Can I use に and へ interchangably?

I’m specifically talking about the meaning of describing the location one moves towards. This is important because に can also mean more (although similar) things.
It seems to me that it’s unimportant which one you use. Even Bunpro’s own explanation of へ says that they’re used interchangeably. It seems that へ is just a more polite version since it emphasizes the distance/effort one had/has to endure. に just emphasizes the destination itself. So the only difference is just emphasis, and it doesn’t seem to matter much.

So can they be used interchangeably?


A lot of Japanese grammar tends to say the same thing, but with a slight shift in the nuance/meaning. While I don’t think its necessary to go beast mode with these and learn then painstakingly, it’s important to properly learn and understand them.

The more you advance in your studies, the more you’ll realize the importance of nuance and context!

The nuance changes slightly depending on which one you use. I recommend not blurring that line.


There was a better graphic somewhere in this forum, but I’m unable to find it.

Credit of the image and more detailed explanation here


A picture really is worth a thousand words sometimes! The linked tofugu article is also good but even just the image already gives an immediate sense of the difference.

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I am pretty bad at Japanese but I would say that へ implies there is a journey to point X with multiple stops on the way (Like mail being sent with layovers in multiple places beforehand) but one overall destination. へ also is more ambiguous (at least to me) it is kind of like saying toward X more than to X)

に on the other hand just means to, に is known as the target particle, it is like firing an arrow, the arrow goes straight to the target with the intention, focus, and destination being on the target.

へ and に are mostly interchangeable, with both having their own nuance but getting the job done (I don’t think へ can be used for anything other than as a destination marker, like how に can be used for the person or thing receiving a verb).

But then again this is just based on my mental model of Japanese and may or may not be correct, I would need confirmation from someone else.

There’s a really great Youtube video on this by Sambonjuku that really helped me with this 「に」と「へ」どっちを使う?/Difference of “に” and “へ” - YouTube