A Travel Price Comparison for Japan Yaeyama Islands vs. Dewa Sanzan for Couples, Hiking, Attractions, and Food

Should you visit Yaeyama Islands or Dewa Sanzan?

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 Yaeyama Islands and Dewa Sanzan. 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.

Yaeyama Islands

Yaeyama Islands is a luxurious, serene, and idyllic archipelago. It's considered by many to be an absolutely beautiful destination, too. Visitors also love the beaches, hiking, and nightlife.

Dewa Sanzan

Dewa Sanzan is a religious, sacred, and remote religious site. It's also known for hiking and museums.

Yaeyama Islands and Dewa Sanzan: Pros and Cons

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


Is there more to do in Yaeyama Islands or Dewa Sanzan?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Yaeyama Islands. Although Yaeyama Islands and Dewa Sanzan are popular destinations, Yaeyama Islands has more sights and attractions for tourists. Yaeyama Islands is very popular for its food, nightlife, resorts, scuba diving & snorkeling, beaches, and impressive beauty, while Dewa Sanzan attracts visitors for its museums and shopping. Yaeyama Islands is more touristy than Dewa Sanzan and is popular for its jungle, tropical setting, and pristine beaches. It is also well known for Nishihama Beach. Dewa Sanzan is famous for its traditional religion, three sacred mountains, and the Shukubo Pilgrim Lodges.

How is Yaeyama Islands different from Dewa Sanzan?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

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

Yaeyama Islands
Dewa Sanzan

Dewa Sanzan is a good destination for its sights and museums. However, Yaeyama Islands is not a good archipelago for its museums and history.

Dewa Sanzan is a good place to visit if you're interested in museums or other recognizable sights. 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.

While most people don't head to Yaeyama Islands specifically for the museums and attractions, it does offer a few options. The islands are known for their beaches, snorkeling, and jungles, but don't expect much in the form of museums.


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

Yaeyama Islands
Dewa Sanzan

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

Yaeyama Islands has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. There are many fruits and vegetables that are local to the region. Tropical fruits are common including pineapples, passionfruit, mango, shikuwasa, watermelon, papaya, and dragon fruit. You can try Yaeyama Soba (noodle soup) or any other local favorite at the restaurants in the area, most of which are usually concentrated around the villages on the island.

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 Yaeyama Islands or Dewa Sanzan Better for Nightlife?

Yaeyama Islands
Dewa Sanzan

Yaeyama Islands is very good for nightlife and partying. However, Dewa Sanzan is lacking in options for its evening party scene.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Yaeyama Islands. The nightlife is laid back and relaxed. You can sip a cocktail and enjoy the view from your resort's bar.

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 Yaeyama Islands or Dewa Sanzan Better for Resorts?

Yaeyama Islands
Dewa Sanzan

Yaeyama Islands is an unbeatable place for its luxury resorts. However, Dewa Sanzan is not a resort destination.

If you're looking for a fantastic resort destination, Yaeyama Islands is a perfect choice. There are luxury international resorts as well as smaller upscale hotels. Many resorts are found on the largest island, Ishigaki.

Dewa Sanzan is not a resort destination.


Is Yaeyama Islands or Dewa Sanzan Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Yaeyama Islands
Dewa Sanzan

Yaeyama Islands is an excellent place to visit for its diving and snorkeling. However, Dewa Sanzan is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

There is a nice variety of marine life that makes scuba diving and snorkeling great in Yaeyama Islands. The islands offer great scuba diving and snorkeling with coral reefs and tropical fish as well as manta rays and pelagic fish.

Dewa Sanzan is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Is Yaeyama Islands or Dewa Sanzan Better for Beaches?

Yaeyama Islands
Dewa Sanzan

Yaeyama Islands is an unbeatable place for the beache. However, Dewa Sanzan is not a beach destination.

With world-famous beaches, Yaeyama Islands is a very popular vacation destination. This tropical paradise has white sand beaches and turquoise water. There are water sports, including snorkeling and diving, and the beaches on each island have their own atmosphere and vibe.

Dewa Sanzan is not a beach destination.

Is Yaeyama Islands or Dewa Sanzan Better for Hiking?

Yaeyama Islands
Dewa Sanzan

Hiking trails can be found around both Yaeyama Islands and Dewa Sanzan, and they are high quality.

Yaeyama Islands is a popular spot for hiking. The islands offer relatively easy access to jungle hikes, which will quickly make you feel like you've been swept into a hidden paradise. There are waterfalls, wildlife, butterflies, and scenic spots to explore.

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.


Is the Shopping Better in Yaeyama Islands or Dewa Sanzan?

Yaeyama Islands
Dewa Sanzan

Dewa Sanzan is not a good place to visit for shopping. However, Yaeyama Islands is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

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.

Yaeyama Islands is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Is Yaeyama Islands or Dewa Sanzan Better for Families?

Yaeyama Islands
Dewa Sanzan

Yaeyama Islands 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, Yaeyama Islands is very family-friendly. This island setting has blue waters and water sports that the whole family can enjoy. There are also family-friendly resorts with kids clubs and nearby nature.

Dewa Sanzan is not such a family-friendly archipelago. 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 Yaeyama Islands or Dewa Sanzan Better for Couples?

Yaeyama Islands
Dewa Sanzan

Yaeyama Islands is an unbeatable place for its romantic activities. Also, Dewa Sanzan is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for couples.

For those traveling as a couple, Yaeyama Islands has plenty to offer. Beautiful blue water and fun water sports make this a wonderful destination for couples. There are nice resorts and fine dining opportunities that make this a great couple's retreat.

Dewa Sanzan is a good archipelago 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 Yaeyama Islands or Dewa Sanzan Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Yaeyama Islands
Dewa Sanzan

Dewa Sanzan is a good destination for backpackers. However, Yaeyama Islands is not a good archipelago for backpackers and budget travelers.

Plenty of backpackers visit Dewa Sanzan. 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.

Yaeyama Islands is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. Backpacking can be challenging as transportation is limited and accommodation can be expensive.

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

Yaeyama Islands
Dewa Sanzan

Both Yaeyama Islands and Dewa Sanzan offer reasonable public transit options.

Public transit is generally limited in Yaeyama Islands. There is very little in the form of public transit but you can get from the largest island, Ishigaki Island, to nearby islands by ferry.

Public transit is mostly 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 Yaeyama Islands or Dewa Sanzan a more walkable city?

Yaeyama Islands
Dewa Sanzan

Yaeyama Islands and Dewa Sanzan both are reasonable when exploring on foot.

Yaeyama Islands is generally not very walkable. Some of the islands are small enough to get around on foot.

Dewa Sanzan is generally not a very walkable archipelago. 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 Yaeyama Islands Worth Visiting? and Is Dewa Sanzan Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Dewa Sanzan or Yaeyama Islands?

How long in Yaeyama Islands or Dewa Sanzan?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Yaeyama Islands and Dewa Sanzan. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Yaeyama Islands than in Dewa Sanzan. Usually, 3-5 days is a good amount of time for Yaeyama Islands, and 2-3 days is enough time in Dewa Sanzan.

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

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

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


  • How many days in Yaeyama Islands or Dewa Sanzan? Ideal Length of Stay
    Yaeyama Islands 3-5 
    Dewa Sanzan 2-3

One day in Yaeyama Islands or Dewa Sanzan?

Visitors enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the serene archipelago of Yaeyama Islands. You can also relax and pamper yourself at one of the resorts. Most people visit for the beaches. 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.

The sacred destination of Dewa Sanzan offers museums. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

A weekend in Yaeyama Islands or Dewa Sanzan?

Visitors enjoy the food and scuba diving and snorkeling when visiting the serene destination of Yaeyama Islands. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. This archipelago offers something for everyone. Since there is so much to do in the area, a weekend is probably not enough for all of it.

The religious site of Dewa Sanzan offers museums. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. A weekend here is typical. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything. A weekend is often enough time to do most activities.

Five days in Yaeyama Islands or Dewa Sanzan?

Visitors enjoy the scuba diving and snorkeling and nightlife when visiting the pristine archipelago of Yaeyama Islands. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. Many people spend five days here.If you enjoy all that's offered here, then five days is just the right amount of time to spend here. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel.

Dewa Sanzan is a great place to explore. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. This religious site offers something for everyone. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything.


A week in Yaeyama Islands or Dewa Sanzan?

Many people enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting Yaeyama Islands. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Travelers enjoy the resorts in the area as well. Most people visit for the beaches. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

Many people enjoy the museums when visiting Dewa Sanzan. Hikers are also drawn to this area. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.


Which place is cheaper, Dewa Sanzan or Yaeyama Islands?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Yaeyama Islands is $96, while the average daily cost in Dewa Sanzan is $67. 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 Yaeyama Islands and Dewa Sanzan in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Yaeyama Islands $55
    Dewa Sanzan $29
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Yaeyama Islands $110
    Dewa Sanzan $58
Compare Hotels in Yaeyama Islands and Dewa Sanzan

Looking for a hotel in Yaeyama Islands 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 Yaeyama Islands


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: Yaeyama Islands Hotel Prices and Dewa Sanzan Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Yaeyama Islands $19
    Dewa Sanzan $23

Is it cheaper to fly into Yaeyama Islands or Dewa Sanzan?

Prices for flights to both Dewa Sanzan and Yaeyama Islands 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
    Yaeyama Islands $29
    Dewa Sanzan $25

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Yaeyama Islands $8.85
    Dewa Sanzan $9.47

Tours and Activities in Dewa Sanzan

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

  • Small-Group Zenpoji Temple Zen Experience in Yamagata: $217
  • Tsuruoka & Dewa-Sanzan Full-Day Private Tour with Government-Licensed Guide: $238

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Yaeyama Islands $6.45
    Dewa Sanzan $7.46


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



When is the best time to visit Yaeyama Islands or Dewa Sanzan?

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 Yaeyama Islands or Dewa Sanzan in the Summer?

Both Dewa Sanzan and Yaeyama Islands during the summer are popular places to visit. Many travelers come to Yaeyama Islands for the beaches, snorkeling, the hiking, and the family-friendly experiences. Furthermore, many visitors come to Dewa Sanzan in the summer for the hiking.

In the summer, Yaeyama Islands is a little warmer than Dewa Sanzan. Typically, the summer temperatures in Yaeyama Islands in July average around 29°C (85°F), and Dewa Sanzan averages at about 23°C (74°F).

It's quite sunny in Yaeyama Islands. In the summer, Yaeyama Islands often gets more sunshine than Dewa Sanzan. Yaeyama Islands gets 279 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Dewa Sanzan receives 124 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 Yaeyama Islands. Yaeyama Islands usually gets around the same amount of rain in July as Dewa Sanzan. Yaeyama Islands gets 179 mm (7 in) of rain, while Dewa Sanzan receives 191 mm (7.5 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Yaeyama Islands 29°C (85°F) 
    Dewa Sanzan 23°C (74°F)

Should I visit Yaeyama Islands or Dewa Sanzan in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Yaeyama Islands and Dewa Sanzan. Many visitors come to Yaeyama Islands in the autumn for the hiking trails and the natural beauty of the area. Furthermore, most visitors come to Dewa Sanzan for the hiking trails during these months.

In October, Yaeyama Islands is generally much warmer than Dewa Sanzan. Daily temperatures in Yaeyama Islands average around 26°C (78°F), and Dewa Sanzan fluctuates around 13°C (56°F).

Yaeyama Islands usually receives more sunshine than Dewa Sanzan during autumn. Yaeyama Islands gets 177 hours of sunny skies, while Dewa Sanzan receives 149 hours of full sun in the autumn.

Dewa Sanzan receives a lot of rain in the autumn. Yaeyama Islands gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In October, Yaeyama Islands usually receives more rain than Dewa Sanzan. Yaeyama Islands gets 173 mm (6.8 in) of rain, while Dewa Sanzan receives 152 mm (6 in) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Yaeyama Islands 26°C (78°F) 
    Dewa Sanzan 13°C (56°F)

Should I visit Yaeyama Islands or Dewa Sanzan in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Yaeyama Islands as well as Dewa Sanzan. Most visitors come to Yaeyama Islands for the museums and the cuisine during these months. Additionally, the winter months attract visitors to Dewa Sanzan because of the museums and the cuisine.

The weather in Dewa Sanzan can be very cold. Yaeyama Islands is much warmer than Dewa Sanzan in the winter. The daily temperature in Yaeyama Islands averages around 18°C (64°F) in January, and Dewa Sanzan fluctuates around -1°C (30°F).

In the winter, Yaeyama Islands often gets less sunshine than Dewa Sanzan. Yaeyama Islands gets 97 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Dewa Sanzan receives 149 hours of full sun.

It's quite rainy in Dewa Sanzan. Yaeyama Islands receives a lot of rain in the winter. Yaeyama Islands usually gets less rain in January than Dewa Sanzan. Yaeyama Islands gets 120 mm (4.7 in) of rain, while Dewa Sanzan receives 206 mm (8.1 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Yaeyama Islands 18°C (64°F) 
    Dewa Sanzan -1°C (30°F)

Should I visit Yaeyama Islands or Dewa Sanzan in the Spring?

Both Dewa Sanzan and Yaeyama Islands are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. The spring months attract visitors to Yaeyama Islands because of the beaches and the natural beauty.

In the spring, Yaeyama Islands is much warmer than Dewa Sanzan. Typically, the spring temperatures in Yaeyama Islands in April average around 23°C (74°F), and Dewa Sanzan averages at about 9°C (47°F).

Yaeyama Islands usually receives less sunshine than Dewa Sanzan during spring. Yaeyama Islands gets 154 hours of sunny skies, while Dewa Sanzan receives 188 hours of full sun in the spring.

It's quite rainy in Yaeyama Islands. In April, Yaeyama Islands usually receives more rain than Dewa Sanzan. Yaeyama Islands gets 147 mm (5.8 in) of rain, while Dewa Sanzan receives 100 mm (3.9 in) of rain each month for the spring. The rainy season in Yaeyama Islands is May to June.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Yaeyama Islands 23°C (74°F) 
    Dewa Sanzan 9°C (47°F)

Typical Weather for Dewa Sanzan and Yaeyama Islands

Yaeyama Islands Dewa Sanzan
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 18°C (64°F) 120 mm (4.7 in) -1°C (30°F) 206 mm (8.1 in)
Feb 19°C (65°F) 113 mm (4.4 in) -1°C (30°F) 151 mm (6 in)
Mar 20°C (69°F) 126 mm (5 in) 2°C (35°F) 116 mm (4.6 in)
Apr 23°C (74°F) 147 mm (5.8 in) 9°C (47°F) 100 mm (3.9 in)
May 26°C (79°F) 231 mm (9.1 in) 15°C (59°F) 96 mm (3.8 in)
Jun 28°C (82°F) 203 mm (8 in) 20°C (67°F) 120 mm (4.7 in)
Jul 29°C (85°F) 179 mm (7 in) 23°C (74°F) 191 mm (7.5 in)
Aug 29°C (84°F) 236 mm (9.3 in) 25°C (77°F) 174 mm (6.8 in)
Sep 28°C (82°F) 229 mm (9 in) 20°C (68°F) 154 mm (6.1 in)
Oct 26°C (78°F) 173 mm (6.8 in) 13°C (56°F) 152 mm (6 in)
Nov 23°C (73°F) 170 mm (6.7 in) 7°C (44°F) 207 mm (8.1 in)
Dec 20°C (67°F) 134 mm (5.3 in) 2°C (35°F) 231 mm (9.1 in)


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