A Travel Price Comparison for Japan Sendai vs. Dewa Sanzan for Attractions, Food, Couples, and Backpackers

Should you visit Sendai or Dewa Sanzan?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Sendai or Dewa Sanzan, 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.

Sendai

Sendai is a lively, high energy, and vibrant city. It's a large city, so you'll find plenty of things to do around town. Visitors also love the shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Dewa Sanzan

Dewa Sanzan is a sacred, remote, and traditional religious site. Visitors also love the hiking and museums.

Sendai and Dewa Sanzan: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good public transit
  • Very walkable
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Good for hiking
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less popular for shopping
  • Less family-friendly
  • Public transit not as usable
  • Less walkable


Is there more to do in Sendai or Dewa Sanzan?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Sendai than Dewa Sanzan, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Sendai is better known for its museums, food, nightlife, beaches, shopping, and big city activities, while Dewa Sanzan is more popular for its hiking. Sendai is more touristy than Dewa Sanzan and is known for the Tanabata Festival, which is the largest of its kind and held every August. Also, Sendai is famous for the statue of Lord Masamune. Dewa Sanzan is well known for its traditional religion, three sacred mountains, and the Shukubo Pilgrim Lodges.

How is Sendai different from Dewa Sanzan?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Sendai or Dewa Sanzan?

Sendai
Dewa Sanzan

Sendai is an excellent place to visit for its museums and history. Also, Dewa Sanzan is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its museums and landmarks.

Many visitors head to Sendai specifically to visit some of its top-rated museums and other sights. The city grew up as a castle town, and today the castle ruins are a popular tourist destination. A park surrounds the area, Aobayama Park, and while only the stonewalls remain, you can visit the Sendai City Museum in the park as well. Zuihoden Temple is another landmark worth visiting, as is the AER observation terrace.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Dewa Sanzan. This is a sacred religious site that is at the heart of the Shugendo folk religion. The religion combines Buddhist and Shinto traditions and there are several temples in the area including the most sacred sights at Yudono-san, Haguro-san, and Gas-san, as well as the Churenji and Dainichibo Temples.


Is the Food Better in Sendai or Dewa Sanzan? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Sendai
Dewa Sanzan

Sendai is very good for its restaurants. However, Dewa Sanzan is lacking in options for its restaurant scene.

Sendai has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. There are a number of local specialties in the area and if you're an adventurous eater, then this is your place. Many of the dishes are influenced by the city's proximity to the ocean. Make sure you try the harako-meshi (rice with fish eggs), sea squirts, and sashimi. Another local favorite is beef tongue.

Dewa Sanzan may not make the list for most foodies, but you'll find what you need while you're in town. In your guesthouse you'll be given "Shojin cuisine", which is the traditional cuisine that has been handed down through the generations. It is strictly vegetarian and is heavily influenced by whatever vegetable is currently in season in the area. Traditionally, the cuisine focused on sustenance and not taste, but for the purposes of hospitality, the dishes are more flavorful than is typical in the traditional cuisine.

Is Sendai or Dewa Sanzan Better for Nightlife?

Sendai
Dewa Sanzan

Sendai is an excellent place to visit for nightlife and partying. However, Dewa Sanzan is lacking in options for its evening party scene.

Sendai has a lively atmosphere and nightlife is popular here. Head to Kokubuncho for the best nightlife scene in the area. This downtown neighborhood is filled with bars, clubs, and karaoke that come alive in the evening. For live music, check out Rensa, which is one of the city's largest live music venues.

Things get quiet in the evenings in Dewa Sanzan. This is a religious site that is remote and focused on mountain worship and devotion. Nightlife is non-existent in the area.

Is Sendai or Dewa Sanzan Better for Beaches?

Sendai
Dewa Sanzan

Sendai is very good for the beache. However, Dewa Sanzan is not a beach destination.

Many people head to Sendai to enjoy the beach. There are a number of beaches in the area, but for the best options you'll want to head a bit out of town.

Dewa Sanzan is not a beach destination.


Is Sendai or Dewa Sanzan Better for Hiking?

Sendai
Dewa Sanzan

Dewa Sanzan is an excellent place to visit for its hiking trails. However, Sendai is not a hiking destination.

Many visitors explore the nearby hiking trails while visiting Dewa Sanzan. Experienced hikers can climb Mt. Gassan and Mt. Yudono in one day and do Mt. Haguro separately. For Mt. Gassan, you'll want to take the bus to the 8th station and climb from there.

Sendai is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Sendai or Dewa Sanzan?

Sendai
Dewa Sanzan

Sendai is an excellent place to visit for its shopping opportunities. However, Dewa Sanzan is lacking in options for its shopping areas.

Sendai is well-known for its shopping. You'll find shopping arcades in the downtown area like Ichibancho, which is one of the most popular shopping districts in the city. If you head out of town towards the suburbs, you'll find malls and other outlet stores.

Dewa Sanzan has some shopping areas for those that seek them out. This is a sacred sight that is devoted to worship and a simple life. As such, shopping in not available in the area with the exception of a couple of convenience stores.

Is Sendai or Dewa Sanzan Better for Families?

Sendai
Dewa Sanzan

Sendai is an excellent place to visit for its kid-friendly activities. However, Dewa Sanzan is lacking in options for its family-friendly activities.

Because of its large number of kid-friendly activities, Sendai is very family-friendly. The city has a number of green spaces that kids will enjoy including parks and playgrounds. There are also kid-focused museums like the Anpanman Children's Museum and the 3M Sendai City Science Museum. If the young ones really need a break from the history, you can check out Yagiyama Beny Land.

Dewa Sanzan is not such a family-friendly city. The remote location make this a challenging place to access. It's a religious destination and its sacred and historic past is often lost to children. Out of respect for the strict religion, this site is best visited as an adult.


Is Sendai or Dewa Sanzan Better for Couples?

Sendai
Dewa Sanzan

Sendai and Dewa Sanzan are both notable to visit as a couple.

Sendai makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. The city boasts beautiful temples as well as nice natural areas, parks, and gardens. If you have time to get out of town, Okama is a volcanic lake that is one of the most beautiful spots in the region, and well worth the excursion.

Dewa Sanzan is a good city for couples to visit. Couples who want to do something that's a bit different from mainstream Japan will appreciate a visit to this religious site.

Is Sendai or Dewa Sanzan Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Sendai
Dewa Sanzan

Sendai and Dewa Sanzan are both notable destinations for backpackers.

It's common for backpackers to visit Sendai. There are a couple of hostels around the town and many of the activities are free as they involve strolling through parks or wandering down shopping streets.

Dewa Sanzan is a good city to visit for backpackers. This is an off-the-beaten-path destination for backpackers, and it can be difficult to reach by public transit. Once you're there, if you want a traditional experience, you can stay at a Shukubo Pilgrim Lodge.

Is Sendai or Dewa Sanzan Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Sendai
Dewa Sanzan

Sendai is an excellent place to visit for times when you don't have a car. However, Dewa Sanzan is lacking in options for its public transit.

Sendai has some very good public transit options. There are two subway lines the north-south Namboku Line and the east-west Tozai Line. These lines cross at Sendai Station.

Public transit is generally limited in Dewa Sanzan. There is public transit from Tsuruoka Station to Mt. Haguro and the accommodation in the area. There are also buses to the top of Mt. Haguro, Mt. Yudono, and Mt. Gassan 8th Station.


Is Sendai or Dewa Sanzan a more walkable city?

Sendai
Dewa Sanzan

Sendai is an excellent place to visit for its high level of walkability. However, Dewa Sanzan is lacking in options for its ease of walking around.

Sendai is a very walkable city. There are many parts of the city that are walkable, especially around Sendai Station as well as in the Chuo-dori arcade and the the Kokubuncho neighborhood.

Dewa Sanzan is generally not very walkable. Everything is very spread out so walking can be challenging. Experienced hikers will enjoy hiking to each of the three shrines.

For even more information, also check out Is Sendai Worth Visiting? and Is Dewa Sanzan Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Dewa Sanzan or Sendai?

How long in Sendai or Dewa Sanzan?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Sendai and Dewa Sanzan. In our opinion, Sendai has more to see and do, so we recommend that you spend more time in Sendai than Dewa Sanzan. However, 2-3 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Sendai than Dewa Sanzan 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 Sendai.


  • How many days in Sendai or Dewa Sanzan? Ideal Length of Stay
    Sendai 2-3 
    Dewa Sanzan 2-3

One day in Sendai or Dewa Sanzan?

Visitors enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the lively city of Sendai. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Many travelers enjoy the museums when visiting the destination of Dewa Sanzan. Hikers are also drawn to this area. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

A weekend in Sendai or Dewa Sanzan?

Visitors enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the high energy destination of Sendai. This city offers something for everyone. Plenty of people spend a weekend in the area when traveling. If you enjoy all that's offered here, then a weekend is just the right amount of time to spend here.

Dewa Sanzan is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. With all of its activities, you can easily fill a weekend here. Your budget might influence how long you stay.


Five days in Sendai or Dewa Sanzan?

The lively city of Sendai offers shopping and museums. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Dewa Sanzan. 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.

A week in Sendai or Dewa Sanzan?

Many people enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting Sendai. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

Travelers enjoy the museums when visiting the remote destination of Dewa Sanzan. This religious site 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.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best 10-Day Tours from Tokyo, The Best 2-Week Tours from Tokyo, The Best Family-Friendly Tours to Japan, and The Best Hiking & Trekking Tours in Japan.


Which place is cheaper, Dewa Sanzan or Sendai?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Sendai is $105, while the average daily cost in Dewa Sanzan 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 Sendai and Dewa Sanzan in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Sendai $59
    Dewa Sanzan $28
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Sendai $118
    Dewa Sanzan $56
Compare Hotels in Sendai and Dewa Sanzan

Looking for a hotel in Sendai or Dewa Sanzan? 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 Sendai


Hotels in Dewa Sanzan


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: Sendai Hotel Prices and Dewa Sanzan Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Sendai $18
    Dewa Sanzan $22

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Sendai

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

  • Sendai Airport to/from Sendai City private transfer: $156

Is it cheaper to fly into Sendai or Dewa Sanzan?

Prices for flights to both Dewa Sanzan and Sendai 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
    Sendai $33
    Dewa Sanzan $24

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Sendai

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

  • Miyagi, Shiogama Local Food Tour with Premium Tuna and Sushi Town: $129

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Sendai $18
    Dewa Sanzan $9.24

Tours and Activities in Sendai

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

  • Japanese Taiko Drum Experience at Sairi Yashiki : $72
  • Sendai, Okama: Private tour from Sendai city to Okama: $256
  • Local Foodie Tour, wander around the gourmet town: $114

Tours and Activities in Dewa Sanzan

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

  • Tsuruoka & Dewa-Sanzan Full-Day Private Tour with Government-Licensed Guide: $229

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Sendai $11
    Dewa Sanzan $7.28


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

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



When is the best time to visit Sendai or Dewa Sanzan?

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 Sendai or Dewa Sanzan in the Summer?

Both Dewa Sanzan and Sendai are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities. Most visitors come to Sendai for the beaches, the city activities, and the family-friendly experiences during these months. Also, the summer months attract visitors to Dewa Sanzan because of the hiking.

Sendai is around the same temperature as Dewa Sanzan in the summer. The daily temperature in Sendai averages around 23°C (73°F) in July, and Dewa Sanzan fluctuates around 23°C (74°F).

Sendai usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Dewa Sanzan during summer. Sendai gets 124 hours of sunny skies, while Dewa Sanzan receives 124 hours of full sun in the summer.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Dewa Sanzan. It's quite rainy in Sendai. In July, Sendai usually receives less rain than Dewa Sanzan. Sendai gets 151 mm (5.9 in) of rain, while Dewa Sanzan receives 191 mm (7.5 in) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Sendai 23°C (73°F) 
    Dewa Sanzan 23°C (74°F)

Should I visit Sendai or Dewa Sanzan in the Autumn?

Both Dewa Sanzan and Sendai during the autumn are popular places to visit. The autumn months attract visitors to Sendai because of the city's sights and attractions and the shopping scene. Also, the hiking trails are the main draw to Dewa Sanzan this time of year.

In the autumn, Sendai is a little warmer than Dewa Sanzan. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Sendai in October average around 15°C (59°F), and Dewa Sanzan averages at about 13°C (56°F).

In the autumn, Sendai often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Dewa Sanzan. Sendai gets 149 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Dewa Sanzan receives 149 hours of full sun.

Dewa Sanzan gets a good bit of rain this time of year. It rains a lot this time of the year in Sendai. Sendai usually gets less rain in October than Dewa Sanzan. Sendai gets 103 mm (4.1 in) of rain, while Dewa Sanzan receives 152 mm (6 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Sendai 15°C (59°F) 
    Dewa Sanzan 13°C (56°F)

Should I visit Sendai or Dewa Sanzan in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Sendai and Dewa Sanzan. The museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Sendai this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Dewa Sanzan for the museums and the cuisine.

Be prepared for some very cold days in Dewa Sanzan. It's quite cold in Sendai in the winter. In January, Sendai is generally much warmer than Dewa Sanzan. Daily temperatures in Sendai average around 2°C (35°F), and Dewa Sanzan fluctuates around -1°C (30°F).

Sendai usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Dewa Sanzan during winter. Sendai gets 149 hours of sunny skies, while Dewa Sanzan receives 149 hours of full sun in the winter.

Dewa Sanzan receives a lot of rain in the winter. In January, Sendai usually receives less rain than Dewa Sanzan. Sendai gets 42 mm (1.7 in) of rain, while Dewa Sanzan receives 206 mm (8.1 in) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Sendai 2°C (35°F) 
    Dewa Sanzan -1°C (30°F)

Should I visit Sendai or Dewa Sanzan in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Sendai as well as Dewa Sanzan. Many travelers come to Sendai for the beaches and the activities around the city.

Sendai is a little warmer than Dewa Sanzan in the spring. The daily temperature in Sendai averages around 10°C (51°F) in April, and Dewa Sanzan fluctuates around 9°C (47°F).

In the spring, Sendai often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Dewa Sanzan. Sendai gets 188 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Dewa Sanzan receives 188 hours of full sun.

Sendai usually gets around the same amount of rain in April as Dewa Sanzan. Sendai gets 94 mm (3.7 in) of rain, while Dewa Sanzan receives 100 mm (3.9 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Sendai 10°C (51°F) 
    Dewa Sanzan 9°C (47°F)

Typical Weather for Dewa Sanzan and Sendai

Sendai Dewa Sanzan
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 2°C (35°F) 42 mm (1.7 in) -1°C (30°F) 206 mm (8.1 in)
Feb 2°C (35°F) 49 mm (1.9 in) -1°C (30°F) 151 mm (6 in)
Mar 5°C (40°F) 68 mm (2.7 in) 2°C (35°F) 116 mm (4.6 in)
Apr 10°C (51°F) 94 mm (3.7 in) 9°C (47°F) 100 mm (3.9 in)
May 15°C (60°F) 111 mm (4.4 in) 15°C (59°F) 96 mm (3.8 in)
Jun 19°C (66°F) 133 mm (5.2 in) 20°C (67°F) 120 mm (4.7 in)
Jul 23°C (73°F) 151 mm (5.9 in) 23°C (74°F) 191 mm (7.5 in)
Aug 25°C (77°F) 165 mm (6.5 in) 25°C (77°F) 174 mm (6.8 in)
Sep 21°C (69°F) 187 mm (7.4 in) 20°C (68°F) 154 mm (6.1 in)
Oct 15°C (59°F) 103 mm (4.1 in) 13°C (56°F) 152 mm (6 in)
Nov 9°C (49°F) 69 mm (2.7 in) 7°C (44°F) 207 mm (8.1 in)
Dec 4°C (40°F) 36 mm (1.4 in) 2°C (35°F) 231 mm (9.1 in)


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