Japan or China?

Mar 31st, 2005, 06:31 AM
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Japan or China?

A friend wants to go to China or Japan with her husband. They want to know which country I would recommend - It is a tough call. I've been to both Japan and China several times & love things about both countries. I do have a personal preference towards one though, but I won't say.

In terms of culture, attractions, food, people, history, and all the things that make you visit a country, do you prefer Japan or China?

kittycatangel is offline  
Mar 31st, 2005, 07:33 AM
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I love them both and find them VERY different. What are these friends interested in? If it's art, gardens, a gorgeous aesthetic, I'd say Japan. if it's other things I'd say China. Really depends what kind of experience they are looking for.
glorialf is offline  
Mar 31st, 2005, 08:06 AM
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Are they going alone or on a tour? If the latter, and if they have never travelled in Asia, Japan may be a better first trip. More importantly if things like pollution, dirt, beggars, petty street crime, trains that donít run on time, etc, will affect how much they enjoy their trip, then they would probably prefer Japan as well. I love China, but it definitely has all those things while Japan is, well, Japan. I personally find the Chinese culture and its people more interesting than Japan.
Cicerone is offline  
Mar 31st, 2005, 08:30 AM
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Great question! I travel to both China and Japan numerous times.

I enjoyed both countries tremendously but I like China much more - this is my personal preference

Firstly, I find the Chinese people to be more openly friendly love and talkative. Japanese people, yes they are friendly and will help you if needed, however as a whole, they are very reserve people and it is hard to get beyond that layer of friendly courtesy. Japanese people really wont talk to you, unless you talk to them first. When I try speak my broken Chinese in China, most of the time, they will give me a HUGE smile, bright laugh and sometimes put their arms around me to talk. In Japan, that has NEVER happend when I spoke Japanese and my spoken Japanese is better than Chinese.

China is more chaotic and frenzied (trains dont run on time, people are loud, it's not organized well) but it is more REAL to me.

Japan is neat, organized and structured and pretty. But as a culture, deviation from the norm is not encouraged - it is a very homogenous culture and it's best not to stray from the norm (ie. change the set menu, have a garden out of place)

I love the craziness and randomness of Chinese living. However, if you like order and neatness, Japan will be for you.

Also, I find China to be mmore different and exotic. I'm not saying Japan isn't. It is, in its own right, but I find it to be very modern and westernized.

I love the aesthetics of Japan but China also has its beautiful mountside and greenery.

China has more historical sites (Great Wall, Forbidden Palace, Stoned Soldiers, etc) Japan's historic sites are nice but doesn't compare

Also China is less expensive than Japan to travel, which makes it a big PLUS.

In terms of food, I think they are on par with each other. Japanese food is great, Chinese food is great too

I have traveled to Japan and China over past 20 years and this is just my personal opinion.

TMM is offline  
Apr 1st, 2005, 12:23 PM
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Posts: 267
Thanks for everyone's feedback.

My friends are looking for culture, history and sites. A couple of places they have been and LOVED were Paris, Brazil, Honduras & Egypt and are opened to other cultures and differences.

Just wanted to get other people's feedback on first impressions of China or Japan and whether one or the other may or may not be ideal for first time visitors to Asia.
kittycatangel is offline  
Apr 1st, 2005, 12:58 PM
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As I said before I love them both and based on what you say about them it sounds like they would love both of them. So here's my thought.

If they have less than 3 weeks they should do Japan. If they have three weeks or more they should do China.
glorialf is offline  
Apr 1st, 2005, 05:11 PM
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I would also ask about their budget. Japan is very expensive. For a 3 week holiday in Japan I would budget at least 1.5 times what I would in China - and in China the same money will buy you better hotels and restaurants. I LOVED Japan. Tokyo was my discovery of this year and I am already planning a trip back to Kyoto. However I was a bit conscious of what i was spending there eg I tried to take the train unlike S'hai where I just hopped into taxis. Another comment I would make is re size. China is huge. Seeing even 5 cities Shanghai, Beijing, Guilin, Xian and HK means 5 (if they fly into S'hai and out of HK) average 2.5 hours flights between the places. Japan is much smaller. You can land in Tokyo then even traverse the country by train.
hobbes is offline  
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