I was wondering the nuance between those words.

天 seems to have a more mystical flavour (like in the word 天上).

I don't get the nuance between 空/大空 and 地/大地.

土地 seems to be a smaller/more localised land than the other two.

Feel free to edit my post and add any related word that seems relevant.

  • I've always thought of 天 as "Heavens" and 空 as just "Sky".
    – AJF
    Commented Jun 14, 2015 at 9:26

1 Answer 1


空 and 大空 both mean the same thing, but 大空 emphases the vastness of the sky. Analogous to that, 地 and 大地 mean the same thing, but 大地 stresses the size of the land/earth.

天 has a nuance of being distant to or above earth and it is the word you would used to contrast against it: 地と天. For that reason, it should not be surprising that it can also mean heaven.

A recommendation for the future: I personally think the goo 類語 dictionary is very great to quickly get an overview over the differences of similar words (I also used them for reference here), see 空(そら)/大空(おおぞら) and 地(ち)/大地(だいち)/土(つち).

  • Thanks a bunch, this dictionary looks really great indeed.
    – Alox
    Commented Jun 7, 2015 at 11:12

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