They can mean "stay" as in "I stayed in Tokyo the entire month." I would like to know the following:

  1. Which is more common in spoken Japanese? In written Japanese?
  2. Is there a slight difference in terms of length of stay? (That is, とどまる gives the impression that people would stay for a little while longer but 滞在する doesn't not.)

Thanks in advance for any input you'd give regarding this.

1 Answer 1


滞在する is neutral, and it can be safely used in speech, although it is a little stiff or business-like. いる may be more common in very casual settings.

On the other hand, とどまる often (but not always) has an implication of "to stay longer (than initially expected)". It goes well in sentences like あと数日ここにとどまることにした, これ以上ここにとどまる訳にはいかない and 会社の命令でもう1年この国にとどまる必要がある. Both 滞在する and とどまる can refer to a very long stay depending on the context, but とどまる may tend to refer to short ones because it is often related to an unexpected or undesirable extension.

Lastly, 滞在する only means "to stay at/in a place", whereas とどまる has broader meanings such as "to stay (in a social position)", "to remain (within certain range)", etc.

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