Hong Kong is a city that dazzles you with its glitz and glamour. Every corner of the city offers something to marvel at. And every street teems with an endless list of things to do to keep you busy.
Meanwhile, Tokyo wows tourists with its urban vibrancy and futuristic charm. At the same time, it indulges culture vultures with its wealth of centuries-old heritage.
What these two cities have in common is their endless list of things to see and do. But they’re distinct cities that offer their allures in different flavors. Get to know them more below and see which bustling city suits your trip best!
Tokyo is an enchanting city of contrasts, where ancient traditions and ultramodern cultures meet. This medley finds its way into Tokyo’s endless allures, from the cityscape to its art scene. There’s no place on Earth like Tokyo, and if you’re wondering why so many stand in awe of the city, you’ll see why below.
What Makes Tokyo Unique?
Get a Glimpse of the Future and of the Past in One Day
Whether you’re a fan of the ultramodern or a lover of all things historical, you’ll have both on your trip to Tokyo. This frenzied and vibrant megacity has plenty of well-preserved buildings that show you its rich heritage. With this, going around Tokyo feels like you’re traveling back in time and transporting yourself into the future.
Most old structures in the city are temples and shrines sprinkled across Tokyo. And if you want to visit the oldest one, head to Shofukuji temple, which dates back to 1407.
This beautiful wooden building still stands today after enduring war, fire, and more. Yet, it’s a well-preserved wonder and is one of the country’s best examples of Kamakura Period architecture.
You’ll find plenty more of these historical landmarks throughout Tokyo. Some of which are castles, like the Imperial Palace and the Edo Castle. You can even visit Yanesen, a historical area that preserves its old-world charm in this modern, urban sprawl.
But once you’ve gotten a feel of old Japan, it’s easy to come back to the sleek, modern-day city of Tokyo.
Tokyo’s architectural scene is quite competitive. Thus, you’ll find a plethora of buildings here full of character, not the usual boxy structure you’d expect.
If structures that look like they touch the sky fascinate you, Tokyo won’t disappoint. Tokyo Tower is one of the tallest in the city, and its distinctive design resembles Paris’ Eiffel Tower. But this tower is nothing compared to the Tokyo Skytree, one of the tallest of its kind in the world!
If you’re looking for more unique structures, you have plenty of options here.
Nakagin Capsule Tower is one of the most peculiar structures in the city. This rare sight is one of the only remaining examples of Japanese Metabolism design.
Then there’s the Audi Forum, which is also called “The Iceberg” as it looks like a massive, blue crystal. SunnyHills turns heads for its quirky facade of crisscross wooden lattice.
Thrilling Cultural Experiences of the Old and New
Tokyo’s eclectic cityscape isn’t the only way the city shows its fascinating juxtaposition of the old and new. The city has a plethora of thrilling experiences. Get acquainted with its past or dive into its pop culture, Tokyo does both well!
Experience Well-Preserved Traditions
It’s no surprise that the geisha is one of the best-known things about Japanese culture. With their grace and sophistication, they have entertained patrons since the 17th century. It’s hard to see these elusive beauties on the streets, thus, if you want a geisha experience, you’d have to watch a performance!
If that’s not in the cards for you, why not transform into a geisha yourself? Not only can you rent a kimono in Tokyo, but a professional can also do your hair and makeup. Once you’ve turned into a modern-day geisha, you can take pictures in the studio too!
If you want to see more action, watch an exciting sumo tournament! Not only is it the country’s national sport, but it’s a living example of ancient practices today too. Several elements of this sport are centuries-old, such as the traditional attire and the use of top knots.
Dive Into the Fascinating Pop Culture
Modern Japanese culture is just as famous, and it’s even taken the world by storm. From anime, manga, and even its subcultures in fashion, there’s plenty to discover here.
Marvel at the fashion-forward crowds of Harajuku or get the latest tech while you indulge the anime lover in you at Akihabara. You may find the city’s pop culture centered around several cool districts such as these two. But they’re not the only places to be in.
You can munch on an Eevee-shaped burger or Pikachu pasta dish at Pokémon Cafe. Ride around the city wearing a Mario or Princess Peach costume on a go-cart. Explore a whimsical Ghibli world at the Ghibli museum, and more!
Explore Tokyo’s Delightfully Eclectic Mix of Museums
Tokyo’s stark yet fascinating contrasts continue to reveal themselves in the 100 museums in the city. Covering a broad range of topics, there’s a museum here that’s right up your alley. From sophisticated spaces to the strange and bizarre, Tokyo is the place to be for museum lovers.
For a classic museum experience, there’s no better place to start than the Tokyo National Museum. This is the city’s oldest, and it’s the place to be for a crash course on Japanese art. Its extensive collection of works includes centuries-old ceramics, samurai swords, and more.
Tokyo is also home to masterpieces by celebrated Western artists at the National Museum of Western Art. Here, you’ll find pieces from Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Paul Cézanne, and more!
Tokyo also offers a wealth of out-of-the-ordinary museum experiences too. And you’ll find them in the most incredible, ultramodern creative spaces.
Take the teamLab museums for example, which are both famous for their immersive approach to art. In teamLab Borderless, you’ll explore a digital art museum where light displays dance and shapeshift around you. At teamLab Planets, you can climb a waterfall, move colorful balls as you go, and explore a floating flower garden.
But some of the most memorable experiences you can have here are in Tokyo’s unusual and fun museums!
Hit two birds with one stone and taste the best ramen all over Japan at Shinyokohama Ramen Museum. Take fun pictures with visual illusions at Tokyo Trick Art Museum. Or see how renowned sculptors around the world turn sand into works of art at the Sand Museum.
Tokyo’s museums get even stranger than this though.
Head to Meguro Parasite Museum where you can marvel at 30000 parasite specimens. Go on a trip underground at Sapporo Sewerage Science museum for free. Or explore a poop-themed world through arcades and art at the Poop Museum!
Let This World-Famous Culinary Mecca Tickle Your Tastebuds
Foodies from around the world come to Tokyo to get a taste of its sublime culinary scene. The wide-ranging food scene here features the best local and regional dishes on top of international cuisine.
The locals’ commitment to excellence is evident in the city’s renowned food scene. And because of this, Tokyo has over 200 Michelin-starred restaurants, the most of any city in the world. This is more than the Michelin-starred restaurants of Pris and New York combined!
On the other end of the spectrum, Tokyo has countless affordable dining options. You’ll get a more intimate and authentic dining experience at local markets, hidden food alleys, and small eateries. If you don’t know where to go, just pick a place that’s crowded with locals and you’ll know the food is great there!
Thus, you can dine like royalty here on a budget, without sacrificing the food quality. Get all the ramen, sushi, and Japanese dishes you want here everywhere. In a city that’s committed to excellent food, what you’re eating is more important than where you’re going.
For a memorable gastronomic adventure in Tokyo though, you’d have to try the city’s specialties. Being the political center, Tokyo had a strong influence on Japanese cuisine. And while these may be standard dishes today, there’s no better place to taste them than where they came from:
- Nigiri sushi: This is one of the most popular varieties of sushi. It consists of a hand-pressed rice ball topped with various kinds of fresh seafood. Get these from conveyor belt sushi places or Michelin-starred restaurants!
- Tempura: This food consists of fish, veggies, and other ingredients dipped in batter. It’s then deep-fried to perfection in a mix of sesame and vegetable oil!
- Unagi no Kabayaki: Enjoy a dish of grilled skewered eel, basted with a sweet soy sauce concoction. You can eat this throughout the country. But Tokyo’s version is special in that the eel is both steamed and grilled, giving it a soft, fluffy texture.
Come Out and Play After Dark in This Neon-Lit Wonderland
Head out at night and you’ll discover Tokyo’s fun-loving and laid-back alter ego at night. The city is a far cry from its prim and proper counterpart, and when the sun sets, the city becomes a night owl’s paradise. When you’re in Tokyo, you’ll get to have fun in one of the most exciting nightlife cities in the world.
Here, you can hit two birds with one stone and start your night drinking and eating in a cozy izakaya. Head out and start drinking away at a tachinomi stand bar. And then let your hair down and dance the night away at a colorful nightclub to the beats of the best DJs in town.
There’s great variety in Tokyo’s ever-evolving night scene. And there are countless venues to choose from here, no matter where your interests lie.
At the heart of Tokyo’s night scene is Shibuya. This district is brimming with neon-lit streets, where clubs, arcades, karaoke bars, and more, don’t know what a closing time is!
To the north of Shibuya is another incredible nightlife hub, Shinjuku. From wild izakayas, buzzing beer bars, lively gay hubs, and more, there’s plenty of fun to be had here. Shibuya is also home to Tokyo’s famous nightlife district, Kabukicho. From there, you’ll reach Shinjuku Golden Gai, a maze of narrow alleys packed with tiny bars!
Electrifying midnight revelry continues in the Roppongi district. Another vibrant hub, Roppongi feels like a mishmash of various nightlife venues. You’ll find western-style pubs, sophisticated jazz venues, chic bars, and more here!
The vibrant city of Hong Kong pulsates with an infectious energy. There’s never a dull moment here, especially since it offers endless adventures. With incredible food, stunning temples, enchanting natural beauty, and more, Hong Kong is a memorable city.
What Makes Hong Kong Unique?
Exciting Gastronomic Adventures at Every Corner
Hong Kong is a city made for and built by passionate foodies. Incredible and mouthwatering food is what you can expect here in one of Asia’s food capital. And in a city with strong international influence, Hong Kong offers a delightful medley of eastern and western flavors.
Cantonese cuisine may be dominant here in Hong Kong. But this city is where delicacies from the mainland and cuisine from around Asia and Europe come together. But you’ll find them served with Hong Kong’s unique and creative flair.
But if you want a taste of home, Hong Kong is full of restaurants serving authentic cuisines too. Whether you want a taste of Japanese, Korean, Thai, or African dishes, your tastebuds can tour the world in one area.
Because of its zinging food scene, the city attracts renowned chefs from around the world. Hong Kong’s competitive food scene has brought about over 70 Michelin-star restaurants.
In most cities, you need deep pockets to dine at a Michelin-approved restaurant. But this isn’t the case in Hong Kong, as it’s the home of one of the world’s cheapest Michelin-star restaurants, Tim Ho Wan. Here, you can feast like a king with a wide selection of tasty delights, running from stinky tofu to poutine!
But Hong Kong’s famous food scene doesn’t revolve around these upscale dining options. Instead, the local restaurants you’d find along the streets are the heart of the city’s food scene. And when you’re in Hong Kong, there are too many hidden gems to count.
With the countless restaurant options here, the hardest part of dining in Hong Kong is choosing where to eat. But in a city so dense with high-quality eateries, you can get by just knowing what you want to eat.
There’s Always Something to See and Do in Hong Kong
There’s a never-ending buzz in the vibrant and colorful streets of Hong Kong. There’s always something going on here in the city. And in each corner you’ll turn, there’s always something to marvel at.
Hong Kong has a busy event calendar that caters to everyone’s interests.
Exciting gatherings here occur annually, where the whole city comes together to celebrate. Visit during February and you’ll find locals dressed as dragons and lions dancing around the city for the Chinese New Year. Come on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month for the Dragon Boat Festival and watch boat races near Victoria Harbour.
Hong Kong also hosts plenty of world-class sporting events throughout the year! Be one with the crowd as you watch the Hong Kong Tennis Open, Hong Kong Rugby Sevens, and more! The city loves horse racing competitions too, with the biggest ones in Happy Valley and Sha Tin racecourses.
If your trip doesn’t coincide with these events, you’ll still have a fun time in Hong Kong. Scour the fascinating labyrinth of this wanderer’s wonderland and the city will reward you with stunning marvels.
They come in the form of street art, as Hong Kong is a sprawling, vibrant canvas. The street art scene here is a testament to the city’s local prowess, and they offer the most Instagram-worthy backdrops. Some of the best spots to discover beautiful murals in the city are:
- Art Lane
- West Kowloon
- Elgin Street
- The Mills
In exploring Hong Kong, you may find familiar-looking places too. That’s because the city is also a massive film set with plenty of spots that have already graced the silver screen. Some of the iconic ones include:
- Montane Mansion: This was the site of the last battle in Transformers: Age of Extinction.
- Victoria Harbour: A scenic beauty, this harbor has been in several iconic movies. This includes Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond.
- Wan Chai Wet Market: This wet market was in the supernatural thriller Push, starring Dakota Fanning and Chris Evans.
A City of Towering Buildings and Grand Temples
When you think of a mega city, you’d picture a sprawl of towering buildings, a sea of people, and the constant buzz of its face-paced life. You’ll find that to be true in Hong Kong too. But the city takes its cityscape game to the extreme, as it’s the city with the most skyscrapers in the world.
Hong Kong is home to around 553 shiny skyscrapers, making you constantly look up as you wander around the city. The architectural scene here is intense and thriving. Thus, Hong Kong has attracted renowned architects from around the world. And they’ve erected the most breathtaking buildings to indulge the aesthete in you.
One of the stand-out buildings here includes the Jockey Club Innovation Tower. Designed by the great Zaha Hadid, this building catches your eye with its fluid, sweeping design.
There are plenty more architectural wonders here designed by “starchitects”. Some popular ones include:
- Frank Gehry’s Opus
- Thomas Heatherwick’s Pacific Place
- M. Pei’s Bank of China Tower
These sleek structures are only one side of Hong Kong’s fascinating cityscape though. Being a city with deep roots in religion, you’ll find magnificent temples sprinkled across the city. They may not have the height of modern buildings, but they certainly have the beauty to boot.
You’ll have countless temples to visit here. But here are the ones you shouldn’t miss:
- Po Lin Monastery: This is one of the most famous landmarks in the city for its Tian Tan Buddha. This is a massive bronze statue of the Buddha that stands 112 feet (34 m) tall!
- Wong Tai Sin: This ornate temple has a lot going on with its design. Red pillars, paper lanterns, intricate carvings, and Taoist drawings are only some of them. But what makes this so special is that it is not dedicated to one religion. Instead, it’s a temple for Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism.
Unwind in Hong Kong’s Lush Great Outdoors
The image you have of Hong Kong as a bustling urban sprawl of skyscrapers is only a small part of the city. Behind this vibrant, big city facade is an emerald-clad land of lush greenery. Unknown to many, around 75% of the city is actually nature, making it a great place for outdoor enthusiasts.
Climb up to Victoria Peak, one of the highest in the city, and see for yourself. The incredible panoramic view from the top will show you what Hong Kong is, a modern city at the heart of nature.
With nature cradling the city, exciting adventures will call out to you wherever you go. And because Hong Kong has tons of nature reserves, you’ll have no problem reconnecting with nature here.
If you want to conquer the tallest mountain here, head to Tai Mo Shan Country Park. Tai Mo Shan stands at 3140 feet (957 m) tall. Explore the park and you’ll also find the highest waterfall in the city, which is 115 feet (35 m) in length. This lush park is home to a plethora of wildlife, such as over 100 bird and butterfly species!
At Kam Shan Country Park, you’ll get to see mischievous macaque monkeys up close and personal. You’ll see more wildlife in Hong Kong Wetland Park, where a wide variety of species roam freely. If you want to see Hong Kong’s raw beauty, head to Tai Po Kau Special Area, which focuses more on conservation over recreation.
Party All Night With Its Electrifying Nightlife
There’s a ton of fun to be had in Hong Kong during the day. And this is no different when the sun sets in the city. Hong Kong is a vibrant and exciting nightlife hub, hosting some of the best parties in Asia!
The focal point of Hong Kong’s night scene is the ever-pulsating district of Lan Kwai Fong. It’s dense with hundreds of bars, clubs, and restaurants to fuel your late-night revelry!
Its neighbor, SoHo, has a more sophisticated night scene as it’s home to tons of glitzy bars, fancy lounges, and more. It’s the place to be for a more chilled-out night out! Plus, you can always explore the many fashion boutiques, art galleries, and antique shops here that are open at night.
Wan Chai is another one of Hong Kong’s most popular nightlife hubs. You’ll find a more down-to-earth scene in its many sports bars, colonial-style pubs, and live music venues. But late into the night, it can get pretty rowdy with late-night and grungy parties.
You don’t have to drink to have fun in Hong Kong at night though. There are plenty of late-night attractions here for you to discover and reveal a different side of the city! Some of the popular attractions here are the following:
- Symphony of Lights: Every 8 PM at night, the Hong Kong night sky fills with all colors of the rainbow. This is a multimedia show with colored laser beams dancing in the sky for 13 minutes!
- Ghost Hunting: Thrill-seekers can explore Wan Chai at night, which is one of the city’s most haunted spots.
- Hong Kong Observation Wheel: Ride this massive Ferris wheel, which sits 197 feet (60 m) high. This offers you a panoramic view of the city’s glistening city!
Is Tokyo or Hong Kong Better to Visit?
The better city to visit between the two will depend on your preferences.
Hong Kong is a better city for budget travelers, as your money will stretch further here, especially when it comes to food. And with mountains surrounding it, Hong Kong is better for you if you’re an outdoor enthusiast.
But Hong Kong feels busier and more crowded. So if you want a calmer trip, Tokyo is better for you.
Tokyo, as it has more space, fits way more attractions. It has space for cool neighborhoods that focus on subcultures, such as Harajuku and Akihabara. Plus, Tokyo has way more diversity across all its allures.
With this, Hong Kong is better if you’ll go on a short trip, as a week is enough to see what it has to offer. But Tokyo is better for a longer trip as there’s plenty more going on here.
Hong Kong Disneyland vs. Tokyo Disneyland
The Disneylands of Hong Kong and Tokyo are the top kid-friendly attractions of each city. Although they bear the same name, you’ll find a different experience visiting each one.
Hong Kong Disneyland is the smallest of its kind in the world. Despite this, it attracts thousands of tourists each year. This Disneyland, because of its size, only has 15 rides and a few shows for amusement and entertainment.
It’s easier to get around Hong Kong Disneyland. And you’ll only need around 2 days to see everything it has to offer!
Tokyo Disneyland is bigger yet busier, with around 45 rides to choose from. It has seven themed areas, two mini lands, and the four classic Disney land areas. This Disneyland’s edge is that it has Tokyo DisneySea, which is unique to Japan only.
Tokyo Disneyland is better if you have more time to explore this fascinating theme park. It will take around 5 days for you to explore this massive park and experience all it has to offer.
Is Tokyo in Hong Kong?
Tokyo is not in Hong Kong as these are two different cities in two different countries. Tokyo is the capital city of Japan. Meanwhile, Hong Kong is a city-state in China.
Distance Between Tokyo and Hong Kong
The straight-line distance between Tokyo and Hong Kong is around 1789 miles (2879 km).
Tokyo vs. Hong Kong Population
When it comes to population, Tokyo is a much larger city than Hong Kong. The city of Tokyo has a population of 13.99 million. Meanwhile, Hong Kong is home to around 7.76 million people.