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I have learnt that the 関西【かんさい】 area of Japan is also called 近畿【きんき】. According to my findings (see this entry on another stackexchange site), 関西 is a more popular term than 近畿. I would like to know:

1) Do they refer exactly to the same geographical place in Japan or there is any difference between their boundaries?

2) Are both considered 地方【ちほう】 or this is appropriate only for one of them?

よろしくお願いします!

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近畿 is more specific. Being "near-capital" literally, it refers to an area including 大阪府, 京都府, 兵庫県, 奈良県, 滋賀県, 和歌山県, plus usually 三重県*1, seldom 福井県 (especially its southern part).

関西, on the other hand, has more variation in its meaning. In the narrowest sense, it is roughly the same area as 近畿. In its broadest sense, it can refer to the 'western' part of Japan including the 九州 area. Still, its centre is always considered to be 京阪神 area, and as such, it seems to be interchangeable to 近畿 most of the time (i.e. the broadest sense isn't very often seen). Dictionaries at my hand agrees that 関西, in recent usage, can refer to 京阪神 area, which is narrower than 近畿.

I also feel that 関西 has more connotation regarding culture, which may explain why the former is more frequently encountered. I don't think neither is more popular/common than the other.

Both are considered as 地方.

This Q&A from NDL can be an interesting reading.

*1: 三重 is tricky in this regard. It is also commonly included in 東海 area, and has possibly more connection to the 名古屋 city culture-wise.

  • 個人的には(兵庫の南西側育ち),広島や岡山を関西に入れるのに違和感をほとんど感じないんですが,どうなんですかね…. – Yosh Oct 8 '19 at 10:34
  • 自分の行動圏内だと、同じ地方に感じられるのかも知れませんね。 育ちは神奈川県の西の方なので、沼津・御殿場(静岡県東部)くらいまでは 同じ県にも感じられますね。播州地方からすると、岡山、広島も同じ地方に感じられるんでしょうか。 – kimi Tanaka Oct 8 '19 at 11:19
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Answer from knsmr at hinative (https://hinative.com/ja/questions/19488)

They are basically the same.

According to Wikipedia, 近畿 includes seven prefectures while 関西 includes eight. I'm originally from Osaka, the very center of 関西地方. So, we always make this joke about 三重県, like "Hey, where do you guys come from? Oh, are you guys also from 関西? 三重県? No way. You guys belong to 中部地方. You don't even speak like us. What!? 中部地方 people say 三重県 isn't in 中部? Oh, well. Sorry you guys are somewhere in between".

While 関西 has this feeling that it makes a contrast with 関東, 近畿 just reminds one of a region with a strong center, it's neutral. That said, I prefer to use 関西, and hear people use 関西 more and more lately for some reason. Probably because I moved to 関東 20 years ago from 関西.

  • Thank you. While this addresses my first point, it is not a complete answer. – jarmanso7 Oct 7 '19 at 18:32
  • 2
    Answers which purely quote something else on the internet are not considered proper etiquette on this site. (Also potential copyright issues when you’re copying the entirety of something, even if it’s educational.) – Darius Jahandarie Oct 7 '19 at 18:39
  • I can't say this with certainty but when I do some google searches it seems that both 関西 and 近畿 receive the usage of 地方 being attached to it. – C.Scheeres Oct 7 '19 at 18:54
  • @jarmanso7: Answers are not required to address every point of a question. – istrasci Oct 7 '19 at 19:56
  • @istraci I understand the collaborative nature of this site. I mean, complete answers are not required (I've written partial answers myself sometimes), but it would be very nice to have them. – jarmanso7 Oct 7 '19 at 21:01

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