A Travel Price Comparison for Japan Yaeyama Islands vs. Koyasan for Couples, Attractions, Hiking, and Families

Should you visit Yaeyama Islands or Koyasan?

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 Koyasan. 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 tropical, pristine, and luxurious archipelago. The famous beauty of this place is one of the main draws. And you can't forget about the food, scuba diving and snorkeling, and beaches.

Koyasan

Koyasan is a spiritual, traditional, and peaceful town. This is a great small town that is just waiting to be explored. It's a gorgeous place to visit. It's also known for food, hiking, and museums.

Yaeyama Islands and Koyasan: 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
  • Less walkable
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Scenic old town
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Very walkable
  • Small town charm
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife


Is there more to do in Yaeyama Islands or Koyasan?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Yaeyama Islands. Although Yaeyama Islands and Koyasan are popular destinations, Yaeyama Islands has more sights and attractions for tourists. Yaeyama Islands is very popular for its nightlife, resorts, scuba diving & snorkeling, beaches, hiking, and impressive beauty, while Koyasan attracts visitors for its museums, historical sights, and small town charm. Yaeyama Islands is famous for its jungle, tropical setting, and pristine beaches. It is also well known for Nishihama Beach. Koyasan is famous for its temple complex, spiritual history, and being the birthplace of Shingon Buddhism in Japan.

How is Yaeyama Islands different from Koyasan?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Yaeyama Islands
Koyasan

Koyasan is a well-known place for its sights and museums. However, Yaeyama Islands is not a good archipelago for its museums and history.

Visitors can fill many days exploring the museums and attractions around Koyasan. This spiritual destination is filled with temples. Some of the most notable are Okunoin Temple, Torodo Hall, Kongobuji Temple, Danjo Garan, and Daimon (the Great Gate).

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 Koyasan? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Yaeyama Islands
Koyasan

Local dishes at restaurants are fun to try in both Yaeyama Islands and Koyasan.

Yaeyama Islands offers number of good local restaurants to choose from. 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.

Koyasan has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. There are cafes in town that serve simple udon noodle dishes and other local options. If you do a temple stay, it will likely include a meal, which is usually vegetarian and prepared by Buddhist monks. A typical menu includes miso soup, soba, pickled vegetables, tofu, tempura vegetables, rice, tea, and melon. Breakfast is similar but smaller in size.

Is Yaeyama Islands or Koyasan Better for Nightlife?

Yaeyama Islands
Koyasan

Yaeyama Islands is a good destination for nightlife and partying. However, Koyasan is a town with minimal options for its evening party scene.

Yaeyama Islands has an active nightlife scene for those who seek it out. The nightlife is laid back and relaxed. You can sip a cocktail and enjoy the view from your resort's bar.

The nightlife scene is quiet in Koyasan This spiritual town is not a place for nightlife, but it is fascinating to take a night tour of the area.

Is Yaeyama Islands or Koyasan Better for Resorts?

Yaeyama Islands
Koyasan

Yaeyama Islands is a world-class destination for its resorts. However, Koyasan is not a resort destination.

Vacationers flock to Yaeyama Islands for its luxury resorts. There are luxury international resorts as well as smaller upscale hotels. Many resorts are found on the largest island, Ishigaki.

Koyasan is not a resort destination.


Is Yaeyama Islands or Koyasan Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Yaeyama Islands
Koyasan

Yaeyama Islands is a great destination for its diving and snorkeling. However, Koyasan is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

There are many scuba diving and snorkeling spots near Yaeyama Islands. The islands offer great scuba diving and snorkeling with coral reefs and tropical fish as well as manta rays and pelagic fish.

Koyasan is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Is Yaeyama Islands or Koyasan Better for Beaches?

Yaeyama Islands
Koyasan

Yaeyama Islands is a world-class destination for the beache. However, Koyasan is not a beach destination.

Yaeyama Islands offers stunning beaches that attract visitors from around the world. 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.

Koyasan is not a beach destination.

Is Yaeyama Islands or Koyasan Better for its Old Town?

Yaeyama Islands
Koyasan

Koyasan is a well-known place for its historic old town. However, Yaeyama Islands does not have a historic old town.

There are many historical things to see in the old town of Koyasan. The town center is filled with spiritual temples and many people prefer to do a temple stay for a night.

Yaeyama Islands does not have a historic old town.


Is Yaeyama Islands or Koyasan Better for Hiking?

Yaeyama Islands
Koyasan

Yaeyama Islands is a great destination for its hiking experiences. Also, Koyasan is still popular, but not quite as popular for hiking.

You'll find a nice variety of hiking trails around Yaeyama Islands. 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.

Koyasan is a good destination for hiking. Most people arrive by cable car, but this area has been a long running pilgrim destination and you'll find many historic pilgrimage trails that are still in the area. The Koyasan Choishi Michi trail is one of the most well known.

Is Yaeyama Islands or Koyasan Better for Families?

Yaeyama Islands
Koyasan

Yaeyama Islands is a great destination for its family-friendly activities. Also, Koyasan is still popular, but not quite as popular for its kid-friendly activities.

Yaeyama Islands is a very kid-friendly archipelago. 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.

Koyasan offers lots of family activities. It's filled with history, so its best to recognize your kid's limits when it comes to that sort of thing. If you're planning to do a temple stay, then consider how your child might handle the situation and make sure you reach out to let them know you have a child before reserving.

Is Yaeyama Islands or Koyasan Better for Couples?

Yaeyama Islands
Koyasan

Yaeyama Islands is a world-class destination for its romantic activities. Also, Koyasan is still popular, but not quite as popular for couples.

Yaeyama Islands is fantastic couple's destination with fun and romantic activities. 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.

Koyasan is a great archipelago if you're traveling as a couple. A temple stay in Koyasan is a truly unique experience that immerses you in the culture and lifestyle of the area. It's a truly one-of-a-kind experience for couples who like to do things outside of the box.


Is Yaeyama Islands or Koyasan Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Yaeyama Islands
Koyasan

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

Plenty of backpackers visit Koyasan. It's not your typical backpacker destination and most visitors prefer to experience a temple stay while in the area. If that's not your style, there is a hostel nearby.

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 Koyasan Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Yaeyama Islands
Koyasan

Koyasan is a good destination for its public transit. However, Yaeyama Islands is not a good archipelago for times when you don't have a car.

Koyasan has a few public transit options. To get to town you'll take a cable car and then a bus (or taxi, but you can't walk). Once you're in town, almost everything is in the town center and doesn't require transit.

Public transit is mostly 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.

Is Yaeyama Islands or Koyasan a more walkable city?

Yaeyama Islands
Koyasan

Koyasan is a well-known place for its walkability. However, Yaeyama Islands is not a good archipelago for its high level of walkability.

Koyasan is very walkable. Once you reach the town its relatively flat and easy to explore on foot.

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


For even more information, also check out Is Yaeyama Islands Worth Visiting? and Is Koyasan Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Koyasan or Yaeyama Islands?

How long in Yaeyama Islands or Koyasan?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Yaeyama Islands or Koyasan to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in Yaeyama Islands than Koyasan because of the number of activities and things to do in the area. Usually, 3-5 days is a good amount of time for Yaeyama Islands, and 1-2 days is enough time in Koyasan.

Families should spend more time in Yaeyama Islands than Koyasan. 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 Koyasan. 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 Koyasan 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 Koyasan.


  • How many days in Yaeyama Islands or Koyasan? Ideal Length of Stay
    Yaeyama Islands 3-5 
    Koyasan 1-2

One day in Yaeyama Islands or Koyasan?

In Yaeyama Islands, you'll find scuba diving and snorkeling and nightlife. Travelers enjoy the resorts in the area as well. One reason most visitors come is for the beaches. This archipelago offers something for everyone. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

Koyasan is a small town with plenty to do. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One day is usually enough time to experience most activities.

A weekend in Yaeyama Islands or Koyasan?

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

Koyasan might be a small town, but there's plenty to do in the area. Most visitors spend time around the old town 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 Koyasan?

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

Koyasan is a great place to explore. Visiting the old town is also a must. This town offers something for everyone. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything.


A week in Yaeyama Islands or Koyasan?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Yaeyama Islands. Many people enjoy the scuba diving and snorkeling and nightlife when visiting Yaeyama Islands. One reason most visitors come is for the beaches. It's also a relaxing resort destination. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.

Since Koyasan is a small town, it's easily explored when your time is limited. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. 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, Koyasan 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 Koyasan is $80. 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 Koyasan in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Yaeyama Islands $55
    Koyasan $40
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Yaeyama Islands $110
    Koyasan $80
Compare Hotels in Yaeyama Islands and Koyasan

Looking for a hotel in Yaeyama Islands or Koyasan? 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 Koyasan


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 Koyasan Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Yaeyama Islands $19
    Koyasan $34

Is it cheaper to fly into Yaeyama Islands or Koyasan?

Prices for flights to both Koyasan 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
    Koyasan $20

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Yaeyama Islands $8.85
    Koyasan $13

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Yaeyama Islands $6.45
    Koyasan $5.02


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Yaeyama Islands and Koyasan, we can see that Yaeyama Islands is more expensive. And not only is Koyasan much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Koyasan would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Koyasan 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 Koyasan.

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 Koyasan Expensive?.



When is the best time to visit Yaeyama Islands or Koyasan?

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 Yaeyama Islands or Koyasan in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Yaeyama Islands and Koyasan. The summer months attract visitors to Yaeyama Islands because of the beaches, snorkeling, the hiking, and the family-friendly experiences. Furthermore, the hiking, the small town charm, and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Koyasan this time of year.

In the summer, Yaeyama Islands is around the same temperature as Koyasan. Typically, the summer temperatures in Yaeyama Islands in July average around 29°C (85°F), and Koyasan averages at about 27°C (81°F).

In Yaeyama Islands, it's very sunny this time of the year. Yaeyama Islands usually receives more sunshine than Koyasan during summer. Yaeyama Islands gets 279 hours of sunny skies, while Koyasan receives 183 hours of full sun in the summer.

Koyasan receives a lot of rain in the summer. Yaeyama Islands gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In July, Yaeyama Islands usually receives more rain than Koyasan. Yaeyama Islands gets 179 mm (7 in) of rain, while Koyasan receives 156 mm (6.1 in) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Yaeyama Islands 29°C (85°F) 
    Koyasan 27°C (81°F)

Should I visit Yaeyama Islands or Koyasan in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Yaeyama Islands as well as Koyasan. The hiking trails and the natural beauty of the area are the main draw to Yaeyama Islands this time of year. Additionally, many travelers come to Koyasan for the hiking trails, the small town atmosphere, and the natural beauty of the area.

In October, Yaeyama Islands is generally a little warmer than Koyasan. Daily temperatures in Yaeyama Islands average around 26°C (78°F), and Koyasan fluctuates around 19°C (65°F).

In the autumn, Yaeyama Islands often gets more sunshine than Koyasan. Yaeyama Islands gets 177 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Koyasan receives 159 hours of full sun.

It's quite rainy in Koyasan. Yaeyama Islands receives a lot of rain in the autumn. Yaeyama Islands usually gets more rain in October than Koyasan. Yaeyama Islands gets 173 mm (6.8 in) of rain, while Koyasan receives 105 mm (4.1 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Yaeyama Islands 26°C (78°F) 
    Koyasan 19°C (65°F)

Should I visit Yaeyama Islands or Koyasan in the Winter?

Both Koyasan and Yaeyama Islands are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. Many travelers come to Yaeyama Islands for the museums and the cuisine. Also, many visitors come to Koyasan in the winter for the museums and the cuisine.

Yaeyama Islands is much warmer than Koyasan in the winter. The daily temperature in Yaeyama Islands averages around 18°C (64°F) in January, and Koyasan fluctuates around 6°C (42°F).

Yaeyama Islands usually receives less sunshine than Koyasan during winter. Yaeyama Islands gets 97 hours of sunny skies, while Koyasan receives 140 hours of full sun in the winter.

It's quite rainy in Yaeyama Islands. In January, Yaeyama Islands usually receives more rain than Koyasan. Yaeyama Islands gets 120 mm (4.7 in) of rain, while Koyasan receives 45 mm (1.8 in) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Yaeyama Islands 18°C (64°F) 
    Koyasan 6°C (42°F)

Should I visit Yaeyama Islands or Koyasan in the Spring?

Both Koyasan and Yaeyama Islands during the spring are popular places to visit. Many visitors come to Yaeyama Islands in the spring for the beaches and the natural beauty. Also, most visitors come to Koyasan for the small town charm and the natural beauty during these months.

In the spring, Yaeyama Islands is much warmer than Koyasan. Typically, the spring temperatures in Yaeyama Islands in April average around 23°C (74°F), and Koyasan averages at about 15°C (59°F).

In the spring, Yaeyama Islands often gets less sunshine than Koyasan. Yaeyama Islands gets 154 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Koyasan receives 176 hours of full sun.

Koyasan 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 more rain in April than Koyasan. Yaeyama Islands gets 147 mm (5.8 in) of rain, while Koyasan receives 135 mm (5.3 in) of rain this time of the year. May to June is the rainy season in Yaeyama Islands.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Yaeyama Islands 23°C (74°F) 
    Koyasan 15°C (59°F)

Typical Weather for Koyasan and Yaeyama Islands

Yaeyama Islands Koyasan
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 18°C (64°F) 120 mm (4.7 in) 6°C (42°F) 45 mm (1.8 in)
Feb 19°C (65°F) 113 mm (4.4 in) 6°C (42°F) 57 mm (2.3 in)
Mar 20°C (69°F) 126 mm (5 in) 9°C (47°F) 102 mm (4 in)
Apr 23°C (74°F) 147 mm (5.8 in) 15°C (59°F) 135 mm (5.3 in)
May 26°C (79°F) 231 mm (9.1 in) 19°C (67°F) 139 mm (5.5 in)
Jun 28°C (82°F) 203 mm (8 in) 23°C (74°F) 208 mm (8.2 in)
Jul 29°C (85°F) 179 mm (7 in) 27°C (81°F) 156 mm (6.1 in)
Aug 29°C (84°F) 236 mm (9.3 in) 29°C (84°F) 97 mm (3.8 in)
Sep 28°C (82°F) 229 mm (9 in) 25°C (76°F) 162 mm (6.4 in)
Oct 26°C (78°F) 173 mm (6.8 in) 19°C (65°F) 105 mm (4.1 in)
Nov 23°C (73°F) 170 mm (6.7 in) 13°C (55°F) 62 mm (2.4 in)
Dec 20°C (67°F) 134 mm (5.3 in) 8°C (46°F) 35 mm (1.4 in)


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