Hard-to-read place names in the Kansai region
So, you think you've figured out how to read Japanese? Are you proud you've memorized 1,000 kanji? I've got something fun for you -- here are some place names in the Kansai region that are difficult even for us Japanese.
Think hard, make your guesses, and then go to the Answers page.
- µÀ±à -- Kyoto's traditional entertainment quarter.
- ½³¾å -- To go from Kyoto to Otsu, you go through here.
- ²«Ý¡ -- A town near Uji, home of the eponymous Buddhist sect.
- °ÈÇÏ -- Famous for its tengu legend and the Fire Festival.
- ±¨´Ý -- A major thoroughfare in central Kyoto.
- ÂÀ¿Á -- Home of the Toei movie studios.
- äý¤Î¿¹ -- Part of the Kamigamo Shrine's sacred grounds.
- ¿ÑÀ¸ -- Famous as the headquarters of the Shinsengumi, a pro-shogunate band of warriors during the Meiji Restoration.
- ÀèÅÍÄ® -- The north end of the µÀ±à quarter. Its name comes from Portuguese.
- Ï²Â® -- The archaic name for the northern half of Osaka prefecture, literally "fast waves".
- ½½»° -- A major junction of the Hankyu railway system.
- Á¥¾ì -- Formerly the center of the city of Osaka, so named because cargo was offloaded from ships here.
- ÆâÂå -- A town in the north of Osaka.
- Ìç¿¿ -- Home of Matsushita, makers of the Panasonic line of electric appliances.
- ¿åÁö -- A town in Higashi-Osaka.
- ½»Æ» -- A town to the east of Osaka.
- ÀÄÌÚ -- A port in the east of Kobe, with ferrys to Shikoku and Kyushu.
- µÕÀ¥Àî -- A river near the city of Takarazuka.
- ó«±Û -- If you know your Heike Monogatari (The Tale of Heike), this is the cliff that the Genji army climbed down to surprise the Heike at Ichinotani.
- ¿â¿å -- A town in the west of Kobe.
- ÀÖÊæ -- Home of the 47 samurai who avenged their lord, remembered in the popular tale Chushingura.
- ±Ñ²ìÊÝ -- A town to the west of Himeji, close to ÀÖÊæ.
- ÍÇ¯ -- Another town in the vicinity.
- ÁêÀ¸ -- Yet another town in the vicinity.
- ÂçÏÂ -- The archaic name for what is now Nara prefecture. Later one of the names for Japan, and also the name of a Japanese battleship (the world's biggest, sunk off Okinawa in 1945).
- Å·¹áµ×»³ -- One of the fabled Three Mountains of ÂçÏÂ.
- À¦Ëµ»³ -- Ditto.
- ¼ªÀ®»³ -- Ditto.
- ¿®³Ú -- Famous for its ceramics, in particular the tanuki figurines.
- ÏÂÆö -- Named after an ancient family of artisans who came from China.
- °¦ÃÎÀî -- The name of this river is not Aichigawa.
Hirofumi NAGAMURA <email@example.com>