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I struggle to understand what 交差点 actually means. When I look it up in Weblio for example I see:

2本以上の道路などが交わる所
A place where two or more roads meet

This is what I, as a UK native, would call a junction.

But I often see the word translated as 'crossing'. To me this means a place where pedestrians cross the road. And when I look on google images for 交差点 I mostly see pictures of junctions that also have zebra crossings.

Perhaps it's my failure to understand US English. Maybe crossing is simply US English for junction? Is it just a coincidence that most of the pictures I see also contain a pedestrian crossing? Or is a 交差点 a Japanese concept that incorporates both a junction and a pedestrian crossing?

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    When I check the dictionary for "crossing" the first thing I get is "a place where roads or railway lines cross." The second definition is "a place at which one may safely cross something, especially a street." It's not marked as regional, but eh. Personally I always think of "intersection", not crossing, when I see 交差点. – Leebo Apr 17 at 12:28
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交差点 only refers to "a place where two or more roads meet". Pedestrian crossings are called 横断歩道. Many 交差点 have 横断歩道, but they are not synonymous.

交差点 safely encompasses small ones, but I think Google Image Search mainly shows larger ones with 横断歩道 for two reasons:

  • Simply, small 交差点 are are rarely discussed in the news or in politics.
  • 交差点 does tend to refer to larger intersections. People tend to also use 十字路, 三叉路 and so on for relatively small ones. Google Image Search results for 三叉路 are significantly different, although technically speaking 三叉路 is just a type of 交差点.
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A pedestrian crossing or crosswalk (American) is a point where two lines intersect: a road and a designated area people can cross safely, sometimes invisible but can be physically marked.

A crossing, junction or intersection (American) is also a point where two lines intersect, a road and another road.

And when I look on google images for 交差点 I mostly see pictures of junctions that also have zebra crossings.

The focus might be on the road junction but most junctions in Japan, particularly in cities have some form of marked pedestrian crossings so in some ways they are almost synonymous.

交差点 can mean crossroads and intersection, 横断歩道 would be for a pedestrian crossing if you want to be more specific.

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