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.

Continuing our debates about which country is more enjoyable with gamer/lifestyle blogger Ajan.Rena

Is China safer than Japan or vice versa?

China vs. Japan is generally both very safe countries to visit and have never been recognized otherwise, such as Brazil or Columbia. A traveler’s chances of coming across any issues are meager, and you’ll most likely enjoy your vacation without a single incident. Though tourism-related crime is very low in both countries, it is essential to note that Japan also has a much lower crime rate in general and is safer overall.

Staying safe while traveling should be your number one priority, and both China and Japan have proven to be amazing destinations of choice. While visiting either of these countries, you don’t have to worry about your things being stolen. Or your hotel room being broken into, or anything drastic like being mugged or robbed. Travelers have also shared how safe they feel walking alone in both the daytime and at night in several research studies.

Are there more fun things to do in Japan vs. China? What are the best attractions in China and Japan?

China The Great Wall of China, Forbidden City, Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum, The Bund, Summer Palace, Tiananmen Square

Japan: Mount Fuji, Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, Kinkaku-ji Temple

Tokyo Skytree, Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, Universal Studios Japan, Tokyo DisneySea

So, what can you do in China vs. Japan? The activities and attractions of these two Asian culture countries are very unique and special. 

aerial photography of green trees near forbidden city
Forbidden City

Ajan.Rena: China is home to one of the most iconic landmarks in the world: The Great Wall of China. A long, historic, incredible wall, the Great Wall is a fantastic place to visit.

There are lots of temples and historical hotspots in China. You can check out the Forbidden City, Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum, the Temple of Heaven, and Tiananmen Square. 

So, what can you do in China vs. Japan?

The activities and attractions of these two countries are very unique and special. China is home to one of the most iconic landmarks in the world: The Great Wall of China. A long, historic, incredible wall, the Great Wall is a fantastic place to visit.

You can also explore beautiful natural spaces like Jiuzhai Valley National Park and the Tiger Leaping Gorge. There are also some vibrant inner-city areas like Nanjing Road in Shanghai or Wangfujing in Beijing.

temple
Kiyomizu-dera temple

Sudrabfox:  Japan also has a lot of historical and traditional sites. Examples include the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shinto shrine and the Kiyomizu-dera temple. The Senso-ji temple is another famous site, and Osaka Castle is a must-visit location.

Japan also has a lot of beautiful natural areas. Arashiyama forest is very famous for its monkeys and bamboo shoots. Travelers can visit Mount Fuji, snapping photos from afar, or hike up the mountain with their friends.

The big city of Tokyo can almost be considered an attraction too. It’s a city like no other. It has its own Disneyland, entire neighborhoods dedicated to arcade games and anime, theme restaurants, and much more. Or you can visit old shrines one moment and modern skyscrapers the next.

What are the traditional foods and drinks you must try in China vs. Japan?

China: Hotpot, Sichuan pork, Shrimp with vermicelli and garlic, Dumplings, Chow Mein, Peking Roasted Duck
Japan: Ramen, Okonomiyaki, Udon, Sushi, Yuba, Sake

Many people travel to enjoy new foods and drinks. Visiting a different country and enjoying brand-new flavors can be thrilling. It’s always exciting to try local delicacies and traditional dishes too. 

noodles soup with meat on bowl

Ajan.Rena:  That’s true; food travel is my favorite one, but if I remember correctly, you try every Kaiseky restaurant you see advertised.

Well, we’ve already mentioned that food is cheaper in China. It’s also a little less healthy overall. A lot of Chinese dishes are prepared in woks and fried. They often involve a lot of oils and sauces. You’ll find almost everything served with noodles and rice in China.

Many people are familiar with Chinese foods in their own countries, so you can find dishes you know while exploring China. The quality can vary greatly, depending on where you dine. Out in the rural areas, you might discover local restaurants and unique traditional delicacies. The big cities have major fast food chains and restaurants of different styles. It’s easy to find fantastic food in China.

white scoop on white ceramic bowl

Sudrabfox: The same can be said for Japan as well. Japanese cuisine involves less reliance on sauces and oils. Many foods are served raw in Japan. There’s a big focus on seafood. You’ll find lots of sushi and fish dishes in typical Japanese restaurants. Japanese chefs use special flat pans called teppans that allow them to grill food on the outside and keep it raw in the center.

This technique can create some unique flavors. However, if you’re picky about food and don’t like eating things raw, you might not like Japanese cuisine so much. Fortunately, big cities like Tokyo have all kinds of restaurants offering Italian, French, American, Korean, and other cuisine styles.

What should I pack when going to China or Japan?

Other than the usual things you’d pack while traveling, there are some specific things to take to China vs. Japan that will be useful during your trip. One thing to remember while packing your clothes is that washing machines are very common in China and Japan but dryers are more challenging. Unless you’re staying at a place with full laundry facilities, you’ll want to pack clothes that air dry quickly. Also, if you’re going to China, keep in mind where you’re going. Because China is so large and expansive, you may come across freezing cold snowstorms and hot desert landscapes all in one 10-day-long holiday. There is a drastic difference in sizes compared to the United States and China or Japan, so pack everything you need clothes-wise; a medium in ladies’ clothes is probably large or extra-large at shopping malls.

Major metropolises like Beijing or Tokyo are very westernized and fashionable regarding what you’d feel comfortable wearing in public. Though you will likely not be questioned no matter what you wear throughout the country, you should keep in mind that many distant villages are more modest in their clothing. This is especially true if you plan on visiting any religious, historic sites or temples during your visit, so you should make sure you have a long skirt wrap, pants, or a shawl to cover any bare shoulders while there. Pack warm pajamas since central heat won’t be found in many places.

Other general things to pack when visiting Japan vs China include a convertible charger, personal toiletries, and any medicines you need on a regular basis.

What languages will I come across in Japan vs China?

China: Mandarin, English, Hunanese, Cantonese, Hakka Dialect, Wu Dialect

Japan: Japanese, English, Ryukyuan languages

Ajan.Rena: In major cities, you can communicate with store vendors and others you come across in English. Both countries strongly focus on education, and you’ll find that most people can speak English perfectly. That said, it’s best to remember that you are a foreigner on their land and that you should respect whatever language locals choose to communicate in. In China, the official language is Mandarin, and more than 70% of the population speaks it. You may come across other significant dialects, like Hunanese, Cantonese, the Hakka dialect, or the Wu dialect.

Sudrabfox: Japanese is the widely spoken language throughout Japan though there are many different dialects throughout; the dialect spoken in Tokyo is considered standard Japanese. You may also come across 14 other Ryukyuan languages spoken in Okinawa and neighboring Ryukyu islands.

Keep in mind that internet usage is restricted in both countries and that you may want to download a translator app before your travels to help you communicate what you need. You can use one of these many language-learning apps that fellow travelers have tried and tested.

What unique customs should I be aware of while in China vs. Japan?

woman in yellow coat with black crossbody bag closing her eyes
esina on Pexels.com

Certain Japanese vs Chinese customs might shock foreigners but are considered the norm in that part of the world. Knowing what you’re walking into is always best before deciding which country to travel to.

Sudrabfox: For example, in Japan it’s considered rude to blow your nose in public – so if you’re usually a little sniffly, you may opt for China instead. You may also notice that you don’t come across the number 4 a lot. Many hotels don’t have room number 4 and restaurants don’t have table number 4. This is because many Japanese are highly superstitious and believe that the number four is bad luck – similar to how we view the number 13 in the United States. Speaking of restaurants, the Japanese believe that it is preposterous to pour your own drink – you just have to hope that the person or people you’re with (or the waiter or waitress) notice that your glass is empty and pour it for you.

Ajan.Rena: There are some Chinese customs you’re sure to come across during your travels that will also surprise you. For example, don’t be appalled when other diners let out a huge burp after a hearty meal – it’s considered a sign of gratitude and appreciation for the food served. While in a restaurant in China, know that it is inappropriate to place your chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice; similarly, don’t wave them around when making hand gestures. While tipping is common in major cities, it is considered impolite and offensive in other parts of the country.

Which Japanese festivals should you attend? Which Chinese festivals are the most fun?

China: Chinese New Year, China’s Lantern Festival, Qingming Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, Double Seventh Day, Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival

Japan: Yuki Matsuri (Sapporo Snow Festival), Omizutori (Sacred Water Drawing Festival) , Gion Matsuri, Aomori Nebuta Matsuri, Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri, 

China and Japan are full of so much culture and tradition and being a part of it is an experience that visitors cherish for the rest of their lives. If none of the other aspects are deal breakers when choosing either one or the other, you may want to pick whether to visit China or Japan based on what festivities are occurring at the time.

people woman art girl

Sudrabfox: In Japan you’ll want to attend the Gion Matsuri in July; the festival is considered the mother of all Japanese festivals and lasts the entire month. You’ll see float processions, parades in costume, and much more. Another Japanese festival you won’t want to miss is Yuki Matsuri, also known as the Sapporo Snow Festival and it happens for an entire week in either January or February. There are tons of cultural shows, concerts, and intricate snow and ice sculpture competition that attracts over two million visitors annually.

stalls selling chinese new year decorations on the side of the street
on Pexels.com

Ajan.Rena: in China, it’s the annual Chinese New Year celebrations that you will want to attend. The Lantern Festival is traditionally held on the last day of the New Year and is something you’ll want to schedule your travel decisions around. It lasts around 15 days and has many activities like detailed fireworks displays, dragon dances, dumpling workshops and stands, and much more.

Final Verdict of China vs. Japan – Is China or Japan the better country to visit?

Ultimately, both Japan vs. China are amazing vacation destinations and travel sites. The right choice for you depends on your personal preferences and tastes. Your budget is also another significant factor to consider. Food, accommodation, travel, and activities are all cheaper in China. China is the best choice if you want to get the best value from your trip and make every dollar count.

China has some genuinely iconic landmarks and monuments, like its Great Wall. However, Japan has the thrilling metropolis of Tokyo and dozens of ancient temples. Many Westerners enjoy the high standards of public transport and dining in places like Tokyo and Kyoto. The quality of life is also better overall in Japan.

Whichever country you choose, you can make many happy memories there. China has the advantage of its size and weather. You can visit almost any time of the year and have a terrific time. Japan is also enjoyable throughout the year, but tourists will need to cope with cooler weather and snow in winter. In the end, the choice is yours.

If you like this and have some suggestions and advice on posts about Japan vs. China, let us know by commenting below. 🙏

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