And in which context are used. Why are so many words for city in japanese T.T

  • 4
    Are those many words? City, town, capital, metropolis, county, municipality, midtown, downtown, village, borough, district... It's not that there are many words in Japanese, it is that it's very easy as Japanese learners to think that there are too many similar words while it's really just a matter of our very limited vocabulary that makes us think in terms of single basic idioms.
    – Tommy
    Jul 3, 2017 at 4:23

1 Answer 1

  • 都市 refers to cities in the sense of metropolitan/urban areas as opposed to rural areas. It's also the umbrella term for large municipalities in any country.
  • 都会 is roughly the same as 都市 in the sense of metropolitan areas, but sounds more colloquial and less technical. In conversation you will hear 都会に住みたい more often than 都市に住みたい.
  • 市 is one of the categories of municipalities, and it corresponds to "(XYZ) city" in English. Its friends are "(XYZ) village" = 村, "(XYZ) town" = 町, etc. For example, The New York City is ニューヨーク市. See: Cities of Japan
  • 市街 is more like "(main) urban district" or "downtown" in a city.

For example, special wards of Tokyo are not technically 市. But people living in these areas are safely called 都会人 ("city people") although there is no kanji 市 in their addresses.

And as you can see, there are many words also in English (metropolitan, urban, city, ...) :D

  • And city as a place? for example "I went to a city near here" Jul 2, 2017 at 22:47
  • 1
    It depends. If you mean a certain local government unit called ○○市, use 市. If you just vaguely mean "(large) town", then use 町 or 都市.
    – naruto
    Jul 2, 2017 at 22:51
  • Can 市 only be used as a suffix? Jul 3, 2017 at 2:15
  • 3
    @Ataraxia No, it's also a normal noun. For example, 「埼玉県には40の市、22の町、1つの村がある。」
    – naruto
    Jul 3, 2017 at 4:23

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