There seem to be various readings for toy store. Do they have different meanings? Are they regionalisms?






I came across it in this sentence in the following article:


The product will be sold at toy stores nationwide for 8,250 yen including tax.


  • Minor clarification point for readers -- The term "reading" refers to the pronunciation of a given spelling. So 玩具屋 pronounced as omochaya or as ganguya would be multiple readings. Meanwhile, things like 玩具屋 and 玩具店 are separate spellings, which also happen to have separate readings (these two don't have any pronunciations that are used for both spellings). Jan 25 at 21:06

1 Answer 1


The casual term for "toy store" is おもちゃ屋【や】. I believe most children first learn this word around the age of three or four, before learning hiragana. 玩具店【がんぐてん】 is the business term for the same concept, and this is something people learn after they become teenagers. We rarely say おもちゃてん or がんぐや. I have never heard おもちゃみせ.

The jukujikun reading of 玩具 is indeed おもちゃ, but this reading is no longer common outside of old or stiff novels. Today, おもちゃ is usually written in hiragana alone. If you see 玩具 used without furigana in a modern text, such as a news article, you can assume that simple on-reading (がんぐ) is expected.

EDIT: Here are hit counts on BCCWJ:

  • おもちゃ屋: 41 (many are from recent blog articles)
  • 玩具店: 21 (many are related to business)
  • 玩具屋: 17 (most are from novels written by authors born before the 1960's, so I suppose おもちゃや is the intended reading)
  • おもちゃ店: 0
  • Does reading 玩具 as おもちゃ vs. がんぐ shade the meaning? Jan 26 at 7:28
  • @KarlKnechtel If someone says がんぐや or おもちゃてん, it will still be understood. It just sounds unfamiliar and odd as something said by an ordinary native speaker. Someone might intentionally use them in games or novels to add some exotic flavor.
    – naruto
    Jan 28 at 6:14

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