I am familiar with the formula: 連用形+に+動の動詞 (行く、来る、帰る、戻る、出かける、出る) which means "moving somewhere with a purpose", where "moving" is a template for going, coming, returning, etc.


林さんは何をしに来たのですか。Why did Hayashi come?

本を借りに来たんです。He came to borrow a book.

Can a noun+に be used in the same manner to express purpose?

E.g. can 健診に be used as the purpose for the verb いく?

林さんは健診に病院に行った。Hayashi went to the hospital for medical examination.


The google dictionary that popped up from my google search has 7 definitions. Number 1 seems to be the most relevant to your question.

The part which relates to purpose is as follows:


 《移動に関する動詞と共に使って》 動作・作用による到達点を示す。  「京都―着く」[1st]...


As far as purpose is concerned, に can be used with a verb related to movement to show destination or what is attained (1st). (Sorry; my translation is very rough). In addition, it can show the purpose of a verb's action or operation (2nd).

The last example sentence reads: "a medicine that is effective for headaches." Here the に is clearly used to express purpose.

Hope this helps.

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