上る vs 登る Difference

I know that wanikani teaches you 上る but I saw 登る on Genki 1.

They both have the same pronunciations and meaning.
What is the difference between them and in what situations would it be better to use either of them?

1 Like

There’s actually more than just those two.

Basically, 上る is for general going up, and things like going up stairs.

登る is for going up to a high place by your own volition, like climbing a mountain. (EDIT: I realize the “by volition” part might be confusing, but it’s just to differentiate it with say, riding in a machine up to the top of something)

昇る is for things like ascending to heaven.

But it’s all spelled out in Japanese in that article. That kind of material is tough, but it’s the best way to deal with this very common problem.

5 Likes

Good question! I checked some other forums and found this on one. I don’t know how accurate this is but just wanna share* (credits to the owner of the answer LOL)


They do have differences in usage. I’ve gathered a few examples that, I hope, differentiate the meanings. First, I’ll try to put them in English:

上る Go up
登る Climb
昇る Ascend / rise


上る Go up

川かわを上のぼる go up the river
階段かいだんを上のぼる go up the stairs

登る Climb

山やまに登のぼる climb a mountain
ロープで登のぼる climb a rope
木きに登のぼる climb a tree

昇る Ascend, rise

日ひが昇のぼる the sun rises
天てんに昇のぼる rise into heaven

4 Likes

This topic was automatically closed 365 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.