Vietnam vs. Japan travel: 2 Amazing Destinations, 1 Ultimate Choice!

Are you craving an adventure that will tickle your senses and leave you with unforgettable memories?

Yes? Well, you’re in luck! Vietnam and Japan, two remarkable destinations in Asia, offer travelers a plethora of captivating experiences.

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From the wealth of cultural heritage to delectable cuisine, breathtaking vistas, and quaint little towns that are living memories of antiquity, these countries have it all.

But when it is time to choose between these 2 amazing destinations, Vietnam vs Japan, how do you decide?

Let’s compare the two and see which one between them is the better option.

VietnamJapan
CultureWarm, vibrant, traditionalTraditional, disciplined, ritualistic, harmonious
CuisineKnown for its fresh, vibrant, and diverse flavors. 
It combines a variety of ingredients, including herbs, vegetables, seafood, and meats, to create a harmonious and balanced taste.
Uses fresh, high-quality ingredients, meticulous preparation, and presentation that balances flavors, textures, and aesthetics.
Ease of Communication English proficiency has been on the rise due to tourism and international business. Challenges in communication for those who don’t speak Japanese.
TransportationHeavy traffic congestion, limited train services, rely heavily on motorbikesExtensive, efficient, punctual, clean, and well-maintained
BudgetBudget-friendlyCostly
Best time to visitAutumn (September to November) and Spring (February to April)Year-round

Vietnam vs Japan – What sets them apart

If you’re looking for a beach vacation with delicious seafood, Vietnam may be the perfect choice. If you’re interested in ancient traditions and modern technology, Japan may be more your speed.

Let’s check both destinations and find out what’s unique and unforgettable about them.

Vietnam

Vietnam is a country located in Southeast Asia, known for its beautiful beaches, bustling cities, and vibrant culture. Here are some places you should visit while in Vietnam.

Ha Long Bay 

A boat is in the water near a group of rock formations.

Ha Long Bay offers a combination of natural wonder, cultural richness, and recreational opportunities that make it a must-visit destination in Vietnam.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is known for its stunning limestone karsts and islets rising dramatically from emerald waters, creating a surreal and picturesque landscape that feels straight out of a postcard.

The bay is not only stunning above water but also beneath the surface. Its waters are home to diverse marine life, including coral reefs, colorful fish, and rare species. It’s a paradise for snorkelers and scuba divers.

Beyond the natural beauty, Ha Long Bay has historical significance as well. It was once the site of ancient battles and is rich in legends and myths that add to its allure.

Hoi An 

This ancient town is another UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the most well-preserved historic towns in Southeast Asia.

The town’s architecture reflects a fusion of Vietnamese, Chinese, and Japanese influences, with its narrow winding streets, ancient houses, and atmospheric lantern-lit evenings. It’s like stepping back in time.

While Hoi An borders boasts some stunning beaches like An Bang and Cua Dai its surrounding countryside is dotted with rice paddies and small villages. You can explore these areas by bicycle or motorbike, giving you a glimpse into rural Vietnamese life.

Hoi An is also famous for its tailor shops. You can have custom-made clothing, including suits, dresses, and shoes, at very reasonable prices.

To top that off, the town is a food lover’s paradise. Hoi An’s cuisine is a delicious blend of Vietnamese, Chinese, and European flavors. Don’t miss out on iconic dishes like Cao Lau and White Rose Dumplings

Hoi an - hoi an - hoi an - hoi an - hoi an - hoi an -.

Ho Chi Minh City 

Ho Chi Minh City is the economic and cultural hub of Vietnam.

Here, you’ll find Chinese temples, Indian markets, French colonial architecture, and a unique fusion of local and international influences in the city’s food, art, and architecture.

You will never run out of things to do in Ho Chi Minh City.

From Ben Thanh Market to Binh Tay Market in Chinatown, the city is a shopper’s delight. You can find everything from clothing and souvenirs to fresh produce and Vietnamese coffee.

It also offers an array of cultural performances, including traditional water puppet shows, opera, and live music. These experiences provide insights into Vietnamese culture and art.

You should also enjoy its renowned street food scene. Sidewalk vendors and open-air markets serve up a variety of delectable dishes like pho, banh mi, and fresh spring rolls. Exploring the local food stalls is a culinary adventure in itself.

At night time, visit one of the stylish rooftop bars that dot the city’s skyline as they offer breathtaking views of the cityscape. You’ll definitely enjoy your cocktail while taking in the panoramic sights.

Japan

Japan is an island nation located in East Asia, known for its unique blend of ancient traditions and modern technology. Make sure to visit these places while in Japan.

Tokyo 

A chinese garden is reflected in a pond.

This megacity is the most populated city in the world and offers a mix of traditional and modern attractions, such as the iconic Shibuya Crossing and the ancient temples Senso-ji in Asakusa and Meiji Shrine located in the heart of the city, offering a serene contrast to the urban landscape.

The city is also home to several world-class museums, including the Tokyo National Museum, the Mori Art Museum, and the Ghibli Museum, which celebrate Japan’s rich cultural heritage and contemporary art.

Meanwhile, the Harajuku district is a fashion mecca, famous for its unique street fashion and colorful Harajuku style. It’s a place where you can witness the creativity of Tokyo’s youth culture.

Additionally, it hosts numerous cultural festivals throughout the year, such as the cherry blossom festivals in spring and traditional Obon festivals in the summer. These events provide insights into Japanese customs and traditions.

What makes everything even better is that despite being a sprawling metropolis, Tokyo has its share of green spaces. Ueno Park, Yoyogi Park, and Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden offer oases of tranquility and natural beauty in the heart of the city.

Don’t worry about transportation, Tokyo’s public transportation system is renowned for its efficiency and punctuality. The city’s extensive network of trains and subways makes it easy to explore every corner of the metropolis and its surrounding areas.

Kyoto 

Kyoto is the former imperial capital of Japan. This ancient city is known for its well-preserved architecture, beautiful gardens, and historic temples.

It is often referred to as the cultural heart of Japan and is brimming with UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including temples, shrines, and palaces. Kinkaku-ji (the Golden Pavilion), Ginkaku-ji (the Silver Pavilion), and Fushimi Inari Shrine are just a few examples of the city’s historical treasures.

Kyoto is also well known for its meticulously designed Zen gardens, where tranquility and beauty converge. Ryoan-ji Temple’s rock garden and the moss gardens of Saiho-ji Temple are exquisite examples of this art form.

The cityscape of Kyoto is a picturesque blend of traditional machiya houses, wooden teahouses, and well-preserved historic neighborhoods like Gion and Higashiyama. Walking through these areas is like stepping back in time.

Kyoto hosts a variety of cultural events and festivals throughout the year, including Gion Matsuri, one of Japan’s most famous festivals. These events provide a unique opportunity to witness traditional customs and rituals and are the best time to experience Japan’s kimono culture.

If you enjoy outdoor activities, don’t fret, Kyoto has something for you too.

Kyoto is surrounded by beautiful natural landscapes, including the scenic Higashiyama Mountains. Hiking trails, tranquil riverbanks, and picturesque gardens are within easy reach of the city center.

Hiroshima 

A building with a dome and cherry blossoms in the background.

Hiroshima is a city in western Japan, that holds a unique and profound place in world history and is a testament to the indomitable human spirit.

While it is most notably known historically for its tragic atomic bombing, it has since emerged as a symbol of peace, hope, and resilience.

You can visit Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park which is located at the epicenter of the atomic bomb’s explosion. It is a place of deep reflection and remembrance.

It includes the iconic A-Bomb Dome, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which stands as a stark reminder of the devastation caused by nuclear weapons. The museum offers a comprehensive and moving insight into the events of the atomic bombing, its consequences, and the broader message of peace.

In contrast to the somber history you can learn at the museum, Shukkeien Garden is a beautiful and peaceful place to visit. Its name means “shrunken scenery garden,” and it features meticulously designed landscapes, bridges, and tea houses.

After visiting the popular tourist spots in Hiroshima, don’t forget to try its unique style of okonomiyaki which is different from the version found in other regions of Japan. This savory pancake that includes layers of noodles, vegetables, and meat or seafood.

Since you are already in Hiroshima, why not visit Miyajima Island?

Located just a short ferry ride from Hiroshima, Miyajima is home to the iconic Itsukushima Shrine and its “floating” torii gate, one of Japan’s most famous and photographed landmarks.

The island also offers hiking, nature trails, and opportunities for interaction with tame deer.

All things considered, Hiroshima is a great place to visit.

Vietnam vs. Japan travel: Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages of visiting Vietnam

  • It boasts of beautiful beaches and picturesque landscapes
  • Offers delicious food, especially street food
  • Low cost of travel and accommodation
  • Rich history and culture
  • Friendly and welcoming locals
An aerial view of a city at dusk.

Disadvantages of visiting Vietnam

  • Crowded and chaotic cities.
  • Poor infrastructure outside major cities.
  • Limited language proficiency among locals.
  • Health and safety risks due to poor hygiene and traffic hazards.

Advantages of traveling to Japan

  • Fascinating blend of traditional customs combined with modern innovations
  • Highly efficient and reliable public transportation.
  • Excellent food, including world-renowned sushi, ramen, and okonomiyaki.
  • Low crime rate and safe environment for tourists.
  • Well-maintained and clean infrastructure.

Disadvantages of traveling to Japan

  • High costs are associated with travel expenses, including accommodation costs. However, you always have the option to use Airbnb instead of a hotel.
  • Language barriers for non-Japanese speakers.
  • Crowded tourist attractions and cities.
  • Strict cultural norms and etiquette to observe.

Have you made up your mind on which country to visit? Or are you also thinking about which better country to go to? How about we pit Japan versus Taiwan? That would be a great match!