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To express to get to or to reach a destination I see a few options:

到達{とうたつ}する

達{たっ}する

到着{とうちゃく}する

届{とど}く

And variations.

I have found 到達する as having clear examples with physical destinations (e.g. 公園に到達する - get to the park), but the rest seem to be used, for the most part, with figurative ideas/destinations (e.g. to reach a point, to reach a level of expertise).

What are the nuances of each and how would I best express getting to a destination?

  • 1
    You may want to add 着く as well. – Blavius Feb 23 '16 at 3:01
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Here are the typical examples:

  • 待ち合わせ場所の公園に[到着した/着いた]。
  • ついにエベレストの頂上に到達した。
  • 彼の大声は公園まで[達した/届いた]。
  • 手紙が家に[届いた/到着した/着いた]。
  • 到着する and 着く are the most common and generic words for "to arrive". The former is a bit more formal and stiff, but the difference is not very large.
  • 到達する is to reach somewhere, but usually after some effort/struggle. 「公園に到達する」 sounds like the park is the goal of a marathon race. It can also be used with 考え/合意/理解/etc.
  • 達する is usually used with inanimate objects like sound, pollution, water.
  • 届く is more like "to be delivered" and used with inanimate objects.

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