A Travel Price Comparison for Japan Okinawa vs. Mashiko for Hiking, Families, Couples, and Attractions

Should you visit Okinawa or Mashiko?

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

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Okinawa and Mashiko. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Okinawa

Okinawa is a idyllic, tropical, and lush archipelago. Many visitors also come because of it's amazing beauty. It's also popular because of the food, scuba diving and snorkeling, and beaches.

Mashiko

Mashiko is a quaint, charming, and traditional town. This is a great small town that is just waiting to be explored. As this is a very quaint destination, you'll find it has a special atmosphere. Other popular activities here include food, hiking, and shopping.

Okinawa and Mashiko: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Nice resorts
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less walkable
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Very walkable
  • Small town charm
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less hiking options
  • Less popular with backpackers


Is there more to do in Okinawa or Mashiko?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Okinawa. Although Okinawa and Mashiko are popular destinations, Okinawa has more sights and attractions for tourists. Okinawa is very popular for its museums, food, nightlife, resorts, scuba diving & snorkeling, beaches, hiking, and impressive beauty, while Mashiko attracts visitors for its shopping, small town charm, and quaint atmosphere. Okinawa is famous for its pristine tropical environment, stunning blue water, and impressive marine life. It is also well known for the Kerama Islands. Mashiko is famous for its local sake, rural farms, and longstanding tradition in pottery making.

How is Okinawa different from Mashiko?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Okinawa or Mashiko?

Okinawa
Mashiko

Okinawa is a great archipelago for its historical sights. Also, Mashiko is not as popular, but is still a nice town for its sights and museums.

With a variety of museums, monuments, and historical sights, a trip to Okinawa can be an interesting and educational experience. Although most visitors come for the natural beauty and beach setting, there are some nice historic sights and museums in the region. Favorites include Shurijo Castle, Futenma Shrine, and Churaumi Aquarium.

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 Okinawa or Mashiko? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Okinawa
Mashiko

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

Okinawa has a number of nationally recognized food spots and restaurants. Food in the region is truly unique, and sometimes a bit bizarre. There's a surprising amount of international influence on the cuisine because the islands are close to China and Taiwan, and there's a large American presence due to the US military. Despite this, the cuisine has its roots in the area's long history. Local dishes include rafute (pork belly in a stew), goya chanpuru (stir fry with melon, pork, and tofu), and umibudo (sea grapes).

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 Okinawa or Mashiko Better for Nightlife?

Okinawa
Mashiko

Okinawa is a great archipelago for its evening party scene. However, Mashiko is not known for nightlife.

The nightlife in Okinawa has something for everybody. The diverse population has impacted the nightlife scene, and you'll see international influences at the bars and clubs in the area. Many locals begin their night out at a izakaya, which is part bar, part restaurant. The cities are also known for their jazz clubs and karaoke scene.

Most people don't head to Mashiko specifically for the nightlife scene, but you can find a few options. There are a couple of bars and pubs around town, but not a huge nightlife scene.

Is Okinawa or Mashiko Better for Resorts?

Okinawa
Mashiko

Okinawa is a great archipelago for its luxury resorts. However, Mashiko is not a resort destination.

Okinawa is a popular resort destination that attracts visitors from everywhere. There are large resorts as well as smaller, elegant hotels. If you want to be near the water, check out the coastal areas of Onna, Miyakojima, and Ishigaki.

Mashiko is not a resort destination.


Is Okinawa or Mashiko Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Okinawa
Mashiko

Okinawa is a world-class destination for snorkeling and scuba diving. However, Mashiko is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

People travel to Okinawa specifically to enjoy its famous scuba diving and snorkeling areas. The waters around Okinawa are filled with a rich biodiversity of corals and tropical fish. You'll also find sea turtles and other larger marine animals. There are also mangrove forests that form the breeding ground for many types of marine life. The snorkeling and diving in the area is world class, and attracts both beginners and experienced divers.

Mashiko is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Is Okinawa or Mashiko Better for Beaches?

Okinawa
Mashiko

Okinawa is a world-class destination for the beach. However, Mashiko is not a beach destination.

The beaches in Okinawa are among the best in the world. The region is filled with white sand beaches and turquoise water. Some of the beaches are accessible and lively while others are more remote and peaceful. Furuzamami Beach is both easy to access but also has a relaxed atmosphere. Nishihama Beach is more remote but well worth the effort and Aharen Beach is a popular day trip by ferry.

Mashiko is not a beach destination.

Is Okinawa or Mashiko Better for Hiking?

Okinawa
Mashiko

Okinawa is a world-class destination for hiking. Also, Mashiko is not as popular, but is still a nice town for the nearby hiking options.

Known for its hiking, Okinawa draws a crowd to experience the nature and the trails. The island's tropical setting provides hikers with lush jungles and unique geology to explore. One of the most popular areas for hiking is Yambaru National Park. In this park you can walk through the mangroves and spot local wildlife. The region also has many off-the-beaten-path hiking opportunities for those looking for an adventure.

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 Okinawa or Mashiko?

Okinawa
Mashiko

Mashiko is a well-known place for its shopping areas. Also, Okinawa is not as famous, but is still a good archipelago to visit for shopping.

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

Plenty of visitors enjoy shopping while in Okinawa. There are a number of shopping streets in the urban areas. You'll also find large outlet malls near the US military base. A favorite shopping street in Naha is Kokusai-dori Shopping Street, which has local shops and souvenir vendors.

Is Okinawa or Mashiko Better for Families?

Okinawa
Mashiko

Okinawa is a world-class destination for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Mashiko is not as popular, but is still a nice town for its family-friendly activities.

Okinawa is an amazing family-friendly archipelago to visit. There are so many kid-friendly activities in the area, that this has long been a favorite family vacation destination. Kids and adults alike will enjoy the snorkeling, beaches, mangroves, boat rides, and adventure activities like ziplining. Kayaking in Yambaru Mangrove Forest is a favorite activity, but also check out the sea turtles at Ikei Island.

Mashiko is a very family-friendly place to visit. 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 Okinawa or Mashiko Better for Couples?

Okinawa
Mashiko

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

Okinawa has so much to offer for a romantic couple's vacation. With its stunning beaches, world class snorkeling, and relaxing resorts, couples and honeymooners will love a trip to these beautiful islands. There's a mix of outdoor adventures and cultural activities that will keep any couple entertained.

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 Okinawa or Mashiko Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Okinawa
Mashiko

Okinawa is a nice place to visit for backpackers and budget travelers. However, Mashiko is not known for backpackers.

It's common for backpackers to visit Okinawa. Despite being one of the most fascinating places in Japan to visit, it can be challenging as a backpacker. There aren't many hostels in the area and transportation can be a bit tricky.

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

Okinawa
Mashiko

Both Okinawa and Mashiko offer nice public transit options.

Okinawa has a few public transit options. Public transit through the area is decent in urban areas but gets more limited outside of the cities. On the main island there are buses, shuttles, and a monorail, but off the main island you'll want your own vehicle.

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

Is Okinawa or Mashiko a more walkable city?

Okinawa
Mashiko

Mashiko is a well-known place for its ease of walking around. However, Okinawa is not a good archipelago for its walkability.

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

Okinawa is generally not a very walkable archipelago. The islands range from developed to remote, so if you want to efficiently explore, it's helpful to have a car or at least a bicycle.


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

Should I spend more time in Mashiko or Okinawa?

How long in Okinawa or Mashiko?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Okinawa or Mashiko to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in Okinawa than Mashiko because of the number of activities and things to do in the area. Usually, 3-7 days is a good amount of time for Okinawa, and 1-2 days is enough time in Mashiko.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Okinawa 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 Okinawa.


  • How many days in Okinawa or Mashiko? Ideal Length of Stay
    Okinawa 3-7 
    Mashiko 1-2

One day in Okinawa or Mashiko?

In Okinawa, you'll find shopping and museums. Travelers enjoy the resorts in the area as well. This archipelago offers something for everyone. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

Mashiko is a small town with plenty to do. 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.

A weekend in Okinawa or Mashiko?

In Okinawa, you'll find museums and nightlife. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. Since there is so much to do in the area, a weekend is probably not enough for all of it.

Mashiko 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. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Mashiko has to offer.

Five days in Okinawa or Mashiko?

Okinawa is a great place to explore. It is common to spend five days here. You can also relax and pamper yourself at one of the resorts. Five days is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Okinawa has to offer. Anyone can find something fun to do here.

Mashiko is a great place to explore. 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.


A week in Okinawa or Mashiko?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Okinawa. In Okinawa, you'll find food and scuba diving and snorkeling. It's also a relaxing resort destination. With all of its activities, you can easily fill one week here.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Mashiko. Since Mashiko is a small town, it's easily explored when your time is limited. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best G Adventures Tours to Japan, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Tokyo, The Best 10-Day Tours from Tokyo, and The Best 2-Week Tours from Tokyo.


Which place is cheaper, Mashiko or Okinawa?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Okinawa is $101, while the average daily cost in Mashiko is $62. 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 Okinawa and Mashiko in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Okinawa $70
    Mashiko $32
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Okinawa $140
    Mashiko $64
Compare Hotels in Okinawa and Mashiko

Looking for a hotel in Okinawa 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 Okinawa


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.


Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Okinawa $9.08
    Mashiko $11

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Okinawa

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Okinawa:

  • Airport Transfer! Center of Naha to Naha Airport (OKA): $125
  • Airport Transfer! Naha Airport (OKA) to Center of Naha: $124
  • Private Transfer from Nakagusuku Cruise Port to Naha City Hotels : $65
  • Private Transfer from Naha City Hotels to Nakagusuku Cruise Port : $65
  • Private Transfer from Naha City Hotels to Nakagusuku Cruise Port : $59

Is it cheaper to fly into Okinawa or Mashiko?

Prices for flights to both Mashiko and Okinawa 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
    Okinawa $22
    Mashiko $22

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Okinawa $13
    Mashiko $8.62

Tours and Activities in Okinawa

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

  • Okinawa Local Experience and Sunset Cycling Tour: $84
  • 2-Hour Private Gorilla Go Kart Experience in Okinawa: $68
  • 4 Person Group Tour Kerama Blue Cycling in Aka Island : $116
  • American Village &Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium Tour from Naha/Chatan: $78
  • Beautiful sunset kayak tour in Okinawa: $36
  • Cycling Experience in the Historic City of Urasoe: $97
  • E-Bike Nature Tour in Shuri: $87
  • Go by E bike Firefly observation night tour in Naha: $74
  • Jungle River Trek: private tour in Yanbaru, north Okinawa: $48
  • Karate History Tour in Okinawa: $104
  • Kayak & Snorkel: private tour in Yanbaru, north Okinawa: $109
  • Kayak Mangroves or Coral Reef: private tour in north Okinawa : $58

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Okinawa $14
    Mashiko $4.99

Sample the Local Flavors in Okinawa

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

  • Naha Local Pub Crawl: $110


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Okinawa and Mashiko, we can see that Okinawa 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 Okinawa would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Okinawa 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 Okinawa Expensive? and Is Mashiko Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Okinawa or Mashiko?

Okinawa has a larger population, and is about 5 times larger than the population of Mashiko. When comparing the sizes of Okinawa 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 Okinawa or Mashiko?

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 Okinawa or Mashiko in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Okinawa as well as Mashiko. Many visitors come to Okinawa in the summer for the beaches, snorkeling, the hiking, and the family-friendly experiences. Additionally, most visitors come to Mashiko for the hiking, the small town charm, and the family-friendly experiences during these months.

Okinawa is a little warmer than Mashiko in the summer. The daily temperature in Okinawa averages around 29°C (84°F) in July, and Mashiko fluctuates around 24°C (75°F).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Okinawa this time of the year. In the summer, Okinawa often gets more sunshine than Mashiko. Okinawa gets 258 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Mashiko receives 130 hours of full sun.

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


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Okinawa 29°C (84°F) 
    Mashiko 24°C (75°F)

Should I visit Okinawa or Mashiko in the Autumn?

Both Mashiko and Okinawa are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. Most visitors come to Okinawa for the hiking trails, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area during these months. Also, the autumn months attract visitors to Mashiko because of the hiking trails, the shopping scene, and the small town atmosphere.

In the autumn, Okinawa is much warmer than Mashiko. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Okinawa in October average around 25°C (77°F), and Mashiko averages at about 16°C (60°F).

Okinawa usually receives more sunshine than Mashiko during autumn. Okinawa gets 174 hours of sunny skies, while Mashiko receives 133 hours of full sun in the autumn.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Mashiko. It's quite rainy in Okinawa. In October, Okinawa usually receives around the same amount of rain as Mashiko. Okinawa gets 152 mm (6 in) of rain, while Mashiko receives 145 mm (5.7 in) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Okinawa 25°C (77°F) 
    Mashiko 16°C (60°F)

Should I visit Okinawa or Mashiko in the Winter?

Both Mashiko and Okinawa during the winter are popular places to visit. The winter months attract visitors to Okinawa because of the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Also, the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Mashiko this time of year.

It's quite cold in Mashiko in the winter. In January, Okinawa is generally much warmer than Mashiko. Daily temperatures in Okinawa average around 16°C (61°F), and Mashiko fluctuates around 3°C (38°F).

In the winter, Okinawa often gets less sunshine than Mashiko. Okinawa gets 96 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Mashiko receives 181 hours of full sun.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Okinawa. Okinawa usually gets more rain in January than Mashiko. Okinawa gets 125 mm (4.9 in) of rain, while Mashiko receives 44 mm (1.7 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Okinawa 16°C (61°F) 
    Mashiko 3°C (38°F)

Should I visit Okinawa or Mashiko in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Okinawa and Mashiko. The beaches and the natural beauty are the main draw to Okinawa this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Mashiko for the small town charm.

Okinawa is much warmer than Mashiko in the spring. The daily temperature in Okinawa averages around 22°C (71°F) in April, and Mashiko fluctuates around 12°C (53°F).

Okinawa usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Mashiko during spring. Okinawa gets 149 hours of sunny skies, while Mashiko receives 160 hours of full sun in the spring.

Mashiko receives a lot of rain in the spring. Okinawa gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In April, Okinawa usually receives more rain than Mashiko. Okinawa gets 164 mm (6.5 in) of rain, while Mashiko receives 118 mm (4.6 in) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Okinawa 22°C (71°F) 
    Mashiko 12°C (53°F)

Typical Weather for Mashiko and Okinawa

Okinawa Mashiko
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 16°C (61°F) 125 mm (4.9 in) 3°C (38°F) 44 mm (1.7 in)
Feb 17°C (62°F) 107 mm (4.2 in) 4°C (38°F) 61 mm (2.4 in)
Mar 18°C (65°F) 156 mm (6.1 in) 6°C (44°F) 95 mm (3.7 in)
Apr 22°C (71°F) 164 mm (6.5 in) 12°C (53°F) 118 mm (4.6 in)
May 24°C (76°F) 254 mm (10 in) 17°C (62°F) 139 mm (5.5 in)
Jun 27°C (80°F) 255 mm (10 in) 20°C (68°F) 175 mm (6.9 in)
Jul 29°C (84°F) 171 mm (6.7 in) 24°C (75°F) 117 mm (4.6 in)
Aug 28°C (83°F) 266 mm (10.5 in) 26°C (78°F) 135 mm (5.3 in)
Sep 28°C (82°F) 161 mm (6.3 in) 22°C (71°F) 163 mm (6.4 in)
Oct 25°C (77°F) 152 mm (6 in) 16°C (60°F) 145 mm (5.7 in)
Nov 22°C (71°F) 117 mm (4.6 in) 11°C (51°F) 78 mm (3.1 in)
Dec 18°C (65°F) 116 mm (4.6 in) 6°C (42°F) 40 mm (1.6 in)