I had a look at what to visit in South Korea and it struck me that everything there was to see was also found in Japan, but the reverse is not true.

Korea has Buddhist temples, modern cities with skyscrapers and shopping districts with neon signs, nice mountains, but that's pretty much it.

The Japanese are a hybrid people of mixed Korean and native Japanese (Jomon) descent. The native part has given Shinto, and all the shrines, torii, foxes and traditions that go with it. Korea doesn't have that. Japan immediately spring out in popular imagination as the land of samurai and geisha, with world famous sights like Mount Fuji or the Torii of Miyajima. Korea doesn't have anything like that.

Japanese food is among the world's best and is extremely varied. Koreans also have sushi, but choice is more limited. Typical Korean dishes, like Yakiniku (Korean BBQ) is found everywhere in Japan too, but Japanese dishes rarely make it to Korea.

In modern culture, Japan is renowned for anime, manga and video games, but Korea lacks that too. The only thing for which Korea successfully mimicked Japan was pop music, drama and films.

So is Korea only half as interesting for tourism and culture as Japan ?