Both 店 and ショップ translate into English as "shop". For which circumstances would you use each word?

My first assumption was that 店 would be used for more "traditional" shops than ショップ, but when I did a google image search of 店, one of the hits was for Mos Burger.

  • This is such a complex issue. To show you only a fraction of its complexity, (1) google ショップ店員 to find out how common the word is or (2) go see how ドコモショップ calls its branches here: nttdocomo.co.jp/support/shop/search/kanto/…
    – user4032
    Commented Dec 12, 2013 at 21:39

1 Answer 1


The generic word for "shop" or "store" is most definitely [店]{みせ}, often said with お in front, or more formally, [商店]{しょうてん}. For instance, when we say "There are about 200 stores (in this area).", we will say 「200[軒]{けん}くらいお店がある」. No one in his right mind will say 「200軒くらいショップがある。」. This I can tell you for sure but the rest of my post will be all about "tendencies" and personal observations. It is a world of cultural and linguistic idiosyncrasies.

We use the word ショップ most often in compound words in which it is combined with another English-origin words such as メンズショップ、レディースショップ、フラワーショップ、アクセサリーショップ、フルーツショップ、etc. However, even though these katakana compounds are used as part of the actual shop names (proper nouns) such as 「メンズショップタカハシ」 and「フルーツショップみかど」, the generic name for all these stores will still be お店 or 商店. Pointing your finger at one of these shops, you generally would not say 「あそこはいいショップだ。」.

I said "generally not" instead of "never" above because in recent years, quite a few people use ショップ in this kind of conversation IF the store is fashion-related. For this particular usage, the pitch accent is placed on the プ instead of the ショ, which is where the "normal" pitch accent is placed in the word. Then again, the majority of people would still use お店 to refer to a fashion-related store.

It is just impossible to come up with a rule that works all the time. We use 「ショップ」 where we think it sounds or looks cool but nearly no one would understand you if you said 「ショップクラーク」, which is why we have a strange Sino-Anglo compound 「ショップ[店員]{てんいん}」 as I mentioned in the comment above. It is weird because 「店員」 means the exact same and it is shorter but as long as there are people who would rather have a katakana part, if not the whole name, in their occupation names, we will continue to create these words. Trust me, it was even worse in the Bubble Period. Back then, some people wrote everything from prose to catch copies in English-origin katakana loan words except for the particles! 

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