A Travel Price Comparison for Japan Sendai vs. Mashiko for Attractions, Nightlife, Families, and Couples

Should you visit Sendai or Mashiko?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Sendai or Mashiko, 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 vibrant, cosmopolitan, and lively city. Because this is such a big city, visitors will find many sights and attractions around town. It's also popular because of the museums, nightlife, and food.

Mashiko

Mashiko is a charming, traditional, and rural town. It offers plenty of small town charm along with sights and activities, too. This destination also has one of those special and quaint feelings. Visitors also love the hiking, shopping, and museums.

Sendai and Mashiko: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Small town charm
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less popular with backpackers


Is there more to do in Sendai or Mashiko?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Sendai. Although Sendai and Mashiko are both popular with visitors, Sendai has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Sendai is more popular for its museums, nightlife, beaches, and big city activities, while Mashiko is known for its hiking, small town charm, and quaint atmosphere. Sendai is popular for the Tanabata Festival, which is the largest of its kind and held every August. It is also home to the statue of Lord Masamune. Mashiko is popular for its local sake, rural farms, and longstanding tradition in pottery making.

How is Sendai different from Mashiko?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Sendai
Mashiko

Sendai is a great city 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 Sendai can be an interesting and educational experience. 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.

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 Sendai or Mashiko? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Sendai
Mashiko

There are opportunities to sample the local cuisine at good restaurants in both Sendai and Mashiko.

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.

There are many up and coming restaurants in the Mashiko area. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants around town that serve udon, soba, and other Japanese favorites that use local ingredients.

Is Sendai or Mashiko Better for Nightlife?

Sendai
Mashiko

Sendai is a great city for its evening party scene. However, Mashiko is not known for nightlife.

The nightlife in Sendai has something for everybody. 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.

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 Sendai or Mashiko Better for Beaches?

Sendai
Mashiko

Sendai is a nice place to visit for the beach. However, Mashiko is not a beach destination.

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

Mashiko is not a beach destination.


Is Sendai or Mashiko Better for Hiking?

Sendai
Mashiko

Mashiko is a nice place to visit for its hiking trails. However, Sendai is not a hiking destination.

Mashiko has hiking trails worth exploring. 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.

Sendai is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Sendai or Mashiko?

Sendai
Mashiko

Shoppers can find a variety of superb stores in both Sendai and Mashiko.

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.

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.

Is Sendai or Mashiko Better for Families?

Sendai
Mashiko

Sendai and Mashiko are both superb destinations for the whole family.

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.

Mashiko is known to be 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 Sendai or Mashiko Better for Couples?

Sendai
Mashiko

Mashiko is an excellent place to visit for its romantic activities. Also, Sendai is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for couples.

Mashiko makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. 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.

Sendai is a good city for couples to visit. 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.

Is Sendai or Mashiko Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Sendai
Mashiko

Sendai 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 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.

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

Sendai
Mashiko

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

Many visitors use the public transit system in Sendai. There are two subway lines the north-south Namboku Line and the east-west Tozai Line. These lines cross at Sendai Station.

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


Is Sendai or Mashiko a more walkable city?

Sendai
Mashiko

Sendai and Mashiko are superb when it comes to walkability.

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.

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.

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

Should I spend more time in Mashiko or Sendai?

How long in Sendai or Mashiko?

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

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

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


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

One day in Sendai or Mashiko?

In Sendai, you'll find nightlife and food. This city offers something for everyone. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

Mashiko might be a small town, but there's plenty to do in the area. One day is often enough time to do most activities.

A weekend in Sendai or Mashiko?

In Sendai, you'll find food and shopping. 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 Sendai has to offer.

Mashiko 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 Mashiko?

Sendai 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.

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

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Sendai. Many people enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting Sendai. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.

Mashiko 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. 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, Mashiko or Sendai?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Sendai is $102, 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 Sendai and Mashiko in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Sendai $58
    Mashiko $32
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Sendai $116
    Mashiko $64
Compare Hotels in Sendai and Mashiko

Looking for a hotel in Sendai 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 Sendai


Hotels in Mashiko


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Sendai Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Sendai $17
    Mashiko $11

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Sendai

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

  • Sendai Airport to/from Sendai city central private transfer: $83

Is it cheaper to fly into Sendai or Mashiko?

Prices for flights to both Mashiko 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 $32
    Mashiko $22

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: $127

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Sendai $18
    Mashiko $8.62

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 : $71
  • Sendai, Okama: Private tour from Sendai city to Okama: $253
  • Local Foodie Tour, wander around the gourmet town: $113

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Sendai $10
    Mashiko $4.99


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Sendai and Mashiko, we can see that Sendai 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 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 Mashiko.

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


Which is Bigger, Sendai or Mashiko?

Sendai has a larger population, and is about 40 times larger than the population of Mashiko. When comparing the sizes of Sendai 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 Sendai or Mashiko?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Sendai or Mashiko in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Sendai and Mashiko. The summer months attract visitors to Sendai because of the beaches, the city activities, and the family-friendly experiences. Also, the hiking, the small town charm, and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Mashiko this time of year.

In the summer, Sendai is around the same temperature as Mashiko. Typically, the summer temperatures in Sendai in July average around 23°C (73°F), and Mashiko averages at about 24°C (75°F).

Sendai usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Mashiko during summer. Sendai gets 124 hours of sunny skies, while Mashiko receives 130 hours of full sun in the summer.

Mashiko receives a lot of rain in the summer. Sendai gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In July, Sendai usually receives more rain than Mashiko. Sendai gets 151 mm (5.9 in) of rain, while Mashiko receives 117 mm (4.6 in) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Sendai 23°C (73°F) 
    Mashiko 24°C (75°F)

Should I visit Sendai or Mashiko in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Sendai as well as Mashiko. The city's sights and attractions and the shopping scene are the main draw to Sendai this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Mashiko for the hiking trails, the shopping scene, and the small town atmosphere.

In October, Sendai is generally around the same temperature as Mashiko. Daily temperatures in Sendai average around 15°C (59°F), and Mashiko fluctuates around 16°C (60°F).

In the autumn, Sendai often gets more sunshine than Mashiko. Sendai gets 149 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Mashiko receives 133 hours of full sun.

It's quite rainy in Mashiko. Sendai receives a lot of rain in the autumn. Sendai usually gets less rain in October than Mashiko. Sendai gets 103 mm (4.1 in) of rain, while Mashiko receives 145 mm (5.7 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Sendai 15°C (59°F) 
    Mashiko 16°C (60°F)

Should I visit Sendai or Mashiko in the Winter?

Both Mashiko and Sendai are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. Many travelers come to Sendai for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Also, many visitors come to Mashiko in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

Mashiko can get quite cold in the winter. Be prepared for some very cold days in Sendai. Sendai is much colder than Mashiko in the winter. The daily temperature in Sendai averages around 2°C (35°F) in January, and Mashiko fluctuates around 3°C (38°F).

Sendai usually receives less sunshine than Mashiko during winter. Sendai gets 149 hours of sunny skies, while Mashiko receives 181 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Sendai usually receives around the same amount of rain as Mashiko. Sendai gets 42 mm (1.7 in) of rain, while Mashiko receives 44 mm (1.7 in) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Sendai 2°C (35°F) 
    Mashiko 3°C (38°F)

Should I visit Sendai or Mashiko in the Spring?

Both Mashiko and Sendai during the spring are popular places to visit. Many visitors come to Sendai in the spring for the beaches and the activities around the city. Furthermore, most visitors come to Mashiko for the small town charm during these months.

In the spring, Sendai is cooler than Mashiko. Typically, the spring temperatures in Sendai in April average around 10°C (51°F), and Mashiko averages at about 12°C (53°F).

In the spring, Sendai often gets more sunshine than Mashiko. Sendai gets 188 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Mashiko receives 160 hours of full sun.

Mashiko gets a good bit of rain this time of year. Sendai usually gets less rain in April than Mashiko. Sendai gets 94 mm (3.7 in) of rain, while Mashiko receives 118 mm (4.6 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Sendai 10°C (51°F) 
    Mashiko 12°C (53°F)

Typical Weather for Mashiko and Sendai

Sendai Mashiko
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 2°C (35°F) 42 mm (1.7 in) 3°C (38°F) 44 mm (1.7 in)
Feb 2°C (35°F) 49 mm (1.9 in) 4°C (38°F) 61 mm (2.4 in)
Mar 5°C (40°F) 68 mm (2.7 in) 6°C (44°F) 95 mm (3.7 in)
Apr 10°C (51°F) 94 mm (3.7 in) 12°C (53°F) 118 mm (4.6 in)
May 15°C (60°F) 111 mm (4.4 in) 17°C (62°F) 139 mm (5.5 in)
Jun 19°C (66°F) 133 mm (5.2 in) 20°C (68°F) 175 mm (6.9 in)
Jul 23°C (73°F) 151 mm (5.9 in) 24°C (75°F) 117 mm (4.6 in)
Aug 25°C (77°F) 165 mm (6.5 in) 26°C (78°F) 135 mm (5.3 in)
Sep 21°C (69°F) 187 mm (7.4 in) 22°C (71°F) 163 mm (6.4 in)
Oct 15°C (59°F) 103 mm (4.1 in) 16°C (60°F) 145 mm (5.7 in)
Nov 9°C (49°F) 69 mm (2.7 in) 11°C (51°F) 78 mm (3.1 in)
Dec 4°C (40°F) 36 mm (1.4 in) 6°C (42°F) 40 mm (1.6 in)


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