Let’s start by introducing ourselves because I’m not alone this time, and it’s something new. I wanted to do this collaboration for a long time, and let’s hope we will have plus one soon.
Ajan.Rena: Thanks for having me here; I couldn’t resist this topic, although I’m not 100% a travel blogger. But I hope that some of my intel and ideas will help people considering the same question.
Sudrabfox: You are welcome; it’s refreshing to have somebody with me while composing the pros and cons of two popular destinations.
We both had some time in both destinations and could share our experiences and feelings.
Ajan.Rena: Sure, let’s start it! I’m eager to know what point you chose for this comparison. As a big fan of Kyoto and a frequent flyer to that destination, you have better intel than me. We should advocate for our favorite destination, and after learning about you for some time, I can confidently say that you will “go” for Japan.
Sudrabfox: *laughs* I don’t play favorites, but you are correct. I hoped you would choose China coz you have lived in Beijing for some time.
There are many Asian countries to explore and enjoy. Choosing between them can be a big challenge. Many Asian countries share some similarities, yet they all have unique lifestyles, cultures, and identities.
For an unforgettable Asian experience, Japan vs. China are two countries to visit. They both have a lot to offer, each one having its advantages. If you’re trying to choose between them, we’re here to help. This post will look at key aspects of China and Japan travel to help you make the “right” choice.
What are some similarities and differences between China vs. Japan?
Ajan.Rena: Ok, let’s start. China is the world’s most populous country. It’s home to an astonishing total of over 1.4 billion people. Japan, meanwhile, is home to about 125 million people. China is about 25 times larger than Japan in terms of physical size.
This means more ground to cover and places to explore in China. But size isn’t everything. Japan might be smaller, but it’s still an extraordinary place. Known as ‘The Land of the Rising Sun,’ Japan is home to historic temples and modern cities.
China is also a place that fuses both the old and the new. It has some of the oldest and most awe-inspiring temples and ancient sites. Equally, it has many modern, almost futuristic cities like Shanghai and Beijing.
China is the world’s most populous country.
Sudrabfox: Agreed, although ‘The Land of the Rising Sun’ is smaller than China, yet still home to about 125 million people.
Sitting in the Pacific Ocean and comprised of several islands, Japan is a rich, varied, vibrant destination. It’s a place where you can feel like you’ve teleported into the future as you explore the streets of Tokyo. The next day, you can travel back to the past and tour the country’s old shrines and castles.
Ajan.Rena: China is also a place that fuses both the old and the new. It has some of the oldest and most awe-inspiring temples and ancient sites. Equally, it has many modern, almost futuristic cities like Shanghai and Beijing. China is the world’s most populous country.
Sudrabfox: Both of these countries share some similarities. They both honor the past and embrace the future. They can both appeal to a wide range of travelers.
How much would it cost to travel to Japan vs. China? Is Japan expensive? Is China expensive?
1 USD = 6.48 Chinese Yuan
1 USD = 104.23 Japanese Yen
More cost-conscious vacation destination Travel costs are almost double compared to China.
Average daily costs are $50 – $60 (USD)
Average daily costs are $100 (USD) upwards
The first thing many people think about when planning a trip is the budget. For some, money is no object. But for most people, money matters when traveling. Many people must plan vacations with care to ensure they can afford everything. So how does Japan vs. China compare when it comes to costs?
Ajan.Rena: If money is your number one factor, China is the best choice. Japan is quite an expensive place to travel to. In fact, general daily travel costs in Japan can be about twice as high as what you would expect to pay in China.
Accommodation is more expensive in Japan, with minimum hotel rates of around $60 per night. In China, you can find a hotel at half that price. Food is also more expensive in Japan on average. However, both countries have a lot of street food vendors offering cheap and tasty treats.
Sudrabfox: Overall, average daily costs in Japan are upwards of $100 per traveler. A bottle of water costs almost twice as much in Japan, and public transport is more expensive. In China, you can spend about $50-60 per day and still have a great time.
Are hotels nicer in China vs. Japan? Are hotels more cost-effective in China?
Ajan.Rena: Good question; it depends on your preferences, but let’s start with famous choices if you are willing to spend a lot of money in China.
Highly rated hotels, according to Booking.com, are:
The Langham, Shanghai, Xintiandi; New World Beijing Hotel; Lan Hotel (Kuanzhai Alley); Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou
For starters, China has a lot of basic, budget hotels. These places will typically offer relatively small and simple rooms. They usually have Wi-Fi access and basic amenities. We’ve seen that accommodation is cheaper in China.
There are also many hostels around China for young travelers or those on a budget. The big cities offer more options in terms of high-end hotels. And yes, I treated myself once by staying in New World in Beijing, and that was PRICE; it was absolutely a treat.
But if you’re visiting the rural regions of China, they often only offer a few choices. So please plan ahead, or you will be stuck like I was.
Sudrabfox: Japan is more of a ‘westernized’ nation with more options in terms of accommodation. You’ll find a lot of private rentals around big cities like Tokyo. These places allow you to stay in an authentic local home and enjoy all the usual comforts.
For hotels, there are both Western-style and traditional Japanese options. Standard Western-style hotels offer great amenities and large rooms for travelers.
Highly rated hotels, according to Booking.com, are: in Japan
Hiyori Hotel Osaka Namba Station ; Mitsui Garden Hotel Kanazawa
The Thousand Kyoto; TSUGU by The Share Hotels;
What’s the weather like in Japan vs. China, and when is the best time to visit these countries?
Ajan.Rena: The best times to visit China, weatherwise, are in the spring, from April to May, and in the autumn, from September to October. It is important to note that much of China doesn’t vary drastically from season to season, so it won’t affect your travels.
One advantage of China is its size. Since it’s such a large country, you can always find warm and sunny places. Southern China is always sunny, with lots of hot days and summer-style activities. If you prefer cooler weather, the northeastern country has cold, snowy winters.
There are even particular winter and ice festivals in the northern regions of China. So, there’s always a good time to visit. Plus, China is so vast that you don’t need to worry about huge crowds of tourists everywhere. You can always find a place that is less busy than the others.
Sudrabfox: Japan has scorching summers and freezing winters, so the best time to visit is right between the two, from March to May and September to November. Sometimes, we have to plan our vacations at specific periods of the year. This can be due to a variety of reasons like school and work. It can affect the destinations we choose, as the weather conditions vary significantly throughout the year.
In Japan, it’s a different story. Japan is much smaller than China and mostly has the same weather. It has four distinct seasons, like many other countries. In winter, Japan can have a lot of snow and cold temperatures.
Springs and falls are quite mild in Japan. Summers can be warm but only especially hot if you visit the southern parts. Many people flock to Japan during the ‘shoulder months’ on either side of the summer-like April, May, September, and October.
April is very popular in Japan. This is when ‘cherry blossom season’ occurs, in which Japan’s famous cherry trees blossom beautifully with lots of pink petals. This is a great time to visit, but it’s bustling. May and early fall are the best moments to avoid the crowds and still get mild temperatures.
What’s the best way to get around when visiting China or Japan? How good is public transportation in each country?
Ajan.Rena: In China, things are much more relaxed. Since the country is a lot bigger, journey times are longer. You can only hop around and see some of the cities you want to see during a one or two-week trip. However, if you do choose to travel, the trains are reliable. They’re old and conventional, needing more modern amenities of modern alternatives.
However, new Chinese bullet trains are helping to speed up transport across the nation. You can also find cheap domestic flights between big cities around China. Also, the rules for walking around are more relaxed. If you are a tourist, you won’t get stopped or punished for jaywalking in China. People move more freely and casually around the cities. This helps to provide a more laid-back pace of life.
Sudrabfox: Japan leads the world in its public transport. The nation is famous for its ‘bullet trains. ‘These trains are the fastest in the world. They move at incredible speed, and they’re always on time. This makes getting around Japan very simple. You can easily travel between cities and even hop around the different islands.
In cities like Tokyo, the metro systems also make it easy to get around. It would be best if you were careful on the streets, however. Jaywalking is often punished, and the streets can be super busy. The rules are strict, and there are even special agents to push people into trains during rush hour periods. This means that getting around Japan is easy but can be quite stressful.
What are the most beautiful places in Japan vs. China (other than the obvious Beijing or Tokyo)?
Ajan.Rena: Cammon, that’s the obvious type of a question, I know that you can do better than that *giggles*, But the algorithm loves it.
Sudrabfox: You are absolutely correct, my young padawan.
Ajan.Rena: Are you quoting Yoda on me?! Are you kidding?
Sudrabfox: Surprise, surprise, sometimes I’m also a geek.
But returning to the topic, only sometimes will your favorites be the other person’s best. Let’s make a two-parter in this post and a two-parter for our suggestions. But returning to the question, to each their own.
Ajan.Rena: Agreed. According to Google and other blogs, China’s top pics are Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, Guandzou, Xi’an.
As for me, that would be Zhouzhuang, Jinan, Guiyang, Nanjing, and Hongcun.
China is about 25 times bigger than Japan, meaning there is much more land to explore. Each corner of the land is different and diverse and offers so much variety for tourists. Zhouzhuang is a beautiful water town often considered the “Venice of the East.” The 900-year-old town is filled with pretty waterways and charming stone bridges, and let’s not forget historic attractions like Zhang Ting – a sprawling residence dating back to the Ming Dynasty with over 70 rooms and 6 courtyards. Afterward, spend your holidays in the mist-shrouded foothills of the Huangshan Mountain in the ancient Anhui village of Hongcun. Much of the town is recognized on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites; check out some of the finest examples of architecture dating back to the Ming and Qing Dynasties or take in the ornate stone and wood carvings at the Chengzi Hall Museum. You might recognize your surroundings from the famous Hollywood movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Other places of interest in China to keep in mind include the Three Pagodas of Chongsheng Temple in Dali, the breathtaking coastline views of Gulangyu Island, and the idyllic town of Tongli.
Sudrabfox: According to Google and other blogs, Japan’s top places are Tokyo, Osaka, Kobe, Nara, and Kyoto. My top are Kyoto, Kamakura, Hida-Takayama, Hakone, and Naha.
Japan has strikingly diverse landscapes for a small nation ranging from golden-sand beaches lined with palm trees to snow-capped mountains high in the sky. If you’re looking to spend your time in a picturesque village that transports you to another era, then Hida-Takayama, or “Little Tokyo,” as it is lovingly called, is the place for you. Oozing with old-fashioned Japanese charm, this mountainside destination houses a historic district lined with traditional-style wooden buildings. You can walk through the riverside market on the mountainside foothills or relax with some sake in a classic Japanese-style inn. If you’d like to spend time outdoors but away from the hustle and bustle of the city, then head to the rolling forest landscape of Kamakura. Less than an hour’s drive from Tokyo, Kamakura has everything you need for a quick getaway. You can spend your time there relaxing on sandy beaches, wandering through old wooden homes filled with charm, or taking in all of the centuries-old Buddhist temples, historic shrines, and museums scattered around the city. Other not-so-obvious places of interest worth exploring in Japan are the lavender fields of Furano, the active volcano in Kagoshima, and the hot springs of Hakone.
Ajan.Rena: Interesting choice; you chose historical places; how about Nikko? I thought that it was your favorite?
Sudrabfox: you are correct; it still is, but you need to think more touristy; not all people like to visit religious places. Let’s finish the first part of our comparison if you have nothing to add to this topic.
Ajan.Rena: Let’s wrap it down; we did a pretty good job for this part.