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Old 01-02-2018, 05:49 PM
 
Location: Elko, NV
474 posts, read 775,418 times
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We did a cruise to see both; we flew to Shanghai, spent 3 days in Shanghai then did a 6 day cruise to Japan visiting Kumamoto, Kochi, and Miyazaki. Enjoyed both, but loved Japan; we're in the process of booking a 3 week trip to Japan for our 30th birthdays in 2019.

Quote:
Originally Posted by prospectheightsresident View Post
As much as I don't have any true desire to return to China (I was in Beijing back in August of 2008 for the Olympics), I'd voluntarily return there over Japan in a heartbeat. The food is much better in China vs. in Japan IMO and food is the most important aspect of travel for me; I build everything around food! Funny enough, I'm actually about to land in Japan now (travel here frequently for work). Not looking forward to the cold that awaits me!
We had the opposite experience. Food in Shanghai was decent, but nothing fantastic (except for one dumpling shop we found in the Yu Yuan district of Shanghai). Japan, on the other hand, we ate until we were full and then wanted to keep eating. Couldn't get enough of the food in Japan.

That being said, we are planning a trip to Singapore and Malaysia next month and I've heard that they have some of the best food in the world. Really looking forward to that.
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Old 01-08-2018, 12:50 PM
 
9,622 posts, read 13,535,350 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prospectheightsresident View Post
As much as I don't have any true desire to return to China (I was in Beijing back in August of 2008 for the Olympics), I'd voluntarily return there over Japan in a heartbeat. The food is much better in China vs. in Japan IMO and food is the most important aspect of travel for me; I build everything around food! Funny enough, I'm actually about to land in Japan now (travel here frequently for work). Not looking forward to the cold that awaits me!
Japan is colder than Pittsburgh right now? The Northeast USA had single degree temps this week...
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Old 01-08-2018, 02:11 PM
 
2,771 posts, read 1,580,324 times
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Been to both countries several times, and found it's easy to book a three city trip (home, Tokyo and Beijing or Shanghai) for not much more money.

Beijing, IMHO, is much less interesting than it used to be after they tore down most of the Hutongs in advance of the Olympics, but it still has some wonderful places, Temple of Heaven on a weekend being my favorite - full of life in a way you can't believe. Forbidden City will be all you've read. Shanghai has its beauty spots, but not in the same way as Beijing. More like NYC, with lots of business and residential buildings interspersed with sights.
,m
Remember that the rest of China is huge, and flying anywhere will use 1/2 day or more. I'd focus on only a few places, such as Beijing and one other area for a week or so (Beijing itself easily needs several days, especially if you go to the great wall. That would be a whole day.

Japan is a gem, my favorite in Asia because of its inherent beauty and high standards for services. And it is no longer that expensive, no more than comparable places in the US (i.e. Tokyo $$$$, just like NYC or London or any other major city, smaller places $ or$$)

Kyoto and Tokyo would pretty well fill up the other 1/2 of a trip.

I can't emphasize enough that the flights over are long and tiring, so don't over-schedule on your arrival.
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Old 01-08-2018, 05:58 PM
 
Location: Was Midvalley Oregon; Now Eastside Seattle area
4,286 posts, read 1,960,989 times
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My older sister (visiting Dad, 98) and I think we will do Japan in March. She also suggested Xian as a quick side trip from Shanghai. She's going to investigate flights. We are both West Coast and I or she will need to get to airport of departure; SF0, SEA, VAC.

Son went to Japan in January, 2017. He says that you can pickup a college student guide at the train station for the price of a meal.
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Old 01-08-2018, 08:11 PM
 
Location: Cebu, Philippines
4,577 posts, read 1,754,225 times
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I mentioned this min a similar post a while ago. The plane fares to China are much cheaper than to Japan, and if you want a stopover, the price gets really high. So buy a RT ticket to China, and a separate side trip to Japan, which will be by far the cheapest, and will give you great flexibility in scheduling. Go to Japan and then back to China whenever you want.

There might even be Chinese tour companies that have very cheap tour packages to Japan, whicn would be cheaper still. But if you can't confirm the existence of cheap tours, better your RT add on China-to-Japan before you go.

Spend your first and/or last night in Japan at the big Narita View hotel, only $40 with free shuttle to airport and to Narita town train station.
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Old 01-08-2018, 10:09 PM
 
Location: Out there somewhere...a traveling man.
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I've been to both China & Japan. Japan was by far the most beautiful and colorful country. Friendly helpful people, they love Americans. Great food, not afraid to eat. Kobe beef is fantastic.
Japan can be costly if you don't watch your budget.

China has great historical places to msee dating back 1000's of years, many temples and antiquities. The tour trip to the popular Great Wall out of Bejing is a fun trip with some other sight seeing stops along the way. The Imperial Palace is a must see and just about everyone wants to see the infamous Tiananmen Square. Food is a mish mash, some oddities may not appeal to you. American style food is always available in the larger cities.
Bejing is one of the smoggiest cities in the world so beware and wear face masks. You'll see them all over the area. I caught a sinus infection in Bejing. Out of Bejing the air it's much nicer.
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Old 01-09-2018, 07:11 AM
 
2,771 posts, read 1,580,324 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cebuan View Post
The plane fares to China are much cheaper than to Japan, and if you want a stopover, the price gets really high.
Really? One example for April from Boston: to PEK non-stop RT (I highly recommend non-stop if you can get it for long flights) $686 on Hainan airlines. Bos-Tokyo-PEK-Bost is 1006. A little more than $300 more. Is that really high?
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Old 01-09-2018, 08:39 AM
 
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My wife and I went to Japan last year. Based on our research, the best time to go is January-mid-May, and then in the Fall. It gets crazy expensive once the summer hits and allegedly the humidity is awful. If it's not too late, I would definitely look into going in March-April, they're really big on the Cherry Blossoms and they last about a week or two. I've never been to China, but Japan is pretty awesome. When we got back, we were like "we're never doing this again" and then as the months went by and we start looking at our pics, it really grows on you and we'd like to go back eventually. We had no problems with the country, it's safe, clean, transportation is amazing, we just had issue with how long the flights are especially coming from the East Coast.

I highly recommend flying into Haneda instead of Narita, and flying from Chicago. As far as how expensive it is, like any trip, you can make it as cheap or as expensive as you'd like. They have Ramen for a few bucks USD, or kobe beef for a few hundred USD.
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Old 01-09-2018, 03:27 PM
 
Location: Lake Forest Round Rock, Tx
1,024 posts, read 1,672,082 times
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I recommend Japan, hands down. Of course, I'm biased because I grew up in Japan, and I am half Japanese. I just returned from Japan last week, and it was SO hard to leave. As others have said, it's safe, clean and you will receive exceptional service everywhere. You won't have much trouble communicating because many people speak English, and Romaji (Japanese words written in alphabet) will help you read signs, names of train stations, etc.


You can get a tiny taste of China in Chinatown in Yokohama. We hung out there for a day eating and shopping.


I always stay for a minimum of two weeks to make it worthwhile. Jetlag might slow you down a bit when you first arrive.
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Old 01-09-2018, 05:05 PM
 
Location: Cebu, Philippines
4,577 posts, read 1,754,225 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbear99 View Post
Really? One example for April from Boston: to PEK non-stop RT (I highly recommend non-stop if you can get it for long flights) $686 on Hainan airlines. Bos-Tokyo-PEK-Bost is 1006. A little more than $300 more. Is that really high?
That's with a free stopover in Tokyo, right?
For $280 you can add a side trip PEK-NRT with a lot more flexibility of dates.
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