Ben Collier, works at Lloyds Banking Group (2013-present)
I’ve been to Tokyo twice and Shanghai just once, spending a fair amount of time in each. For me, Tokyo takes the win for the following reasons:
- The Japanese people are typically very welcoming and friendly. I have had great experiences with Chinese people, but found the warmth and friendliness of Japanese people to be almost overwhelming.
- The History and culture. Again, this is a close one, but I think Tokyo has done a better job of preserving it’s past both in terms of physical buildings and within the contemporary arts scene. Shanghai museum is fantastic, as is the colonial waterfront, but there is very little that remains of historic Shanghai. Everything felt very modern, but in areas certain a little soulless.
- The food. I love the thousands of tiny Japanese restaurants dotting the backstreets; you get a real feel of being somewhere unique and, obviously, it tastes great. Shanghai has much less of a food culture.
- The infrastructure. Tokyo’s metro and transport system is slightly more modern and functional and the traffic seems to flow much better. Shanghai has the feeling of growing too big too quickly.
- The look/feel of each city. Tokyo is genuinely beautiful and retains a distinctly Japanese feel everywhere you go. The streets are immaculately clean, mostly well-planned, and there is a lot of open space, parks etc. I spent hours per day just walking around Tokyo and always discovered something new and interesting. Shanghai has beautiful areas and some nice parkland, but it does not come close to that of Tokyo; it felt quite Western to me, comparatively dirty and had the pervading feeling of runaway urbanisation.
Delong Tsway, Been to China and Japan.
I am Chinese so I am biased for Shanghai however I have been to both cities and will try to give an objective analysis as best I can. In terms of architecture I like Shanghai better partly because there’s a lot of european buildings and so the city gives me a romantic feel similar to Paris. There’s a reason why Shanghai is called the Paris of the East. Shanghai I think has more water to it although I could be wrong about this. But at least it feels that way. Rivers and water gardens permeate the city. It creates a very dreamy romantic feel for me which I like.
However in terms of futuristic technology I’ll have to give this one to Tokyo. They’re really good at that stuff and it’s no use denying it. They have some traditional Buddhist stuff to but it doesn’t seem like most people visiting the city care about it. I’m really impressed with the technology of Tokyo and also how greenery is infused with the city.
In terms of culture I’m obviously biased towards Chinese. Japanese culture in my honest opinion is just super weird. It’s too much to go into this post but Japanese culture I don’t think it’s healthy. I’m willing to admit China is not that much better in this regard. But it’s still not Japanese level weirdness. In my opinion comparing China to Japan is like comparing an ogre to a snake. They’re both bad but at least one of them is not a snake. (And I’m talking about japan)
So all in all I choose Shanghai but I’ll acknowledge that Tokyo is a really cool city regardless of how weird Japanese people are.
Jasmine Wang, lives in Shanghai (2009-present)
Personally, I’d pick Tokyo. While i do like anime, that isnt why I’d pick Japan. I currently live in Shanghai, so this may caused a baised opinon bc I haven’t truly lived there(I stayed there for a month). I’d pick tokyo over Shanghai because of how clean it is and how polite people are. The pm2.5/AQI in Shanghia can get really bad—one time it literally was off the charts. Architecturally, Tokyo has much prettier buildings. In my personal opinion, China in general has lost their architectural touch.
However, that is not to say Shanghai isn’t great as well. Honestly speaking, in Shanghai, you can find any type of food and there is always something to do. Also, there are so many forms of entertainment in Shanghai, such as jump360, interactive games, lazer tag, the list goes on. Another benefit of Shanghai, or China in general, is Taobao.
Xu Lucy, studied at China
Given your comment to the question I suggest you to change the question to one of the followings
Why do you like Shanghai? (I don’t)
Which part of Shanghai’s culture do you like to most? (Been there a few times but don’t know the place enough to answer the question. It has better infrastructure than most Chinese cities but I don’t think that’s part of its culture. )
What are some competitive advantages of Shanghai comparing to Tokyo? (Higher GDP growth rate, maybe)
Yuki Fujinari, Half japanese/half german.
As a half-Japanese, I might be biased.
Ofcourse I would choose to rather live in Tokyo. Tokyo is basically the first city that comes to anyones mind, when you say “big city” or even “Mega City”.
But ofcourse as I know Tokyo as well as my pocket, I have a fascination for Shanghai.
Its bigger in size and in buildings and looks futuristic. I definitely would say Shanghai is superior to Tokyo, but I think it depends on the deciding factors you choose