China VS Japan – Advice

Hi everyone, planning a 4 week trip soon and was after some advice as to where to go. Only things I have planned just now are my flights into Hong Kong and leaving from Manila 4 weeks later (during February), essentially giving myself 4 weeks to get there. Have around 1 week planned for the Philippines and a few days for Hong Kong. Remaining 2 and a bit weeks I'm undecided between China and Japan.

I'm definitely more of an outdoors person, big fan of hikes/hillwalking and enjoying natural scenery. I don't mind cities too much but they need to be pretty special for me to appreciate them. For example when I went to Vietnam recently I thoroughly enjoyed Sapa and Halong Bay more than I did Hanoi and Hoi An. I still enjoyed the towns but preferred the ourdoors-y locations more. At a point as well were if HK is no good would happily return to Vietnam just so see the Haivan Pass and Nha Trang.

Was going to go to China for Guilin (and surrounding area) plus Zhangjiajie (open to other suggestions too). Main thing putting me off is I might spend a fair bit of time travelling and visas into China are £150 for me, thought I could maybe come back to China another time rather than rush 2 weeks and make the most of a visa. On the other hand is Japan, have heard really good things about it but it looks like most of national parks are closed during February, and it's supposed to be quite expensive too.

I am more on the cheaper side of the budget scale, staying in hostels for most of my travels so trying to keep costs down – with this in mind what would people recommend? Thanks in advance 🙂

submitted by /u/FTaylorr
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