I was having a chat conversation and used the word to comment on a profile. The person chatted that there are different words used depending on where the person is from, so if a person is from the Sendai metropolitan area, tonai is not used. Please advise.


Is tonai (都内)only used for the Tokyo metropolitan area specifically?

Yes. We have only one [都]{と} in Japan: [東京都]{とうきょうと}.
[都内]{とない} lit. within the prefecture of Tokyo ⇒ in/within Tokyo 

[道内]{どうない} -- in/within Hokkaido (北海道)
[府内]{ふない} -- in/within Osaka or Kyoto (We have two 府's: 大阪府 and 京都府)
[県内]{けんない} -- in/within the prefecture (other than the four above)

if a person is from the Sendai metropolitan area, tonai is not used.

No, 都内 isn't used to refer to 仙台 or 宮城.
Sendai ([仙台]{せんだい}) is in Miyagi Prefecture ([宮城県]{みやぎけん}). You'd say 宮城県内 to mean "within Miyagi Prefecture" and 仙台市内 to mean "within Sendai City".

[市内]{しない} -- in/within the [市]{し}/city
[町内]{ちょうない} -- in/within the [町]{まち/ちょう}/town
[村内]{そんない} -- in/within the [村]{むら}/village

| improve this answer | |
  • つまり、他の街とかは「市内」という言葉の方ですね? – Sjiveru Jul 8 '17 at 23:54
  • 2
    @Sjiveru はい、それが「市」なら、「市内」です。例えば仙台は「市」なので「仙台市内」「市内」を使います(そして仙台は宮城にあるので「宮城県内」「県内」でもあります)。精華町なら「市」ではなく「町」なので「[精華町内]{せいかちょうない}」「[町内]{ちょうない}」を使います(そして京都府にあるので「京都府内」「府内」でもあります)。「市内」「町内」を追加します、コメントありがとうございます。 – Chocolate Jul 9 '17 at 6:00

Is tonai (都内)only used for the Tokyo metropolitan area specifically?

I do have that impression, however literally wherever inside Tokyo Metropolis (東京都), one of Japan's forty-seven prefectures, should be 都内, and the dictionary page linked up there says this word especially points to the twenty-three wards, which include a wider area than the metropolitan area, encompassing the area. (I find we have also the word 東京都区内 to especially point to the area inside the twenty-three wards.)

I'm failing to find a page that specifically says so, but I believe it's called 都 because it's the location of the capital of Japan.

| improve this answer | |

Yes, because 都【と】 always refers to the prefecture-level administrative unit metropolis, whose only instance is the 東京都 "Tokyo Metropolis" (capitalize both) among 47 prefectures in Japan.

But note that in some unofficial context, 都内 could specifically mean the eastern 23 special wards (= 23区内), which is the central urban area of Tokyo. This usage reflects the fact that 東京都 was formed by the merger of then urban 東京市 (Tokyo City) and suburban 東京府 (Tokyo Prefecture):

「東京都内」や「都内」という場合には多摩地域や島嶼も含めた東京都全域を指すが、かつては特別区の対語として多摩地域を「都下」と呼称されることがあった。同義で使用される「県内」「県下」や「府内」「府下」などとは意味が異なり、東京府時代に「東京市内」「東京府下」として使用された呼称が、1943年(昭和18年)7月の東京市・東京府の合併による東京都発足の際にそのまま「特別区内(23区内)」と「東京都下」に呼び変えられたことで起こったもので、慣習的な表現である。 (「多摩地域」)

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.