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I recently came across the word 旅路【たびじ】 with the meaning "journey", which includes the kanji 旅, which on its own can also mean "journey". So how do these words differ in their usage? Is there even a difference? Is it just nuances? I didn't find any good examples that would explain when to use one or the other. So far when I spoke in Japanese about my travels, I always used 旅【たび】 or 旅行【りょこう】.

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Once again, kanji tells us everything

  • 旅: 和語 whose meaning is "travel" ;
  • 旅行: 漢語 whose meaning is also "travel" (since it is a 漢語 it is a little more 書き言葉 but still, it is heard very often). If you read the kanji, 旅行 means 旅に出る(行く)
  • 旅路: whose meaning is 旅の筋道{すじみち}, that is the path you trod when you was travelling.

人生は危険に満ちた旅路のようです。 Life is a travel scattered with pitfalls.

Here by travel, the most important aspect is going down the road of the travel.

去年、フランスを旅行しました。 I tripped to France last year.  

彼は旅をするのが好きです。 He likes going on a trip.

In conclusion, 旅路 is more focused on the road while 旅 and 旅行 are mostly words with same meaning.

  • There is this phrase 自分探しの旅に出る where 旅 and 旅行 are not exactly interchangeable Would it be correct to say that 旅行 usually implies there is a clear destination, whereas 旅 does not? – nhahtdh Sep 29 '16 at 7:07
  • Sorry, is 旅路 a 漢語? – broccoli forest Oct 4 '16 at 12:01
  • @broccoliforest It does not seem so (from its reading). That's a mistake thanks for pointing it out. – 永劫回帰 Oct 4 '16 at 16:48

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