Ctripper posts come to us directly from the good folks at Ctrip, China's top online travel services provider (and proud sponsor of ChinaTravel.net). Stay tuned for Ctrip special offers, travel tips, news on new travel deals, tours and activities, and slices of life-in-China from Ctrip staff and interns. Here, Ctrip intern Kealy compares Shanghai and Tokyo at their best, from their public transportation methods, to their food culture, and even to their bathrooms, this face-off has it all.... >>>
I recently spent four days in Tokyo, exploring the city and experiencing a bit of Japanese culture. And having lived in Shanghai for three months now, I couldn’t help but compare the two iconic cities. After all, what’s more fun than a little friendly competition? So here are my thoughts on how these two “pearls of the orient” stack up in the areas that count:
I have only one thing to say about Tokyo’s various forms of public transportation: expensive! (Although, ‘confusing’ might be another apt description…). The city is criss-crossed by two different metro systems and transferring between them means buying another ticket. At anywhere from 130 to over 300 yen, ticket prices add up too. Most taxis start at 710 yen and easily add up to a final fare of several thousand. And trains aren’t much better, though the technology, cleanliness and professionalism of the system make the ticket price ever-so-slightly less painful. Shanghai, on the other hand, seems to offer the best of both worlds. Thanks to the Expo, Shanghai enjoys an extensive and relatively new subway network. Fares are almost always under 6 RMB and there is no charge for transferring lines. Though perhaps a bit more nerve-wracking way to travel, taxis start at around 12 RMB and rarely reach over 100 RMB within the city. Trains are also available and provide an affordable way to easily travel around the rest of China. It should be noted, however, that Tokyo gets major points for having padded subway seats.
I could rave for days about the hospitality of the people we encountered in Tokyo. All we had to do is stand there and look lost for a few minutes and someone would come up and offer to help. Not to say that the Shanghainese aren’t friendly, they just aren’t always the most open bunch.
More after the jump ...
My mouth automatically starts salivating at the thought of Japanese food— sushi, mochi, crepes, curry and miso soup… mmmm. You see, Japan, in general, seems to have mastered something that China still has not— striking a good oil-to-food-substance ratio. In fact, for the full four days I was in Tokyo, I never once wondered if I had accidentally ordered “oil with a side of vegetables” instead of just vegetables. Shanghai cannot be beat in the price department, however. And when it comes down to it, a 6 RMB street food meal in Shanghai beats out 500 yuan street food meal in Tokyo. Thus this is round is a tie.
Tokyo is famous for its unique, and often outlandish, style. Not to mention, the city has the reputation of famous fashion districts like Shinjuku and Shibuya going for it. Shanghai style, on the other hand, is often far from trendy, yet prices are next to nothing and markets are numerous and extensive. So, just like the previous round, I consider this round a tie.
Yes, as you might know from Becca's previous article on this topic, this does deserve it's own category. It’s not just a subcategory of cleanliness. Before moving to China, maybe it was; back when I thought a bathroom was a bathroom, and grimy gas stations were a thing to be feared. But now, I know the real truth: you can gild the lily all you want, but the real character of a city is revealed by the state of its bathrooms. And make no mistake, in this most revealing of criterion, Tokyo passes with flying colors. With their heated toilet seats, noise-masking sound machines and more buttons than a TV remote, Japanese toilets are in a league of their own (Editor's note: I swear one of them said my name). Especially impressive considering all they had to do to beat the average Shanghai toilet was provide toilet paper...