Kansai and Kanto


Kansai and Kanto, or you can say Osaka and Tokyo to be more precise, are 500 km apart and have a lot of different things between them. Here are some examples that tourists from overseas may notice by visiting the two regions.

Dialect

Kansai dialect is characterized by an expressive intonation and easily distinguished from Kanto dialect. But it’s diluted when they speak to strangers or in a formal setting, (so it’s rare that the flight attendant use pure Kansai dialect in the announcement in the video), and you can hardly tell the difference as a non-Japanese speaker. Let’s try to listen to the unique word which is spoken in our region. The word easiest  and most heard by tourist, particularly in Kyoto, is “O-kini” or “thank you”, the standard Japanese “Arigato”. You will hear this at the restaurants and shops run by the locals. O-kini is mostly used in business. We don’t say O-kini to friends.

Friendly people

Kansai locals are friendly and talkative to strangers.  Typically, senior women of Osaka are said to be the most friendly people in Japan. It’s easy to start conversation with them at stations, shops and streets. They don’t speak good English but they aren’t shy about speaking to you. They are willing to give directions when you are looking on a map or mobile phone. Some Tokyo people don’t like such traits of Kansai people being too friendly.

Escalator rule

Look at the following video. In the first scene, people stand on the left hand side of the escalator and walk up on the right if they hurry. That’s  in Tokyo and they take the other side in Osaka. The video covers only two cities but not all cities in Kansai is the same as Osaka. Kyoto station’s escalator has no clear rule because there are so many tourists coming from outside. The Kyoto locals mostly stand on the right and tourists coming from eastern Japan stand on the left. So people walk by changing lanes. Anyway, the nationwide rule is that you, even a couple,  should stand on one side to allow people in a hurry to pass.