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

Should you visit Nikko or Nagoya?

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 Nagoya 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 tranquil, relaxing, and peaceful town. With amazing attractions and sights, it's also a fun small town not to be missed. It's considered by many to be an absolutely beautiful destination, too. It's also popular because of the hiking, shopping, and museums.

Nagoya

Nagoya is a under-the-radar, under-rated, and often overlooked city. It's a large city with plenty of activites for visitors as well. Other reasons to visit include museums, nightlife, and food.

Nikko and Nagoya: 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
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Big city activities
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with couples


Is there more to do in Nikko or Nagoya?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Nagoya than Nikko, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Nagoya is better known for its food, nightlife, shopping, and big city activities, while Nikko is more popular for its museums, historical sights, hiking, small town charm, and impressive beauty. Nikko is more touristy than Nagoya and is known for its Shinto and Buddhist mountain temples, its tranquil hot spring baths, and its peaceful natural setting. Nagoya is well known for its local cuisine, historic shrines, and long running shipping industry. Also, Nagoya is famous for the Nagoya Castle.

How is Nikko different from Nagoya?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Nikko
Nagoya

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

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.

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 Nikko or Nagoya? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Nikko
Nagoya

Nagoya is a must-visit destination for its local flavors and cuisine. Also, Nikko is not as popular, but is still a nice town for its local cuisine and restaurants.

Many restaurants in Nagoya have been singled out for their culinary prowess. 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.

Eating is part of the travel experience when you visit Nikko. 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.

Is Nikko or Nagoya Better for Nightlife?

Nikko
Nagoya

Nagoya is great for nightlife. However, Nikko is not a good destination for nightlife and partying.

Many people head to Nagoya for the nightlife scene. 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.

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 Nagoya Better for its Old Town?

Nikko
Nagoya

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

Nikko has a world-famous historical area. 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.

Nagoya does not have a historic old town.


Is Nikko or Nagoya Better for Hiking?

Nikko
Nagoya

Nikko 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 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.

Nagoya is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Nikko or Nagoya?

Nikko
Nagoya

Nagoya 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 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.

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

Is Nikko or Nagoya Better for Families?

Nikko
Nagoya

Nagoya is a must-visit destination for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Nikko is not as popular, but is still a nice town for its family-friendly activities.

Nagoya is an extremely popular city to visit for families. 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.

Nikko is a very kid-friendly town. 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.


Is Nikko or Nagoya Better for Couples?

Nikko
Nagoya

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

Nikko makes for a terrific place to visit as a couple. 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.

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 Nikko or Nagoya Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Nikko
Nagoya

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

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

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 Nikko or Nagoya Better for Students?

Nikko
Nagoya

Nagoya is a city with good options for its student-friendly activities. However, Nikko is not popular with students.

It's common for students to visit Nagoya. Nagoya University has been working to grow its international population. This is a fun and dynamic city that makes a great place to study.

Nikko is not popular with students.


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

Nikko
Nagoya

Nikko and Nagoya both offer excellent public transit to get you around.

Visitors to Nikko can move around easily with public transportation. There are buses that run from the main train station to the many tourist sights in the area.

The public transit in Nagoya can get you around easily. 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 Nikko or Nagoya a more walkable city?

Nikko
Nagoya

Nikko and Nagoya are excellent 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.

Nagoya is a very walkable town. 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 Nikko Worth Visiting? and Is Nagoya Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Nagoya or Nikko?

How long in Nikko or Nagoya?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Nikko and Nagoya. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Nikko than in Nagoya. Usually, 1-4 days is a good amount of time for Nikko, and 2-3 days is enough time in Nagoya.

Families should spend more time in Nagoya than Nikko. 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 Nikko than Nagoya. 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 Nagoya 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 Nagoya? Ideal Length of Stay
    Nikko 1-4 
    Nagoya 2-3

One day in Nikko or Nagoya?

Nikko might be a small town, but there's plenty to do in the area. Hikers are also drawn to this area. One day is often enough time to do most activities.

Each neighborhood in Nagoya has its own distinct appeal, so there are pleny of areas to explore. Lots of people come for the food. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it.


A weekend in Nikko or Nagoya?

Nikko is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. Don't miss the museums, as that's what most people do. With all of its activities, you can easily fill a weekend here. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

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

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Nikko. Don't miss the museums, as that's what most people do. 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.

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

A week in Nikko or Nagoya?

Nikko is a small town, so it's a great destination if you're short on time. This town 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.

You'll find food and shopping around the often overlooked big city of Nagoya. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. Lots of people come for the food. 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, Nagoya or Nikko?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Nikko is $80, while the average daily cost in Nagoya 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 Nagoya in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Nikko $45
    Nagoya $45
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Nikko $90
    Nagoya $90
Compare Hotels in Nikko and Nagoya

Looking for a hotel in Nikko 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 Nikko


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: Nikko Hotel Prices and Nagoya Hotel Prices.

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

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: $616
  • Kinugawa Osen to Tokyo Narita Airport Private Departure Transfer: $263
  • Kinugawa Osen to Tokyo Haneda Airport Departure Private Transfer: $263
  • Haneda Airport to/from Nikko City Private Transfer: $616

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Nagoya

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

  • Chubu Airport (NGO): Private Transfer to/from Naign Shrine: $769
  • Chubu Airport (NGO) to/from Kyoto Private Transfer: $444
  • Private Transfer between Chubu Centrair Int'l Airport and Nagoya: $279
  • Private One-Way Transfers to/from Suzuka Circuit: $276
  • Private Transfer from Nagoya Airport (NKM) to Toyama Cruise Port: $240
  • Chubu Itn Airport to/from Nagoya City private transfer: $197
  • Nagoya airport to/from LEGOLAND Private transfer: $188
  • Private Transfer from Nagoya Airport NKM to Shimizu Cruise Port: $180
  • Private Transfer from Nagoya Int Airport (ITM) to Shimizu Port: $164
  • Chubu Airport (NGO) to/from Nagoya Private Transfer: $158
  • Private Transfer from Nagoya City Hotels to Kanazawa Cruise Port: $144
  • LEGOLAND Japan Resort Ticket with Private Transfer: $109

Is it cheaper to fly into Nikko or Nagoya?

Prices for flights to both Nagoya 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 $30
    Nagoya $27

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Nagoya

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

  • Grandma’s Traditional Cooking Class: $66
  • Grandma’s Home Cooking Cute Bento Workshop: $66
  • Grandma’s Nagoya Specialties Cooking Class: $66
  • Market Tour and Authentic Nagoya Cuisine Cooking Class With a Local in Her Home: $92
  • Specialties of Nagoya Food Tour: $123

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Nikko $21
    Nagoya $13

Tours and Activities in Nikko

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

  • 1 Day Nikko Sightseeing Budget Trip with English Guide: $118
  • Full-Day Private Nikko Tour with English Speaking Driver: $604
  • Local JDM Drift Car Riding Experience Daikoku Tsukuba Ebisu: $285
  • Nikko Custom Full Day Tour: $227
  • Nikko Custom Half Day Tour: $143
  • Nikko Full-Day Private Tour with Government-Licensed Guide: $136
  • Nikko Private Full-Day Sightseeing Day Tour: $476
  • Nikko Private Half day Tour: English Speaking Driver, No Guide: $300
  • Nikko Sightseeing Day Trip with English Speaking Guide: $423
  • Nikko Toshogu, Lake Chuzenjiko & Kegon Waterfall 1 Day Tour: $543
  • Nikko self-guided tour app with multi-language audioguide: $4.28
  • Private Sightseeing Tour with English-Speaking …: $486

Tours and Activities in Nagoya

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

  • 1 Day Private Tour in Nagoya Hotspots Using Local Bus: $208
  • Authentic Samurai Experience: Discover Japanese Sword-smith Town: $227
  • Autumn Leaves Private Tour in Nagoya: $161
  • Day Tour with Ghibli Park Admission Ticket Round Trip from Nagoya: $175
  • Experience Japanese calligraphy & tea ceremony at a traditional house in Nagoya: $110
  • Explore Holy Mt Horaiji Private Tour: $208
  • Explore Your Ultimate PRIVATE One-Day Adventure: $1,017
  • From Gujo, Hida Takayama, and Shirakawa-go Day Tour: $60
  • From Shirakawa-go Bus Ticket with Hida Beef Lunch: $49
  • Full-Day Kisoji Nakasendo Trail Tour from Nagoya: $227
  • Full-Day Small-Group Tour in Ise Jingu: $227
  • Ghibli Park Ticket and Accommodation 2 Days Package (No Guide): $180

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Nikko $15
    Nagoya $12

Sample the Local Flavors in Nagoya

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Nagoya:

  • The Nagoya Restaurant and Bar Crawl: $30
  • Pub Crawl in Nagoya: $39


When comparing the travel costs between Nikko 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 Nikko Expensive? and Is Nagoya Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Nikko or Nagoya?

Nagoya has a larger population, and is about 140 times larger than the population of Nikko. When comparing the sizes of Nikko 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 Nikko or Nagoya?

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 Nagoya in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Nikko and Nagoya. Many travelers come to Nikko for the hiking, the small town charm, and the family-friendly experiences. Furthermore, many visitors come to Nagoya in the summer for the city activities and the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Nikko is generally around the same temperature as Nagoya. Daily temperatures in Nikko average around 25°C (77°F), and Nagoya fluctuates around 27°C (80°F).

Nikko usually receives less sunshine than Nagoya during summer. Nikko gets 136 hours of sunny skies, while Nagoya receives 170 hours of full sun in the summer.

Nagoya 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 Nagoya. Nikko gets 171 mm (6.7 in) of rain, while Nagoya receives 213 mm (8.4 in) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Nikko 25°C (77°F) 
    Nagoya 27°C (80°F)

Should I visit Nikko or Nagoya in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Nikko as well as Nagoya. Many visitors come to Nikko in the autumn for the hiking trails, the shopping scene, the small town atmosphere, and the natural beauty of the area. Additionally, most visitors come to Nagoya for the city's sights and attractions and the shopping scene during these months.

Nikko is cooler than Nagoya in the autumn. The daily temperature in Nikko averages around 16°C (61°F) in October, and Nagoya fluctuates around 18°C (64°F).

In the autumn, Nikko often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Nagoya. Nikko gets 167 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Nagoya receives 176 hours of full sun.

It's quite rainy in Nagoya. Nikko receives a lot of rain in the autumn. Nikko usually gets around the same amount of rain in October as Nagoya. Nikko gets 117 mm (4.6 in) of rain, while Nagoya receives 114 mm (4.5 in) of rain this time of the year.


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

Should I visit Nikko or Nagoya in the Winter?

Both Nagoya and Nikko are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. Most visitors come to Nikko for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months. Also, the winter months attract visitors to Nagoya because of the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

The weather in Nagoya can be very cold. Nikko can be very cold during winter. In the winter, Nikko is much colder than Nagoya. Typically, the winter temperatures in Nikko in January average around 3°C (37°F), and Nagoya averages at about 4°C (40°F).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Nikko. Nikko usually receives more sunshine than Nagoya during winter. Nikko gets 212 hours of sunny skies, while Nagoya receives 180 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Nikko usually receives less rain than Nagoya. Nikko gets 26 mm (1 in) of rain, while Nagoya receives 42 mm (1.7 in) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Nikko 3°C (37°F) 
    Nagoya 4°C (40°F)

Should I visit Nikko or Nagoya in the Spring?

Both Nagoya and Nikko during the spring are popular places to visit. The spring months attract visitors to Nikko because of the small town charm and the natural beauty. Also, the activities around the city are the main draw to Nagoya this time of year.

In April, Nikko is generally cooler than Nagoya. Daily temperatures in Nikko average around 13°C (55°F), and Nagoya fluctuates around 14°C (58°F).

In the spring, Nikko often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Nagoya. Nikko gets 191 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Nagoya receives 189 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 Nikko. Nikko usually gets less rain in April than Nagoya. Nikko gets 108 mm (4.2 in) of rain, while Nagoya receives 152 mm (6 in) of rain this time of the year.


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

Typical Weather for Nagoya and Nikko

Nikko Nagoya
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 3°C (37°F) 26 mm (1 in) 4°C (40°F) 42 mm (1.7 in)
Feb 3°C (38°F) 44 mm (1.7 in) 5°C (41°F) 65 mm (2.6 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) 152 mm (6 in)
May 18°C (64°F) 139 mm (5.5 in) 19°C (66°F) 157 mm (6.2 in)
Jun 21°C (70°F) 206 mm (8.1 in) 23°C (73°F) 213 mm (8.4 in)
Jul 25°C (77°F) 171 mm (6.7 in) 27°C (80°F) 213 mm (8.4 in)
Aug 27°C (80°F) 195 mm (7.7 in) 28°C (83°F) 145 mm (5.7 in)
Sep 22°C (72°F) 201 mm (7.9 in) 24°C (75°F) 204 mm (8 in)
Oct 16°C (61°F) 117 mm (4.6 in) 18°C (64°F) 114 mm (4.5 in)
Nov 10°C (50°F) 62 mm (2.4 in) 12°C (54°F) 71 mm (2.8 in)
Dec 5°C (41°F) 32 mm (1.2 in) 7°C (45°F) 41 mm (1.6 in)