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My kanji study book lists:

辺り【あたり】 as "surroundings, neighborhood"

周り【まわり】 as "neighborhood, around"

I looked the words up in a few dictionaries, but I'm having a hard time parsing the difference and usage of each. Could someone explain or give some examples?

  • Be aware that 辺り can also be read as 「ほと・り」. – istrasci Mar 14 '18 at 15:39
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辺り refers to geographically nearby places (usually within a few meters to a few hundred meters). Aの辺り includes both A and nearby places.

周り means "surrounding region/part/place" or "peripheral region". Aの周り refers to A's surrounding areas, which does not include A itself. It can be used with very large and small things.

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Examples:

  • ディズニーランドの辺り around Disney Land; Disney Land and/or its surrounding areas
  • ディズニーランドの周り areas surrounding Disney Land (does not include Disney Land itself)
  • 辺りは森だ。 (tends to be used when you're in the middle of a forest)
  • 周りは森だ。 (tends to be used when you're in a comfortable building/town which is surrounded by a forest)
  • 地球は太陽の周りを回転している。
    The earth revolves around the sun.
  • @istrasci ありがとうございます m(_ _)m – naruto Mar 14 '18 at 17:19
  • ニュアンス微妙ですね!!!!! – istrasci Mar 14 '18 at 19:59
  • That's perfect - just the clarification I needed. It also ties into my association of 周 with circumference. – SpiritTamer Mar 14 '18 at 23:51

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