Thinking of a river cruise either to Japan or China. Any advice to someone who has not visited this part of the world. Pros/cons to each place
Coming from the western part of the world both places are so different to what you are used to see and they differ a lot from each other. If you have time enough, why don't you consider to see both places?
I also did a round trip across China incl. a river cruise on Yanktse and it was so interesting and different from what I knew from Japan.
Have you travelled to Asia before? If not, Japan will probably be an easier country to travel in. I'm not aware of any river cruises in Japan, but I've seen cruises around the coast of Japan, and in the Seto Inland Sea. Or maybe you could try some of the special multi-day train tours in Japan:
Rivers in Japan are narrower than those in mainland China. There may be river cruise in Japan, but those are not what you see in the continent.
China is very different in regions, especially between northern and southern. Southern China is more or less like different countries from the perspective of language. I often notice local business people like taxi drivers who only speak local language, Cantonese, Hokkien, etc. or speak Mandarin with grammatical errors.
Only major river cruise in China is Yangtze...okay. isn't Europe.
Best way to see either country is by land. China is continental country, too big to see except by region or a site every day or two or three. Japan is not small either.
Spoken as someone who has lived in both countries.Edited: 06 August 2018, 20:37
China is no harder than Japan, and I 've found more Englsih spoken there than in Japan. China though is so huge that you can't consider it as one country. It is also extremely diverse from one province to the next. China is in general relatively cheap.
To be able to decide between Japan and China, I (personally) would want to write down what sort of things I wanted to experience, what my timescale was, time of the year, and then see which of Japan and various provinces in China came closest to my wishes.
Japan - 20 trips
China - 4 trips
We would say Japan - but it depends on what you want to see, how you want to travel, your budget, your time frame etc. I don't think we can really give you an answer. And, since you are asking this on the Japan forum... ;)
Yangtze cruise & cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo both interesting - choice would depend again on your interests and itinerary
If you want to see China, go to China; if you want to see Japan, go to Japan; it could be as simple as that. Go to Beijing for Beijng Duck (among other things), and go to Tokyo for Edomae-zushi (among other things).
I'm not sure how river cruises can work in China - it is a huge country, and obviously there are places that cannot be reached by ship/boat among the most popular sites. Cruises don't work that well with Japan either.Edited: 06 August 2018, 23:14
An advantage of cruises, including river ones, is that you and your luggage move. That's why Baltic sea or Greek Island or Rhine and Danube river cruises are great for travelers. In China, only the Yangtze works like that because Guilin-Yangshuo is not a "floating hotel" experience. There are around Japan cruises, but only superficial exposure to real Japan.
So either country is worth seeing depending on your interests, but both should be seen mostly by land.