Does “Jou kyou” (上京, じょうきょう) Mean to Go to Tokyo?


Does “Jou kyou” (上京, じょうきょう) Mean to Go to Tokyo?

Yes, but the word means more than just going to Tokyo.
Simply going to Tokyo is not called “Jou kyou”. For example, we do not say “Jou kyou” to go to Tokyo on school transfer or work transfers. We use this word to move to Tokyo and live there with a specific purpose in mind such as making a dream come true or getting a job. Iwasawa went to Tokyo to realize her dream about music, so it can definitely be called “Jou kyou”.

“上” (じょう, Jou) means up, go up or superior. And in this context, “京” (きょう, Kyou) means the city where the Japanese Emperor lives, so it means not “京都” (きょうと, Kyoto) but “東京” (とうきょう, Tokyo). Although “上京” literally means “going up to Tokyo”, it is not necessarily talking about geographically going up. For example, you can use this word when you move from the north side of Japan to Tokyo. It simply pays respect to the act of moving to the place where the Emperor lives.


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