屋 vs 店 for shop?

When would you use ‘ya’ vs ‘ten’ for shop? I’m thinking of making a Japanese version of ThinkGeek and naming it “OtakuYa”. What is the first thing you high level speakers think of when you here otakuya? Does it sound like “geekshop” or something? Any other name suggestions would help too.


Usually 屋 is attached to the thing that is being sold. パン屋, 本屋, うどん屋… so just to my ears, it sounds like a shop that sells otaku.

But maybe that’s just me.


Thanks, that helps Leebo. I don’t want a brand that sounds too stupid. Silly maybe but not all out wrong.


There is also the famous shop とらや that does not sell tigers, so it’s not a hard and fast rule.


There’s also a store, or maybe multiple stores, called 乙女屋. I saw a blog titled that yesterday and the blog was not a store but I googled just now and can confirm there seems to be at least 2 stores with that name! It appears that neither sell otome–one sells dolls and the other sells confectioneries.

Also 紀伊国屋 as another example that does not sell 紀伊国.

Yeah, that’s true. It wasn’t my intention to shoot down the idea completely based on the standard usage of 屋, but it’s also worth being careful when creating these kinds of names as a non-native.


I personally like the sound of otakuten(bounces off the tongue) but that’s my personal preference. :3

They both mean shop so for meaning there isn’t any crazy distinction. My Japanese coworker says that ‘ya’ is for a specific kind of store(as previously mentioned by Leebo), and ‘mise/ten’ is more general and kinda means anything is there!.

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We can consult Japanese google for this:

Here’s one pretty thorough take: 屋と店 | ことば(放送用語) - ことばウラ・オモテ | NHK放送文化研究所


  • There is no hard and fast rule–just use precedent
  • News and formal discussions tend to append 店 to more sellers, including to ones most people would find this a bit out of place in normal speech (though this could vary depending on the person)
  • In every day speech, 屋 tends to be used for: food, small items, items with limited or specific uses, artisnal crafts, raw materials
  • 店 tends to be used for vendors of greater variety, and more processed/artificial goods.
  • To provide an example of the nuance difference, this writer suggests that a vendor of coffee beans feels more natural using 屋, whereas a sit-down cafe might take 店. (Indeed, this checks out based on my time in Japan. Specialty food shop? ○○屋. Sit-down eatery? 店.)
  • Again, this is all just nuance and common use; no hard and fast rules.

Though not mentioned specifically here (I think it’s just taken as a given), I also think @Leebo’s comment above also holds weight, and is probably more relevant for your particular usage question. Then again, that goes for both ○○屋 and ○○店 (○○ is usually what they’re selling), which isn’t that dissimilar form English if you think about saying a “___store.” Though as in English, it’s not a hard rule. And I do feel that if either violate it, 店 is the more natural one to do it with.


As well as the good detailed responses people have given, I asked a native what they would think if they heard it and their exact response was アニメのフィギュアを売ってるとか思うかも. They also said that it didn’t sound weird. Just one person’s intuition of course, but I think you’re fine with the name you want to use!


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