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

Should you visit Yaeyama Islands or Mashiko?

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 Mashiko. 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 serene, idyllic, and tropical archipelago. Many visitors also come because of it's amazing beauty. It's also popular because of the hiking, nightlife, and food.

Mashiko

Mashiko is a quaint, charming, and traditional town. This is a great small town that is just waiting to be explored. This is a quaint and attractive place to visit, too. It's also known for food, hiking, and shopping.

Yaeyama Islands and Mashiko: 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
  • Good for hiking
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Very walkable
  • Small town charm
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less popular with backpackers


Is there more to do in Yaeyama Islands or Mashiko?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Yaeyama Islands than Mashiko, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Yaeyama Islands is better known for its nightlife, resorts, scuba diving & snorkeling, beaches, hiking, and impressive beauty, while Mashiko is more popular for its museums, shopping, small town charm, and quaint atmosphere. Yaeyama Islands is well known for its jungle, tropical setting, and pristine beaches. Also, Yaeyama Islands is famous for Nishihama Beach. Mashiko is well known for its local sake, rural farms, and longstanding tradition in pottery making.

How is Yaeyama Islands different from Mashiko?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Yaeyama Islands
Mashiko

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

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.

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 Mashiko? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Yaeyama Islands
Mashiko

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

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.

Mashiko has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants around town that serve udon, soba, and other Japanese favorites that use local ingredients.

Is Yaeyama Islands or Mashiko Better for Nightlife?

Yaeyama Islands
Mashiko

Yaeyama Islands is a nice place to visit for its evening party scene. However, Mashiko is not known for nightlife.

If you're looking for night time activities Yaeyama Islands has a few options to choose from. The nightlife is laid back and relaxed. You can sip a cocktail and enjoy the view from your resort's bar.

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 Yaeyama Islands or Mashiko Better for Resorts?

Yaeyama Islands
Mashiko

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

Yaeyama Islands offers an unforgettable resort vacation. There are luxury international resorts as well as smaller upscale hotels. Many resorts are found on the largest island, Ishigaki.

Mashiko is not a resort destination.


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

Yaeyama Islands
Mashiko

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

Many visitors go to Yaeyama Islands to enjoy scuba diving and snorkeling. The islands offer great scuba diving and snorkeling with coral reefs and tropical fish as well as manta rays and pelagic fish.

Mashiko is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Is Yaeyama Islands or Mashiko Better for Beaches?

Yaeyama Islands
Mashiko

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

The beaches in Yaeyama Islands are among the best in 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.

Mashiko is not a beach destination.

Is Yaeyama Islands or Mashiko Better for Hiking?

Yaeyama Islands
Mashiko

Yaeyama Islands is a great archipelago for hiking. Also, Mashiko is not as popular, but is still a nice town for the nearby hiking options.

Many visitors go to Yaeyama Islands for the hiking trails. 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.

Plenty of visitors go hiking around Mashiko. 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.


Is the Shopping Better in Yaeyama Islands or Mashiko?

Yaeyama Islands
Mashiko

Mashiko is a well-known place for shopping. However, Yaeyama Islands is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Mashiko is an extremely popular place for shoppers. Local pottery is the main purchase in town, and there are many shops and local vendors who sell locally made pottery.

Yaeyama Islands is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Is Yaeyama Islands or Mashiko Better for Families?

Yaeyama Islands
Mashiko

Both Yaeyama Islands and Mashiko are great family-friendly destinations.

Yaeyama Islands is a very family-friendly place to visit. 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.

Because of its large number of kid-friendly activities, Mashiko is very family-friendly. 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 Yaeyama Islands or Mashiko Better for Couples?

Yaeyama Islands
Mashiko

Yaeyama Islands is a world-class destination for couples. Also, Mashiko is not as popular, but is still a nice town for romance.

Yaeyama Islands has so much to offer for a romantic couple's vacation. 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.

Mashiko is a very popular place to visit for couples. 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.


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

Yaeyama Islands
Mashiko

Mashiko 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.

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.

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 Mashiko a more walkable city?

Yaeyama Islands
Mashiko

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

Mashiko is very walkable. Many people choose to walk around town and the pottery area is about a 20 minute walk from Mashiko Station.

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 Mashiko Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Mashiko or Yaeyama Islands?

How long in Yaeyama Islands or Mashiko?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Yaeyama Islands or Mashiko to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in Yaeyama Islands than Mashiko 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 Mashiko.

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


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

One day in Yaeyama Islands or Mashiko?

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.

Mashiko is a small town with plenty to do. 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 Mashiko?

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.

Mashiko might be a small town, but there's plenty to do 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 Mashiko?

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.

Mashiko is a great place to explore. 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 Mashiko?

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 Mashiko is a small town, it's easily explored when your time is limited. 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.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Tokyo, The Best 10-Day Tours from Tokyo, The Best 2-Week Tours from Tokyo, and The Best Family-Friendly Tours to Japan.


Which place is cheaper, Mashiko or Yaeyama Islands?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Yaeyama Islands is $93, while the average daily cost in Mashiko is $64. 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 Mashiko in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Yaeyama Islands $54
    Mashiko $33
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Yaeyama Islands $108
    Mashiko $66
Compare Hotels in Yaeyama Islands and Mashiko

Looking for a hotel in Yaeyama Islands 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 Yaeyama Islands


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: Yaeyama Islands Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Yaeyama Islands $19
    Mashiko $11

Is it cheaper to fly into Yaeyama Islands or Mashiko?

Prices for flights to both Mashiko 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 $28
    Mashiko $23

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Yaeyama Islands $8.63
    Mashiko $8.87

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Yaeyama Islands $6.29
    Mashiko $5.13


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

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 Mashiko Expensive?.



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

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 Mashiko in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Yaeyama Islands as well as Mashiko. Many visitors come to Yaeyama Islands in the summer for the beaches, snorkeling, the hiking, and the family-friendly experiences. Additionally, most visitors come to Mashiko for the hiking, the small town charm, and the family-friendly experiences during these months.

In July, Yaeyama Islands is generally a little warmer than Mashiko. Daily temperatures in Yaeyama Islands average around 29°C (85°F), and Mashiko fluctuates around 24°C (75°F).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Yaeyama Islands this time of the year. In the summer, Yaeyama Islands often gets more sunshine than Mashiko. Yaeyama Islands gets 279 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Mashiko receives 130 hours of full sun.

It's quite rainy in Mashiko. Yaeyama Islands receives a lot of rain in the summer. Yaeyama Islands usually gets more rain in July than Mashiko. Yaeyama Islands gets 179 mm (7 in) of rain, while Mashiko receives 117 mm (4.6 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Yaeyama Islands 29°C (85°F) 
    Mashiko 24°C (75°F)

Should I visit Yaeyama Islands or Mashiko in the Autumn?

Both Mashiko and Yaeyama Islands are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. Most visitors come to Yaeyama Islands for the hiking trails and the natural beauty of the area during these months. Also, the autumn months attract visitors to Mashiko because of the hiking trails, the shopping scene, and the small town atmosphere.

Yaeyama Islands is much warmer than Mashiko in the autumn. The daily temperature in Yaeyama Islands averages around 26°C (78°F) in October, and Mashiko fluctuates around 16°C (60°F).

Yaeyama Islands usually receives more sunshine than Mashiko during autumn. Yaeyama Islands gets 177 hours of sunny skies, while Mashiko receives 133 hours of full sun in the autumn.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Mashiko. It's quite rainy in Yaeyama Islands. In October, Yaeyama Islands usually receives more rain than Mashiko. Yaeyama Islands gets 173 mm (6.8 in) of rain, while Mashiko receives 145 mm (5.7 in) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Yaeyama Islands 26°C (78°F) 
    Mashiko 16°C (60°F)

Should I visit Yaeyama Islands or Mashiko in the Winter?

Both Mashiko and Yaeyama Islands during the winter are popular places to visit. The winter months attract visitors to Yaeyama Islands because of the museums and the cuisine. Also, the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Mashiko this time of year.

It's quite cold in Mashiko in the winter. In the winter, Yaeyama Islands is much warmer than Mashiko. Typically, the winter temperatures in Yaeyama Islands in January average around 18°C (64°F), and Mashiko averages at about 3°C (38°F).

In the winter, Yaeyama Islands often gets less sunshine than Mashiko. Yaeyama Islands gets 97 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Mashiko receives 181 hours of full sun.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Yaeyama Islands. Yaeyama Islands usually gets more rain in January than Mashiko. Yaeyama Islands gets 120 mm (4.7 in) of rain, while Mashiko receives 44 mm (1.7 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Yaeyama Islands 18°C (64°F) 
    Mashiko 3°C (38°F)

Should I visit Yaeyama Islands or Mashiko in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Yaeyama Islands and Mashiko. The beaches and the natural beauty are the main draw to Yaeyama Islands this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Mashiko for the small town charm.

In April, Yaeyama Islands is generally much warmer than Mashiko. Daily temperatures in Yaeyama Islands average around 23°C (74°F), and Mashiko fluctuates around 12°C (53°F).

Yaeyama Islands usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Mashiko during spring. Yaeyama Islands gets 154 hours of sunny skies, while Mashiko receives 160 hours of full sun in the spring.

Mashiko receives a lot of rain in the spring. Yaeyama Islands gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In April, Yaeyama Islands usually receives more rain than Mashiko. Yaeyama Islands gets 147 mm (5.8 in) of rain, while Mashiko receives 118 mm (4.6 in) of rain each month for the spring. Also, May to June is the rainy season in Yaeyama Islands.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Yaeyama Islands 23°C (74°F) 
    Mashiko 12°C (53°F)

Typical Weather for Mashiko and Yaeyama Islands

Yaeyama Islands Mashiko
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 18°C (64°F) 120 mm (4.7 in) 3°C (38°F) 44 mm (1.7 in)
Feb 19°C (65°F) 113 mm (4.4 in) 4°C (38°F) 61 mm (2.4 in)
Mar 20°C (69°F) 126 mm (5 in) 6°C (44°F) 95 mm (3.7 in)
Apr 23°C (74°F) 147 mm (5.8 in) 12°C (53°F) 118 mm (4.6 in)
May 26°C (79°F) 231 mm (9.1 in) 17°C (62°F) 139 mm (5.5 in)
Jun 28°C (82°F) 203 mm (8 in) 20°C (68°F) 175 mm (6.9 in)
Jul 29°C (85°F) 179 mm (7 in) 24°C (75°F) 117 mm (4.6 in)
Aug 29°C (84°F) 236 mm (9.3 in) 26°C (78°F) 135 mm (5.3 in)
Sep 28°C (82°F) 229 mm (9 in) 22°C (71°F) 163 mm (6.4 in)
Oct 26°C (78°F) 173 mm (6.8 in) 16°C (60°F) 145 mm (5.7 in)
Nov 23°C (73°F) 170 mm (6.7 in) 11°C (51°F) 78 mm (3.1 in)
Dec 20°C (67°F) 134 mm (5.3 in) 6°C (42°F) 40 mm (1.6 in)


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