The meaning of tonari (隣) in Japanese and how to use it

This article will give you all of the knowledge you need on the Japanese word tonari, including its Japanese definition and translation, example sentences, related expressions and more!

What does tonari mean?

Tonari (隣、となり) means next to or next door in Japanese. This is a useful word when giving directions or talking about the position of something. Note that tonari no hito (隣の人) or simply tonari no can also stand for neighbor.

Below, we take a look at some examples of how to use tonari in Japanese.

To make it easier for you, I have written each sentence in full Japanese kanji on the first line, followed by roman letters (romaji), and hiragana, with the English meaning coming last.

Example sentences using tonari

The Japanese word tonari means next to

Boku wa kare no tonari ni suwatta.
I sat next to him.

Sono kouen no tonari ga konbini desu.
There is a convenience store next to that park.

Supein wa porutogaru no tonari desu.
Spain is next to Portugal.

Tonari no ie ni furansu jin ga sundeiru.
There is a French person living next door.

Tonari no heya no souon de nemurenai.
I can’t sleep because of noise from the room next door.

Tonari ni sundeiru obasan wa chotto kowai desu.
The woman next door is a little bit scary.

Why example sentences?

Learning Japanese can seem like a daunting task at first. The grammar and forms of politeness are very different from what English native speakers are used to.

You also have three distinct writing systems to get the hang of. I know it was difficult for me when I started out in 2005. But don’t let the kanji fool you! Like any language, Japanese is conquered one word at a time.

Example sentences are a big part of how I achieved fluency and became a professional translator. That’s why I’m writing this series of articles to break down new words in simple terms. I hope they will be useful.

A couple of bonus tips

Here are a couple of additional pointers to supercharge your learning.

1. Learn new vocabulary terms with example sentences
It’s much easier to remember the meaning of a new word within a sentence rather than in isolation. Use sites such as Linguee to find helpful examples for the term you want to learn.

2. Focus on verbs first and foremost.
Verbs will allow you to quickly construct your own sentences so they should be the main part of your study early on. You can always learn the Japanese for pencil sharpener when you actually need it.