The following sentence is from the 日本語パワードリル N1 book, in a section where you get an article or a passage of text, and have to pick the answer which fits the surrounding sentence(s).

日本製のマイクロバスだが、14人乗りの ______ 32, 3人は詰め込んで走る。

1 ときに 2 もとに 3 場面に 4 ところに

Upon first glance, my instinct was that none of them really felt right. The answer is 4 ところに, but my issue is that I have learned ところに as "at the time when~, just when I was about to~", in sentences such as:



I'm not sure how ところに is being used here?

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    駅に着いたところに財布を忘れたことに気づいた。 -- その「ところに」の使い方は変ですね。Is that sentence from your textbook? 「駅に着いたところ財布を忘れたことに気づいた。」 would be good.
    – chocolate
    Jun 1, 2021 at 7:40
  • To me each of the three ところに sentences, including the N1 question, is a bid weird. On the question sentence, ところに sounds out of place, but also 32, 3人は詰め込んで走る is unnatural (it would make more sense if it was written 32、33人詰め込んで走る). Nevertheless, among the four choices, ところに seems the most acceptable, if not appropriate. The other two sentences could be paraphrased as 家を出ようと思っている時に and 駅に着いた時に (or 駅に着いたところ) respectively.
    – user48754
    Jun 1, 2021 at 8:44
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    Closely related: japanese.stackexchange.com/q/84644/5010
    – naruto
    Jun 1, 2021 at 10:32
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    So your two examples are from this page jlptsensei.com/learn-japanese-grammar/… Their other sample 家を出ているところに、電話がかかってきた。 The phone rang just as I was leaving my house is also incorrect... so that's why you shouldn't trust JLPT Sensei japanese.meta.stackexchange.com/a/2196/9831その乗り合いタクシーは)日本製のマイクロバスだが、14人乗りのところに32, 3人は詰め込んで走る sounds okay to me. (The は means "at least".)
    – chocolate
    Jun 2, 2021 at 1:12
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    According to the OP, 日本製のマイクロバスだが、14人乗りのところに32, 3人は詰め込んで走る is originally from Asahi Shimbun. Even so, I still find that sentence unnatural. I believe Japanese native speakers may regard that as acceptable, but that most of them certainly will not think it as an ideal sentence. So, if you want to learn anything about ところに usage, I recommend you to avoid that bad example sentence.
    – user48754
    Jun 2, 2021 at 7:09

1 Answer 1


ところ has many abstract usages, one of which is to describe an ordinary/regular/expected situation.

For example, on home shopping programs, you can often hear something like "10000円のところ(を)3000円で販売します!" (We'll sell this for 3,000 yen instead of the regular 10,000 yen!)

So you can say the following (を after ところ is optional):

  • 14人乗りのところ30人は詰め込んで走る。
  • 14人乗りのところ30人は詰め込んで走る。

In your case it says ところ. I think this is acceptable because this ところ is also referring to a physical place (the bus).

  • 14人乗りのところ30人は詰め込んで走る。

Similar examples of ところ:

  • ごめんなさいと言うところでありがとうと言ってしまった。
    I said thanks when I had to say sorry.
  • そこは「はい」と言うところだよ!
    You're supposed to say "Yes" in such a situation!

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