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I have heard both 訪問する and 見学する both being used to mean 'to visit'

What is the difference between these two verbs?

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    Did you check a dictionary? The words aren't particularly similar. I think the clue is in the kanji for 見学する (look and learn). 訪問する has no such particular connotations. Commented Aug 25, 2023 at 18:06

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訪問する is "to visit", but 見学する is not "to visit" in the first place. 見学 means studying how something works by directly watching an activity conducted by other people.

In the context of a factory tour or similar activity, (工場)訪問 and (工場)見学 are effectively the same. However, you can do 訪問 without doing 見学. For example, when you visit someone's office simply for a meeting or explanation, it is never called 見学. Likewise, you can do 見学 without doing 訪問. For example, when you're not feeling well and are sitting out a PE (gym) class, you say 体育の授業は見学します.

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