I thought I understood this but suddenly I felt confused looking at Jisho's example sentences.

私達は遠くに船を 見つけた。 We caught sight of a ship in the distance.

彼は遠方に船を見つけた。 He caught sight of a ship in the distance.

So they mean the same thing basically. The only thing different is what comes before に and one being "we" and one being "he". 遠く is treated as a noun so how is it actually different from 遠方 in this particular usage? They both even get defined as distant places on Jisho. I feel like the difference between usages like this is often a cause of confusion for me. If someone could break down the differences it'd help a lot, I can be unsure of word choice when forming my own sentences when there are multiple ways.

1 Answer 1


It's a wago and kango pair that is synonymous in a lot of cases. 遠くに is more common in speech, 遠方に is more common in writing.

That said, the meaning of 遠くに can be broader, while 遠方に is almost always about distant location (that would require travel). 遠くに can well be relative while 遠方に is rarely if at all.


can be used in a classroom, while あなたの席から一番遠方にいる人は誰ですか sounds a bit strange.

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