A Travel Price Comparison for Japan Osaka vs. Ise for Attractions, Food, Nightlife, and Families

Should you visit Osaka or Ise?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Osaka or Ise, this travel comparison, which includes costs, can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison down below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

Osaka

Osaka is a vibrant, cultural, and high energy city. Travelers will also find plenty of sights and attractions here, as it's a big city that attracts lots of visitors. And you can't forget about the shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Ise

Ise is a authentic, off-the-beaten-path, and overlooked city. It's also popular because of the beaches, shopping, and museums.

Osaka and Ise: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Scenic old town
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Good public transit
  • Big city activities
Pros
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less popular for shopping
  • Public transit not as usable


Is there more to do in Osaka or Ise?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Osaka than Ise, as it is bigger with more sights, attractions, and activities for visitors. Osaka is more popular for its museums, food, nightlife, historical sights, shopping, and big city activities, while Ise is known for its beaches. Osaka is more touristy than Ise and is popular for its diverse street food, eclectic shopping and its economic roots as a port city. It is also home to Osaka Castle. Ise is popular for its important Shinto shrines and its coastal setting.

How is Osaka different from Ise?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Osaka or Ise?

Osaka
Ise

Osaka is a must-visit destination for its museums and landmarks. Also, Ise is still popular, but not quite as popular for its historical sights.

The museums, monuments, and landmarks in Osaka are among the most recognizable in the world. The city is filled with impressive sights that are both old and new. A highlight is a visit to Osaka Castle, which dates back to the 1500s. The city's most well known temple is Shitennō-ji Temple and the Kobe Port Tower is another recognizable sight. Other highlights include the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, the Tempozan Ferris Wheel, and the National Museum of Art.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Ise. While this is an often overlooked part of Japan for tourists, those who venture here will enjoy strolling through the forest and visiting the shrine complex of Ise Jingu.


Is the Food Better in Osaka or Ise? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Osaka
Ise

Osaka is a must-visit destination for its restaurant scene. Also, Ise is still popular, but not quite as popular for its local flavors and cuisine.

Many restaurants in Osaka have been singled out for their culinary prowess. It's one of the top culinary cities in Japan, and you'll find both local and regional dishes throughout. Street food is famous here, but there are also award winning restaurants and small traditional venues. Sushi and sashimi is a favorite, and it's focused simple and high quality ingredients. You'll find some great sushi restaurants around Kuromon Ichiba Market. Another unique experience is to visit a conveyor belt sushi restaurant. Land lovers should try the Yakiniku and Horumon, which is Japanese barbecue. And, of course, there's the ramen. Don't miss the ramen!

Ise has a number of nationally recognized food spots and restaurants. You'll find some of Japan's best seafood around town and there are many local delicacies. Head to the downtown area around Iseshi Station to find a high concentration of places. One local specialty is the Japanese spiny lobster (also known as the Ise lobster).

Is Osaka or Ise Better for Nightlife?

Osaka
Ise

Osaka is a must-visit destination for nightlife and partying. However, Ise is not particularly known for its evening party scene.

Osaka is a world class party destination. The city really comes to life after the sun sets. The buildings light up and the energy is palpable. In addition to the many world class restaurants, there are countless bars, pubs and izakaya, which are Japanese-style bars. Beer is popular, with many internationally recognized brands available. The most popular nightlife area is Dotonbori, which is along the Dotonbori River.

Ise doesn't have the most active nightlife scene. Most visitors don't stay long enough to take in the nightlife, which is limited.

Is Osaka or Ise Better for Beaches?

Osaka
Ise

Ise is a nice place to visit for the beach. However, Osaka is not a beach destination.

Ise has a beach worth visiting. There are several nice and sandy beaches in the area that make for a nice break from the sightseeing.

Osaka is not a beach destination.


Is Osaka or Ise Better for its Old Town?

Osaka
Ise

Osaka is well known for its old town. However, Ise does not have a historic old town.

Osaka is an extremely popular place to visit the historic old town area. If you want to step back in time, head to Shinsekai, which holds tight to its traditional street life scene. There are old-school arcades, traditional shops, and local street food to sample.

Ise does not have a historic old town.

Is the Shopping Better in Osaka or Ise?

Osaka
Ise

Osaka is a must-visit destination for its shopping opportunities. Also, Ise is still popular, but not quite as popular for its shopping areas.

The abundance of shops in Osaka make it a world-class shopping destination. There is everything from grand shopping malls to specialty boutique shops that sell antiques or local trinkets. Umeda Shopping Arcade is a large mall that has everything. For international brands, head to America Mura, which is where many of the younger Japanese hang out. Shinsaibashi-Suji Street is a favorite shopping street in the city and also not-to-be-missed.

Ise has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. There's a shopping street in town with many of the shops housed in traditional buildings, giving the area a nice character.

Is Osaka or Ise Better for Families?

Osaka
Ise

Osaka is well known for its family-friendly activities. Also, Ise is still popular, but not quite as popular for its kid-friendly activities.

Osaka is a very kid-friendly city. Kids will enjoy the view from the observatory of the Umeda Sky Building or taking a ride on the HEP Five Ferris Wheel. There is also the Kids Plaza Osaka as well as arcades along Tenjinbashi suji Shopping Street. A highlight of a trip to the city is a visit to the Osaka Castle and museum lovers will also appreciate visiting the Osaka Science Museum or the Osaka Museum of Housing and Living.

Ise offers lots of family activities. The Ise Jingu Shrine complex is large and sprawling, and has the feel of a park. The kids will likely find visiting all of the temples tedious, but the forest is peaceful and the setting is beautiful.


Is Osaka or Ise Better for Couples?

Osaka
Ise

Osaka is well known for its romantic activities. Also, Ise is still popular, but not quite as popular for couples.

Couples visit Osaka frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. The city's atmosphere is filled with an energy that couples will enjoy. You can take a walk along the Tombori Riverwalk. For a touch of nature, head to Minoh Park and check out Minoh Falls, or for a relaxing experience, visit the hot springs at Solaniwa Onsen. Other fun activities include taking a ride on the Hep Five Ferris wheel or sampling the city's famous street food.

Ise is a good city for couples to visit. This is an off-the-beaten path destination that is far more than a shrine - it's a complex of shrines. It's spread out over a large space and filled with forest and peaceful walks that couples will enjoy.

Is Osaka or Ise Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Osaka
Ise

Osaka is well known for backpackers. Also, Ise is still popular, but not quite as popular for backpackers and budget travelers.

Osaka is a great city to visit for backpackers. There are plenty of hostels around town and street food is an affordable and fun way to enjoy the city's culinary scene.

Plenty of backpackers visit Ise. It's off the radar for many backpackers, but those that make it here will find a couple of hostels and affordable accommodation options.

Is Osaka or Ise Better for Students?

Osaka
Ise

Osaka is well known for students. However, Ise is not popular with students.

Students come from all over to stay in Osaka. There's a colorful energy and a lively atmosphere that appeals to students. The city is also the second largest economic center in the country.

Ise is not popular with students.


Is Osaka or Ise Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Osaka
Ise

Osaka is a must-visit destination for its public transit. Also, Ise is still popular, but not quite as popular for times when you don't have a car.

Osaka has a world-class public transit network to take passengers everywhere in the city. The best way to get around town is by subway or train. The main tourist areas are located along the Midosuji subway line, which runs north to south.

While Ise offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. The CAN Bus is a tourist bus that connects the train stations to the main attractions and runs every half hour.

Is Osaka or Ise a more walkable city?

Osaka
Ise

Osaka and Ise are good when it comes to walkability.

Osaka is a somewhat walkable city. There are parts of the city that are fun to explore on foot.

Ise is somewhat walkable. There are walking paths through the complex that connect the shrines, but some of the distances can be significant.

For even more information, also check out Is Osaka Worth Visiting? and Is Ise Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Ise or Osaka?

How long in Osaka or Ise?

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

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Osaka than Ise 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 Osaka.


  • How many days in Osaka or Ise? Ideal Length of Stay
    Osaka 2-4 
    Ise 1-3

One day in Osaka or Ise?

When visiting Osaka, people usually allow for lots of time. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel.

In Ise, many people enjoy the food and shopping that this off-the-beaten-path destination offers. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Because of this, one day is usually enough time for a trip here.


A weekend in Osaka or Ise?

Many people visit Osaka for a weekend. When visiting Osaka, people usually allow for lots of time. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. Because of this, a weekend is usually enough time for a trip here.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Ise. 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 Osaka or Ise?

The big city destination of Osaka offers shopping and museums. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. It offers something for everyone. Five days is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips.

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

A week in Osaka or Ise?

Osaka, a popular city, is full of activities for travelers. Visiting the old town is also a must. Your budget might influence how long you stay. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days.

You'll find food and shopping around the off-the-beaten-path destination of Ise. 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 Coach Bus Tours in Japan, The Best Adventure Tours to Japan, The Best Sightseeing Tours in Japan, and The Best Cultural Tours in Japan.


Which place is cheaper, Ise or Osaka?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Osaka is $86, while the average daily cost in Ise is $87. 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 Osaka and Ise in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Osaka $44
    Ise $41
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Osaka $88
    Ise $82
Compare Hotels in Osaka and Ise

Looking for a hotel in Osaka or Ise? 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 Osaka


Hotels in Ise


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: Osaka Hotel Prices and Ise Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Osaka $13
    Ise $42
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Osaka

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Osaka:


  • Subway
    $7.65

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Osaka

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

  • Airport Transfer from Osaka city to Kansai airport: $68
  • Airport Transfer! Hotel in center of Osaka to Osaka International Airport (ITM): $150
  • Airport Transfer! Osaka Airport (ITM) to Center of hotel in Osaka: $150
  • Airport Transfer!Hotel in center of Osaka to Kansai Airport (KIX): $192
  • Arrival Private Transfer from Itama Airport ITM to Osaka City by Minivan: $75
  • Departure Private Transfers: Osaka City to Kansai Airport KIX in Business Van: $238
  • Itami Airport (ITM): Private One-Way Transfer to/from Kyoto: $199
  • Itami Airport (ITM): Private One-Way Transfer to/from Nara: $215
  • Itami Airport (ITM): Private One-Way Transfer to/from Osaka: $87
  • Itami Airport (ITM): Private One-Way Transfer ⇋ Osaka: $159
  • Itami Airport Private One-Way Transfer to/from Kobe: $178
  • Itami Airport Private One-Way Transfer to/from Kyoto: $210

Is it cheaper to fly into Osaka or Ise?

Prices for flights to both Ise and Osaka 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
    Osaka $24
    Ise $24

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Osaka

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

  • 2-Hour Kuromon Market Walking Street Food Tour: $26
  • Osaka:Food Tour & Shopping: $32
  • Osaka : Real Japanese food tour: $32
  • Private Takoyaki Cooking Class by Natives in Osaka: $36
  • Osaka Okonomiyaki Cooking Experience!: $49
  • Home Cooking Class: $50
  • Homemade Gyoza Cooking Class in Osaka: $50
  • Ramen and Gyoza Cooking Class in Dotonbori: $62
  • Kimono experience and Japanese home-cooking lesson Osaka: $64
  • Three Types of RAMEN Cooking Class: $65
  • RAMEN and 2 types GYOZA (dumplings) Cooking Class: $65
  • Well-balanced BENTO (lunch box) Cooking Class: $72

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Osaka $20
    Ise $5.69
Typical Entertainment Prices in Osaka

Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Osaka's activities, tours, and tickets:


  • Osaka Aquarium (for 2)
    $29

Tours and Activities in Osaka

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

  • Osaka Imaginary Experience: $2.57
  • Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum Entrance Ticket: $4.45
  • Ryurei Teicha: Chanoyu (Tea Ceremony) Experience in Osaka: $5.08
  • Osaka Sakishima Observatory Advance Ticket: $5.72
  • Tsutenkaku Tower Entry Ticket: $6.35
  • Dotonbori District Sightseeing Cruise & Beer Discount: $7.62
  • Tsutenkaku Entry Ticket: $7.68
  • What to See in Osaka a Self-Guided Audio Tour in English: $8.00
  • Osaka Bay: Santa Maria Cruise Boarding Pass: $10
  • Osaka Tsutenkaku Admission Ticket: $10
  • Self-Guided Audio Tour: $11
  • Abeno Harukas 300 Observatory Entry Ticket: $12

Tours and Activities in Ise

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

  • Ise Grand Shrine Private Guided Tour: $89
  • Island Adventure Sea Kayak Tour(Ise-Shima): $39
  • Shirataki Takigyo Waterfall Meditation Experience in Toba: $29

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Osaka $11
    Ise $4.41

Sample the Local Flavors in Osaka

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

  • Osaka Pub Crawl and Nightlife Tour: $23
  • Local Bar Crawl in Dotombori and Uranamba Area: $32
  • Namba Pub Bar Crawl with a Born & Raised Local Guide: $32
  • Osaka Nights: Ultimate Pub Bar Crawl with an Expert Local Guide: $36
  • Osaka Local Bar Crawl in Dotombori & Uranamba Area: $39


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


Which is Bigger, Osaka or Ise?

Osaka has a larger population, and is about 30 times larger than the population of Ise. When comparing the sizes of Osaka and Ise, 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 Osaka or Ise?

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 Osaka or Ise in the Summer?

Both Ise and Osaka during the summer are popular places to visit. The city activities and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Osaka this time of year. Furthermore, many travelers come to Ise for the beaches and the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Osaka is generally around the same temperature as Ise. Daily temperatures in Osaka average around 28°C (82°F), and Ise fluctuates around 26°C (79°F).

In the summer, Osaka often gets more sunshine than Ise. Osaka gets 183 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Ise receives 169 hours of full sun.

Ise gets a good bit of rain this time of year. It rains a lot this time of the year in Osaka. Osaka usually gets less rain in July than Ise. Osaka gets 157 mm (6.2 in) of rain, while Ise receives 219 mm (8.6 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Osaka 28°C (82°F) 
    Ise 26°C (79°F)

Should I visit Osaka or Ise in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Osaka and Ise. Many travelers come to Osaka for the city's sights and attractions and the shopping scene. Furthermore, many visitors come to Ise in the autumn for the shopping scene.

Osaka is around the same temperature as Ise in the autumn. The daily temperature in Osaka averages around 19°C (66°F) in October, and Ise fluctuates around 17°C (63°F).

Osaka usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Ise during autumn. Osaka gets 159 hours of sunny skies, while Ise receives 160 hours of full sun in the autumn.

Ise receives a lot of rain in the autumn. Osaka gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In October, Osaka usually receives less rain than Ise. Osaka gets 108 mm (4.3 in) of rain, while Ise receives 145 mm (5.7 in) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Osaka 19°C (66°F) 
    Ise 17°C (63°F)

Should I visit Osaka or Ise in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Osaka as well as Ise. Many visitors come to Osaka in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Additionally, most visitors come to Ise for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months.

Ise can be very cold during winter. In the winter, Osaka is a little warmer than Ise. Typically, the winter temperatures in Osaka in January average around 6°C (42°F), and Ise averages at about 5°C (40°F).

In the winter, Osaka often gets less sunshine than Ise. Osaka gets 140 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Ise receives 165 hours of full sun.

Osaka usually gets around the same amount of rain in January as Ise. Osaka gets 46 mm (1.8 in) of rain, while Ise receives 45 mm (1.8 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Osaka 6°C (42°F) 
    Ise 5°C (40°F)

Should I visit Osaka or Ise in the Spring?

Both Ise and Osaka are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. Most visitors come to Osaka for the activities around the city during these months. Also, the spring months attract visitors to Ise because of the beaches.

In April, Osaka is generally a little warmer than Ise. Daily temperatures in Osaka average around 15°C (59°F), and Ise fluctuates around 13°C (56°F).

Osaka usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Ise during spring. Osaka gets 176 hours of sunny skies, while Ise receives 169 hours of full sun in the spring.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Ise. It's quite rainy in Osaka. In April, Osaka usually receives less rain than Ise. Osaka gets 137 mm (5.4 in) of rain, while Ise receives 149 mm (5.9 in) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Osaka 15°C (59°F) 
    Ise 13°C (56°F)

Typical Weather for Ise and Osaka

Osaka Ise
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 6°C (42°F) 46 mm (1.8 in) 5°C (40°F) 45 mm (1.8 in)
Feb 6°C (43°F) 61 mm (2.4 in) 5°C (41°F) 61 mm (2.4 in)
Mar 9°C (48°F) 99 mm (3.9 in) 8°C (46°F) 104 mm (4.1 in)
Apr 15°C (59°F) 137 mm (5.4 in) 13°C (56°F) 149 mm (5.9 in)
May 20°C (67°F) 140 mm (5.5 in) 18°C (65°F) 162 mm (6.4 in)
Jun 24°C (74°F) 204 mm (8 in) 22°C (71°F) 236 mm (9.3 in)
Jul 28°C (82°F) 157 mm (6.2 in) 26°C (79°F) 219 mm (8.6 in)
Aug 29°C (84°F) 95 mm (3.7 in) 27°C (81°F) 176 mm (6.9 in)
Sep 25°C (77°F) 170 mm (6.7 in) 23°C (74°F) 238 mm (9.4 in)
Oct 19°C (66°F) 108 mm (4.3 in) 17°C (63°F) 145 mm (5.7 in)
Nov 13°C (56°F) 65 mm (2.6 in) 12°C (54°F) 80 mm (3.1 in)
Dec 8°C (47°F) 35 mm (1.4 in) 7°C (45°F) 40 mm (1.6 in)