Every time I walk by a barbershop (not a 美容院), I think of the words 散髪屋 and 床屋. Which word is correct, or sounds better, more interesting, for a non-native speaker to use in a conversation?

And, after either, is it possible to add "さん"? Such as 散髪屋さん and 床屋さん?

By adding, "さん" what nuance does it add?


It is not that one of the two is any more correct than the other; Both are "correct". Certainly, neither one sounds better or more interesting.

「散髪屋{さんぱつや}」, however, is mainly used in Kansai as explained in this dictionary of Osaka dialect.

Around Tokyo (or eastern half of the country in general), it would be safe to say 「床屋{とこや}」 is far more common.

In either case, the more formal term is 「理容店{りようてん}」 or 「理髪店{りはつてん}」, but those are not too often used in our informal, everyday conversations as they sound fairly technical.

Regarding attaching a 「さん」, it adds an amount of politeness and a sense of affinity. Quite a few native speakers will use it when talking about a barber's shop with others. 「床屋/散髪屋」 with or without a 「さん」 can refer to either the shop or the owner.

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