish, and fish boiled in broth.

Is Nikko or Atami Better for Nightlife?

Nikko
Atami

Atami is a town with good options for nightlife. However, Nikko is not a good destination for nightlife and partying.

If you're looking for night time activities Atami has a few options to choose from. The town was once a place to escape the city and enjoy a fun night out, but these days it's a bit quieter and has more of a nostalgic vibe. Head to Yushima Yugijo Yushima Amusement Center for some of the best nightlife in town.

People don't go to Nikko for the nightlife. The town is about relaxing in a tranquil setting and soaking up nature, so you won't find much in the form of nightlife.

Is Nikko or Atami Better for Beaches?

Nikko
Atami

Atami is a town with good options for its beaches. However, Nikko is not a beach destination.

Plenty of visitors enjoy relaxing on the beach in Atami. The most popular beach in the city is Atami Sun Beach, which is right in town. It's a place to relax in the sun, and there are sometimes fireworks throughout the year.

Nikko is not a beach destination.


Is Nikko or Atami Better for its Old Town?

Nikko
Atami

Nikko is renowned for its old town. However, Atami does not have a historic old town.

The old town of Nikko is one of the most recognized in the world. The ancient town is filled with giant cedar trees that line walking paths that take you to the many shrines and temples in the area.

Atami does not have a historic old town.

Is Nikko or Atami Better for Hiking?

Nikko
Atami

Nikko is a very popular place for its hiking trails. However, Atami is not a hiking destination.

Many visitors explore the nearby hiking trails while visiting Nikko. The town is surrounded by beautiful nature that you can explore on the many walking paths. The forests are well-preserved and they're filled with large cedar trees, dramatic waterfalls, and beautiful hikes. The area embraces the Japanese practice of "forest bathing" where you "bath" yourself in a beautiful natural environment.

Atami is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Nikko or Atami?

Nikko
Atami

If you're looking to go shopping, Nikko and Atami both offer plenty of nice spots.

Plenty of visitors enjoy shopping while in Nikko. There are places in town where you can pick up local handicrafts and traditional items.

Atami offers some nice shopping areas. You'll find a couple of retro shopping streets in town such as Atami Ekimae Shopping Street, Nakamise Shopping Street, and Heiwadori Shopping Street. There are arcades and food stalls where you can sample local dishes.


Is Nikko or Atami Better for Families?

Nikko
Atami

Nikko is a very popular place for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Atami is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its family-friendly activities.

Because of its large number of kid-friendly activities, Nikko is very family-friendly. The area offers a unique way for kids to experience Japanese culture. A highlight for the little ones is a ninja show at Grand Ninja Theatre and the Mizugei-za water magic show. Kids will also enjoy staying in a traditional ryokan and floating in the hot spring baths.

You'll find plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Atami. The city is a hot springs area, but you can also head to the nearby beaches and other family-friendly activities.

Is Nikko or Atami Better for Couples?

Nikko
Atami

Nikko is renowned for its romantic activities. Also, Atami is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for couples.

Nikko is a great town for couples, as it has plenty to offer. While many visitors come to see the shrines and temples, they often end up falling in love with the area's natural beauty, waterfalls, and "forest bathing" (surrounding yourself with nature). Couples will also enjoy dining on the local food and relaxing in a pool fed by a natural hot spring.

Atami is a good town for couples to visit. This is a beach and hot springs resort area, and in historic times it was a honeymoon destination. Today you'll find beaches, hot springs, shopping, and museums to explore, but most visitors use it as a base to explore the nearby areas, as the town itself doesn't have a lot to offer.

Is Nikko or Atami Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Nikko
Atami

Nikko is a very popular place for backpackers and budget travelers. Also, Atami is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for backpackers.

Many backpackers visit Nikko. There are hostels in the area that combine affordability with traditional Japanese customs.

Plenty of backpackers visit Atami. While there aren't a huge number of hostels in the area, and backpackers often skip over this town, prices aren't particularly high so you should be able to find something affordable.


Is Nikko or Atami Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Nikko
Atami

Nikko is a very popular place for times when you don't have a car. Also, Atami is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its public transit.

The public transit in Nikko can get you around easily. There are buses that run from the main train station to the many tourist sights in the area.

You'll find some public transit in Atami, but it may not be enough to take you everywhere. There are public buses, such as the YuYu Bus, which has two routes and passes by many of the town's attractions.

Is Nikko or Atami a more walkable city?

Nikko
Atami

Nikko is a very popular place for its high level of walkability. Also, Atami is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its ease of walking around.

Nikko is a very walkable town. While the town is relatively walkable and there are walking paths through the forest and to most of the temples and shrines, if you want to get further into the region, it's helpful to have a car.

Atami is a somewhat walkable town. Some parts of the city are more walkable than others.

For even more information, also check out Is Nikko Worth Visiting? and Is Atami Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Atami or Nikko?

How long in Nikko or Atami?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Nikko or Atami to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in Nikko than Atami because of the number of activities and things to do in the area. Usually, 1-4 days is a good amount of time for Nikko, and 1-2 days is enough time in Atami.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Nikko than Atami 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 Nikko.


  • How many days in Nikko or Atami? Ideal Length of Stay
    Nikko 1-4 
    Atami 1-2

One day in Nikko or Atami?

Even though Nikko is a small town, it has plenty of activities to choose from. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. Lots of people come for the museums. This town offers a variety of activities to choose from. Because of this, one day is usually enough time for a trip here.

In Atami, many people enjoy the shopping and museums that this overlooked destination offers. This town offers a variety of activities to choose from. Because of this, one day is usually enough time for a trip here.


A weekend in Nikko or Atami?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Nikko. For many, it makes a great getaway for a weekend. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. This would be the perfect place to spend a weekend, as it has just the right amount of activities. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Atami. For many, it makes a great getaway for a weekend. This would be the perfect place to spend a weekend, as it has just the right amount of activities. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.

Five days in Nikko or Atami?

Nikko is a fun place to experience. Nikko is a small town, so it's a great destination if you're short on time. Lots of people come for the museums. Visiting the old town is also a must. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything.

Atami is a fun place to experience. Travelers enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the destination of Atami. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything.

A week in Nikko or Atami?

Nikko is a small town, so you can explore the area with less time. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. Lots of people come for the museums. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

You'll find food and shopping around the overlooked destination of Atami. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best 10-Day Tours in Japan, The Best One Week (7-Day) Tours in Japan, The Best 2-Week Tours in Japan, and The Best Bicycle Tours in Japan.


Which place is cheaper, Atami or Nikko?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Nikko is $82, while the average daily cost in Atami is $86. 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 Nikko and Atami in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Nikko $46
    Atami $43
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Nikko $92
    Atami $86
Compare Hotels in Nikko and Atami

Looking for a hotel in Nikko or Atami? 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 Nikko


Hotels in Atami


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: Nikko Hotel Prices and Atami Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Nikko -
    Atami $35

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Nikko

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

  • Narita Airport to/from Nikko City Private Transfer: $627
  • Kinugawa Osen to Tokyo Narita Airport Private Departure Transfer: $262
  • Kinugawa Osen to Tokyo Haneda Airport Departure Private Transfer: $262
  • Haneda Airport to/from Nikko City Private Transfer: $627

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Atami

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

  • Narita Airport to/from Izu or Atami City Private Transfer: $666
  • Haneda Airport to/from Izu or Atami City Private Transfer: $571

Is it cheaper to fly into Nikko or Atami?

Prices for flights to both Atami and Nikko 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
    Nikko $31
    Atami $24

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Nikko $21
    Atami $7.68

Tours and Activities in Nikko

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

  • Full Day Private Nikko Tour from Tokyo with English Driver: $485
  • Full-Day Private Nikko Tour with English Speaking Driver: $614
  • Nikko Custom Full Day Tour: $231
  • Nikko Custom Half Day Tour: $145
  • Nikko Full-Day Private Tour with Government-Licensed Guide: $139
  • Nikko Private Full-Day Sightseeing Day Tour: $485
  • Nikko Toshogu, Lake Chuzenjiko & Kegon Waterfall 1 Day Tour: $553
  • Nikko self-guided tour app with multi-language audioguide: $4.26
  • Visit the Unexplored Regions of Lake Chuzenji--Scenic Trekking and Rafting Tour: $77
  • World Heritage Nikko Walking Tour - Toshogu Shrine, Kanmangafuchi: $59

Tours and Activities in Atami

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

  • ACAO BEACH: Tent Sauna experience at private resort: $116
  • "Explore Atami's Culinary Culture" Walking Tour: $45
  • Exclusive Geisha Experience: $116
  • Hakone one day tour: $160
  • Ninja, Samurai, Odawara Castle Experience: $132
  • Odawara Castle and Town Guided Discovery Tour: $106

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Nikko $15
    Atami $5.45


When comparing the travel costs between Nikko and Atami, we can see that Atami 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 Nikko Expensive? and Is Atami Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Nikko or Atami?

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

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Nikko or Atami in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Nikko and Atami. The summer months attract visitors to Nikko because of the hiking, the small town charm, and the family-friendly experiences. Furthermore, the beaches and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Atami this time of year.

In the summer, Nikko is around the same temperature as Atami. Typically, the summer temperatures in Nikko in July average around 25°C (77°F), and Atami averages at about 26°C (78°F).

Nikko usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Atami during summer. Nikko gets 136 hours of sunny skies, while Atami receives 140 hours of full sun in the summer.

Atami receives a lot of rain in the summer. Nikko gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In July, Nikko usually receives less rain than Atami. Nikko gets 171 mm (6.7 in) of rain, while Atami receives 202 mm (8 in) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Nikko 25°C (77°F) 
    Atami 26°C (78°F)

Should I visit Nikko or Atami in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Nikko as well as Atami. The hiking trails, the shopping scene, the small town atmosphere, and the natural beauty of the area are the main draw to Nikko this time of year. Additionally, many travelers come to Atami for the shopping scene.

In October, Nikko is generally around the same temperature as Atami. Daily temperatures in Nikko average around 16°C (61°F), and Atami fluctuates around 18°C (64°F).

In the autumn, Nikko often gets more sunshine than Atami. Nikko gets 167 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Atami receives 130 hours of full sun.

It's quite rainy in Atami. Nikko receives a lot of rain in the autumn. Nikko usually gets less rain in October than Atami. Nikko gets 117 mm (4.6 in) of rain, while Atami receives 154 mm (6.1 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Nikko 16°C (61°F) 
    Atami 18°C (64°F)

Should I visit Nikko or Atami in the Winter?

Both Atami and Nikko are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. Many travelers come to Nikko for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Also, many visitors come to Atami in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

Be prepared for some very cold days in Nikko. Nikko is much colder than Atami in the winter. The daily temperature in Nikko averages around 3°C (37°F) in January, and Atami fluctuates around 5°C (42°F).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Nikko. Nikko usually receives more sunshine than Atami during winter. Nikko gets 212 hours of sunny skies, while Atami receives 162 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Nikko usually receives less rain than Atami. Nikko gets 26 mm (1 in) of rain, while Atami receives 73 mm (2.9 in) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Nikko 3°C (37°F) 
    Atami 5°C (42°F)

Should I visit Nikko or Atami in the Spring?

Both Atami and Nikko during the spring are popular places to visit. Many visitors come to Nikko in the spring for the small town charm and the natural beauty. Also, most visitors come to Atami for the beaches during these months.

In the spring, Nikko is cooler than Atami. Typically, the spring temperatures in Nikko in April average around 13°C (55°F), and Atami averages at about 14°C (57°F).

In the spring, Nikko often gets more sunshine than Atami. Nikko gets 191 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Atami receives 161 hours of full sun.

Atami gets a good bit of rain this time of year. It rains a lot this time of the year in Nikko. Nikko usually gets less rain in April than Atami. Nikko gets 108 mm (4.2 in) of rain, while Atami receives 163 mm (6.4 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Nikko 13°C (55°F) 
    Atami 14°C (57°F)

Typical Weather for Atami and Nikko

Nikko Atami
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 3°C (37°F) 26 mm (1 in) 5°C (42°F) 73 mm (2.9 in)
Feb 3°C (38°F) 44 mm (1.7 in) 6°C (42°F) 83 mm (3.3 in)
Mar 7°C (44°F) 74 mm (2.9 in) 9°C (48°F) 153 mm (6 in)
Apr 13°C (55°F) 108 mm (4.2 in) 14°C (57°F) 163 mm (6.4 in)
May 18°C (64°F) 139 mm (5.5 in) 18°C (65°F) 164 mm (6.4 in)
Jun 21°C (70°F) 206 mm (8.1 in) 22°C (71°F) 254 mm (10 in)
Jul 25°C (77°F) 171 mm (6.7 in) 26°C (78°F) 202 mm (8 in)
Aug 27°C (80°F) 195 mm (7.7 in) 27°C (80°F) 222 mm (8.7 in)
Sep 22°C (72°F) 201 mm (7.9 in) 23°C (74°F) 209 mm (8.2 in)
Oct 16°C (61°F) 117 mm (4.6 in) 18°C (64°F) 154 mm (6.1 in)
Nov 10°C (50°F) 62 mm (2.4 in) 13°C (55°F) 108 mm (4.2 in)
Dec 5°C (41°F) 32 mm (1.2 in) 8°C (46°F) 62 mm (2.4 in)


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