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

Should you visit Nikko or Kyoto?

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 Kyoto 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.

Where Should I go: Nikko or Kyoto?

Nikko

Nikko is a small Japanese city located in the mountains north of Tokyo. It is well-known for the site of Toshogu, a famed Shinto shrine established in 1617, in memory of Tokugawa Ieyasu who was the founding ruler of the Edo Period. The town is situated just outside of Nikko National Park which offers scenic mountain landscapes, lakes, waterfalls, hot springs, wild monkeys, and hiking trails.

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 Nikko?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Nikko is $70, while the average daily cost in Kyoto is $73. 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 Nikko and Kyoto in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Nikko $40
    Kyoto $44
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Nikko $80
    Kyoto $88
Compare Hotels in Nikko and Kyoto

Looking for a hotel in Nikko or Kyoto? 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 Kyoto


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Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Nikko -
    Kyoto $7.45

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Kyoto

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Kyoto:

  • KIX Airport Transfers (to or from KYOTO) by Minivan Toyota HIACE 2019: $430
  • KIX Airport Transfers (to or from KYOTO) by Toyota ALPHARD 2019: $430
  • One-Way Private Transfer Between Kyoto and Mount Koya: $406
  • KIX Airport to Kyoto Center Arashiyama door to door Private Transfer Alphard: $393
  • KIX Airport Transfers (to or from KYOTO) by Land Rover Discovery Sport 2018: $376
  • Private Departure Transfer : Kyoto City to Kansai International Airport: $364
  • Private Transfer to/from Chubu Centrair Airport: $359
  • Osaka ITM Airport to Kyoto Center door to door Private Transfer 6 seats Alphard: $334
  • Osaka Private Transfer from Itami Airport (ITM) to central Osaka: $314
  • Departure Private Transfer from Kyoto City to Kansai Airport KIX by Minivan: $209
  • Private departure transfer from Kyoto city to Kansai International airport: $148
  • Private departure transfer from Kyoto city to Osaka Itami International airport: $112

Is it cheaper to fly into Nikko or Kyoto?

Prices for flights to both Kyoto 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 $26
    Kyoto $21

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Nikko

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

  • Nikko Guided Tour by Chartered Vehicle with Exclusive Lunch and Dinner: $2,910

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.
    Nikko $18
    Kyoto $14

Tours and Activities in Nikko

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

  • Nikko Half-Day Private Tour with Nationally-Licensed Guide: $103
  • Visit the Unexplored Regions of Lake Chuzenji--Scenic Trekking and Rafting Tour: $115
  • Nikko Full-Day Private Tour with Nationally-Licensed Guide: $129
  • Nikko Custom Half Day Tour: $149
  • Bask in the beauty of winter Nikko in this unforgettable ice climbing experience: $166
  • The Nikko National Park Bike Experience: $172
  • Nikko Custom Full Day Tour: $260
  • Nikko Private Tour by public transportation: $289
  • Exciting Nikko - One Day Tour from Tokyo: $347
  • Nikko 1 day private walking tour: $430
  • Full Day Nikko Private Custom Tour from Tokyo by Chartered Vehicle: $1,122
  • Trekking and Private Onsen Temple Tour in Nikko: $1,474

Tours and Activities in Kyoto

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

  • (Day Time) Fushimi Inari & Nara Highlights Tour: $113
  • (Early Bird) Fushimi Inari & Nara Highlights Tour: $113
  • 1 Day Character Private Kyoto Tour - English Speaking Driver: $776
  • 1 Day Hiking Tour in the Mountains of Kyoto: $162
  • 1-Day Bus Tour from Osaka/Kyoto to Kyoto, Nara, and Kobe (with Halal Meals): $125
  • 1-Day Hiroshima & Miyajima Tour (Round-trip from Kyoto): $379
  • 1-Day Kyoto Cherry Blossom Tour: $118
  • 1-Day Kyoto Private Custom Tour from Osaka by Chartered Vehicle: $831
  • 1.5 Hours Kyoto Insider Sake Experience: $62
  • 10 Must-see Spots in Kyoto One Day Private Tour: $393
  • 12-Hour Sightseeing Trip from Osaka/Kyoto to Kyoto, Nara, and Kobe: $94
  • 2-Hour KENDO Experience in Kyoto: $59

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Nikko $13
    Kyoto $10

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 Nikko and Kyoto, we can see that Kyoto 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.


When is the best time to visit Nikko or Kyoto?

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 Nikko or Kyoto in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Nikko as well as Kyoto.

In the summer, Nikko is around the same temperature as Kyoto. Typically, the summer temperatures in Nikko in July are around 25°C (77°F), and Kyoto is about 27°C (81°F).

In the summer, Nikko often gets less sunshine than Kyoto. Nikko gets 136 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Kyoto receives 183 hours of full sun.

It's quite rainy in Kyoto. Nikko receives a lot of rain in the summer. Nikko usually gets less rain in July than Kyoto. Nikko gets 171 mm (6.7 in) of rain, while Kyoto receives 236 mm (9.3 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Nikko 25°C (77°F) 
    Kyoto 27°C (81°F)

Should I visit Nikko or Kyoto in the Autumn?

Both Kyoto and Nikko are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities.

In October, Nikko is generally cooler than Kyoto. Temperatures in Nikko average around 16°C (61°F), and Kyoto stays around 18°C (64°F).

Nikko usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Kyoto during autumn. At this time of the year, Nikko gets 167 hours of sunny skies, while Kyoto receives 159 hours of full sun.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Kyoto. It's quite rainy in Nikko. In October, Nikko usually receives around the same amount of rain as Kyoto. At this time of the year, Nikko gets 117 mm (4.6 in) of rain, while Kyoto receives 111 mm (4.4 in) of rain.


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

Should I visit Nikko or Kyoto in the Winter?

Both Kyoto and Nikko during the winter are popular places to visit.

Kyoto can get quite cold in the winter. Be prepared for some very cold days in Nikko. Nikko is much colder than Kyoto in the winter. The temperature in Nikko is usually 3°C (37°F) in January, and Kyoto stays around 5°C (40°F).

It's quite sunny in Nikko. In the winter, Nikko often gets more sunshine than Kyoto. Nikko gets 212 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Kyoto receives 140 hours of full sun.

Nikko usually gets less rain in January than Kyoto. Nikko gets 26 mm (1 in) of rain, while Kyoto receives 50 mm (2 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Nikko 3°C (37°F) 
    Kyoto 5°C (40°F)

Should I visit Nikko or Kyoto in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Nikko and Kyoto.

In the spring, Nikko is cooler than Kyoto. Typically, the spring temperatures in Nikko in April are around 13°C (55°F), and Kyoto is about 14°C (58°F).

Nikko usually receives more sunshine than Kyoto during spring. At this time of the year, Nikko gets 191 hours of sunny skies, while Kyoto receives 176 hours of full sun.

Kyoto receives a lot of rain in the spring. Nikko gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In April, Nikko usually receives less rain than Kyoto. At this time of the year, Nikko gets 108 mm (4.2 in) of rain, while Kyoto receives 153 mm (6 in) of rain.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Nikko 13°C (55°F) 
    Kyoto 14°C (58°F)

Typical Weather for Kyoto and Nikko

Nikko Kyoto
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 3°C (37°F) 26 mm (1 in) 5°C (40°F) 50 mm (2 in)
Feb 3°C (38°F) 44 mm (1.7 in) 5°C (41°F) 63 mm (2.5 in)
Mar 7°C (44°F) 74 mm (2.9 in) 8°C (47°F) 110 mm (4.3 in)
Apr 13°C (55°F) 108 mm (4.2 in) 14°C (58°F) 153 mm (6 in)
May 18°C (64°F) 139 mm (5.5 in) 19°C (67°F) 154 mm (6 in)
Jun 21°C (70°F) 206 mm (8.1 in) 23°C (73°F) 251 mm (9.9 in)
Jul 25°C (77°F) 171 mm (6.7 in) 27°C (81°F) 236 mm (9.3 in)
Aug 27°C (80°F) 195 mm (7.7 in) 29°C (83°F) 146 mm (5.7 in)
Sep 22°C (72°F) 201 mm (7.9 in) 24°C (75°F) 196 mm (7.7 in)
Oct 16°C (61°F) 117 mm (4.6 in) 18°C (64°F) 111 mm (4.4 in)
Nov 10°C (50°F) 62 mm (2.4 in) 12°C (54°F) 68 mm (2.7 in)
Dec 5°C (41°F) 32 mm (1.2 in) 7°C (45°F) 40 mm (1.6 in)


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Nikko vs. Kyoto Travel Comparison

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