A Travel Price Comparison for Japan Nikko vs. Mashiko for Attractions, Couples, Food, and Hiking

Should you visit Nikko or Mashiko?

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 Mashiko 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 relaxing, peaceful, and natural town. With amazing attractions and sights, it's also a fun small town not to be missed. Many visitors also come because of it's amazing beauty. It's also popular because of the museums, food, and hiking.

Mashiko

Mashiko is a rural, quaint, and charming town. With plenty of activities and sights, this is a small town worth visiting. This is a quaint and attractive place to visit, too. Other reasons to visit include museums, food, and hiking.

Nikko and Mashiko: 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
Pros
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Small town charm
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Less popular with backpackers


Is there more to do in Nikko or Mashiko?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Nikko than Mashiko, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Nikko is better known for its museums, food, historical sights, hiking, small town charm, and impressive beauty, while Mashiko is more popular for its nightlife, shopping, and quaint atmosphere. Nikko is well known for its Shinto and Buddhist mountain temples, its tranquil hot spring baths, and its peaceful natural setting. Also, Nikko is famous for the Toshogu Shrine. Mashiko is well known for its local sake, rural farms, and longstanding tradition in pottery making.

How is Nikko different from Mashiko?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Nikko
Mashiko

Nikko is a world-class destination for its historical sights. Also, Mashiko is not as popular, but is still a nice town for its sights and museums.

With plenty of landmarks, attractions, and museums, Nikko has many famous sights for visitors. 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.

Mashiko is a good place to visit if you're interested in museums or other recognizable sights. There are a couple of museums around town that are focused on the local activities such as pottery. You can check out the Shoji Hamada Memorial Mashiko Sankokan Museum, the Mashiko Museum of Ceramic Art, and the Entsuji Temple.


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

Nikko
Mashiko

Nikko is a great town for its local flavors and cuisine. Also, Mashiko is not as popular, but is still a nice town for its local cuisine and restaurants.

Nikko has a number of nationally recognized food spots and 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.

Mashiko offers number of good local restaurants to choose from. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants around town that serve udon, soba, and other Japanese favorites that use local ingredients.

Is Nikko or Mashiko Better for Nightlife?

Nikko
Mashiko

Mashiko is adequate for nightlife. However, Nikko is not a good destination for nightlife and partying.

Mashiko doesn't have the most active nightlife scene. There are a couple of bars and pubs around town, but not a huge nightlife scene.

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 Mashiko Better for its Old Town?

Nikko
Mashiko

Nikko is a world-class destination for its historic old town charm. However, Mashiko does not have a historic old town.

The historic old town of Nikko is revered around 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.

Mashiko does not have a historic old town.


Is Nikko or Mashiko Better for Hiking?

Nikko
Mashiko

Nikko is a great town for hiking. Also, Mashiko is not as popular, but is still a nice town for the nearby hiking options.

Many visitors go to Nikko for the hiking trails. 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.

Plenty of visitors go hiking around Mashiko. There are three mountains in the area with hiking trails that let you experience the Japanese countryside and natural beauty. These mountains are Mt. Amamakisan, Mt.Mitsudoyasan, and Mt. Takadateyama.

Is the Shopping Better in Nikko or Mashiko?

Nikko
Mashiko

Mashiko is great for shopping. Also, Nikko is not as popular, but is still a nice town for its shopping opportunities.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Mashiko. Local pottery is the main purchase in town, and there are many shops and local vendors who sell locally made pottery.

Nikko offers some nice shopping areas. There are places in town where you can pick up local handicrafts and traditional items.

Is Nikko or Mashiko Better for Families?

Nikko
Mashiko

Both Nikko and Mashiko are high quality to visit with kids.

Nikko is a very family-friendly destination. 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.

Mashiko is a very kid-friendly town. Pottery is the claim to fame in this small town, and kids will thoroughly enjoy taking a children's pottery class. Its the perfect way to immerse them in the local culture in a fun and hands-on way. Farm life, and fruit picking are also popular here.


Is Nikko or Mashiko Better for Couples?

Nikko
Mashiko

Nikko is a world-class destination for couples. Also, Mashiko is not as popular, but is still a nice town for romance.

Nikko has so much to offer for a romantic couple's vacation. 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.

Mashiko is a very popular place to visit for couples. It's a charming town with local farms, pottery, and sake. Many couples enjoy spending a few days soaking up the local atmosphere and enjoying the simple pleasures.

Is Nikko or Mashiko Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Nikko
Mashiko

Nikko is a great town for backpackers and budget travelers. However, Mashiko is not known for backpackers.

Plenty of budget travelers and backpackers visit Nikko. There are hostels in the area that combine affordability with traditional Japanese customs.

Mashiko is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. Most backpackers don't venture to this community, but its seeped in quaint culture and small town atmosphere.

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

Nikko
Mashiko

Nikko is a great town for times when you don't have a car. Also, Mashiko is not as popular, but is still a nice town for its public transit.

Many visitors use the public transit system in Nikko. There are buses that run from the main train station to the many tourist sights in the area.

Mashiko has a few public transit options. There are local trains that stop by the strawberry picking farms. There are also local buses in the area.


Is Nikko or Mashiko a more walkable city?

Nikko
Mashiko

Nikko and Mashiko are high quality when it comes to walkability.

Nikko is very walkable. 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.

Mashiko is a very walkable town. Many people choose to walk around town and the pottery area is about a 20 minute walk from Mashiko Station.

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

Should I spend more time in Mashiko or Nikko?

How long in Nikko or Mashiko?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Nikko or Mashiko to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in Nikko than Mashiko 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 Mashiko.

Families should spend more time in Nikko than Mashiko. 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 Mashiko. 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 Mashiko 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 Mashiko? Ideal Length of Stay
    Nikko 1-4 
    Mashiko 1-2

One day in Nikko or Mashiko?

Nikko is a small town with plenty to do. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. One reason most visitors come is for the museums. This town offers something for everyone. This would be the perfect place to spend one day, as it has just the right amount of activities.

In Mashiko, many people enjoy the food and shopping that this traditional small town 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 Mashiko?

Nikko might be a small town, but there's plenty to do in the area. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. A weekend here is typical. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. One reason most visitors come is for the museums. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Nikko has to offer.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Mashiko. 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 Mashiko?

Nikko is a great place to explore. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. Anyone can find something fun to do here.

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

A week in Nikko or Mashiko?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Nikko. Since Nikko is a small town, it's easily explored when your time is limited. One reason most visitors come is for the museums. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.

You'll find food and shopping around the rural small town of Mashiko. 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, Mashiko or Nikko?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Nikko is $83, while the average daily cost in Mashiko is $65. 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 Mashiko in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Nikko $47
    Mashiko $33
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Nikko $94
    Mashiko $66
Compare Hotels in Nikko and Mashiko

Looking for a hotel in Nikko or Mashiko? 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 Mashiko


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.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Nikko -
    Mashiko $11

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Nikko

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

  • Haneda Airport to/from Nikko City Private Transfer: $640
  • Narita Airport to/from Nikko City Private Transfer: $640
  • Kinugawa Osen to Tokyo Narita Airport Private Departure Transfer: $266
  • Kinugawa Osen to Tokyo Haneda Airport Departure Private Transfer: $266

Is it cheaper to fly into Nikko or Mashiko?

Prices for flights to both Mashiko 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
    Mashiko $23

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Nikko $22
    Mashiko $8.96

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: $528
  • Full-Day Private Nikko Tour with English Speaking Driver: $627
  • Nikko Custom Full Day Tour: $236
  • Nikko Custom Half Day Tour: $148
  • Nikko Full-Day Private Tour with Government-Licensed Guide: $142
  • Nikko Private Full-Day Sightseeing Day Tour: $495
  • Nikko Toshogu, Lake Chuzenjiko & Kegon Waterfall 1 Day Tour: $627
  • Nikko self-guided tour app with multi-language audioguide: $4.33
  • One day Nikko Sightseeing private tour: $445
  • Visit the Unexplored Regions of Lake Chuzenji--Scenic Trekking and Rafting Tour: $79
  • World Heritage Nikko Walking Tour - Toshogu Shrine, Kanmangafuchi: $61

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Nikko $15
    Mashiko $5.19


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Nikko and Mashiko, we can see that Nikko is more expensive. And not only is Mashiko much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Mashiko would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Mashiko 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 Nikko would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Nikko than you might in Mashiko.

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


Which is Bigger, Nikko or Mashiko?

Mashiko has a larger population, and is about 62% larger than the population of Nikko. When comparing the sizes of Nikko and Mashiko, 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 Mashiko?

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 Mashiko in the Summer?

Both Mashiko and Nikko are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities. Most visitors come to Nikko for the hiking, the small town charm, and the family-friendly experiences during these months. Also, the summer months attract visitors to Mashiko because of the hiking, the small town charm, and the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Nikko is generally around the same temperature as Mashiko. Daily temperatures in Nikko average around 25°C (77°F), and Mashiko fluctuates around 24°C (75°F).

Nikko usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Mashiko during summer. Nikko gets 136 hours of sunny skies, while Mashiko receives 130 hours of full sun in the summer.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Mashiko. It's quite rainy in Nikko. In July, Nikko usually receives more rain than Mashiko. Nikko gets 171 mm (6.7 in) of rain, while Mashiko receives 117 mm (4.6 in) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Nikko 25°C (77°F) 
    Mashiko 24°C (75°F)

Should I visit Nikko or Mashiko in the Autumn?

Both Mashiko and Nikko during the autumn are popular places to visit. The autumn months attract visitors to Nikko because of the hiking trails, the shopping scene, the small town atmosphere, and the natural beauty of the area. Furthermore, the hiking trails, the shopping scene, and the small town atmosphere are the main draw to Mashiko this time of year.

Nikko is around the same temperature as Mashiko in the autumn. The daily temperature in Nikko averages around 16°C (61°F) in October, and Mashiko fluctuates around 16°C (60°F).

In the autumn, Nikko often gets more sunshine than Mashiko. Nikko gets 167 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Mashiko receives 133 hours of full sun.

Mashiko 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 October than Mashiko. Nikko gets 117 mm (4.6 in) of rain, while Mashiko receives 145 mm (5.7 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Nikko 16°C (61°F) 
    Mashiko 16°C (60°F)

Should I visit Nikko or Mashiko in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Nikko and Mashiko. The museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Nikko this time of year. Furthermore, many travelers come to Mashiko for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

Be prepared for some very cold days in Mashiko. It's quite cold in Nikko in the winter. In the winter, Nikko is cooler than Mashiko. Typically, the winter temperatures in Nikko in January average around 3°C (37°F), and Mashiko averages at about 3°C (38°F).

In Nikko, it's very sunny this time of the year. Nikko usually receives more sunshine than Mashiko during winter. Nikko gets 212 hours of sunny skies, while Mashiko receives 181 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Nikko usually receives less rain than Mashiko. Nikko gets 26 mm (1 in) of rain, while Mashiko receives 44 mm (1.7 in) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Nikko 3°C (37°F) 
    Mashiko 3°C (38°F)

Should I visit Nikko or Mashiko in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Nikko as well as Mashiko. Many travelers come to Nikko for the small town charm and the natural beauty. Additionally, many visitors come to Mashiko in the spring for the small town charm.

In April, Nikko is generally around the same temperature as Mashiko. Daily temperatures in Nikko average around 13°C (55°F), and Mashiko fluctuates around 12°C (53°F).

In the spring, Nikko often gets more sunshine than Mashiko. Nikko gets 191 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Mashiko receives 160 hours of full sun.

It's quite rainy in Mashiko. Nikko receives a lot of rain in the spring. Nikko usually gets less rain in April than Mashiko. Nikko gets 108 mm (4.2 in) of rain, while Mashiko receives 118 mm (4.6 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Nikko 13°C (55°F) 
    Mashiko 12°C (53°F)

Typical Weather for Mashiko and Nikko

Nikko Mashiko
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 3°C (37°F) 26 mm (1 in) 3°C (38°F) 44 mm (1.7 in)
Feb 3°C (38°F) 44 mm (1.7 in) 4°C (38°F) 61 mm (2.4 in)
Mar 7°C (44°F) 74 mm (2.9 in) 6°C (44°F) 95 mm (3.7 in)
Apr 13°C (55°F) 108 mm (4.2 in) 12°C (53°F) 118 mm (4.6 in)
May 18°C (64°F) 139 mm (5.5 in) 17°C (62°F) 139 mm (5.5 in)
Jun 21°C (70°F) 206 mm (8.1 in) 20°C (68°F) 175 mm (6.9 in)
Jul 25°C (77°F) 171 mm (6.7 in) 24°C (75°F) 117 mm (4.6 in)
Aug 27°C (80°F) 195 mm (7.7 in) 26°C (78°F) 135 mm (5.3 in)
Sep 22°C (72°F) 201 mm (7.9 in) 22°C (71°F) 163 mm (6.4 in)
Oct 16°C (61°F) 117 mm (4.6 in) 16°C (60°F) 145 mm (5.7 in)
Nov 10°C (50°F) 62 mm (2.4 in) 11°C (51°F) 78 mm (3.1 in)
Dec 5°C (41°F) 32 mm (1.2 in) 6°C (42°F) 40 mm (1.6 in)


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