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I know ここ can be used to say "this place" like "ここが好き" and この場所 literally means "this place" like "この場所が好き". But is one preferred or more natural than the other or are they both just as viable? Thanks.

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この場所 always refers to a physical location/position, but ここ ("here") can also refer to a point of time, i.e., timing. For example, you can say ここで砂糖を入れます ("Add sugar here/now") in a context of describing a food recipe, but この場所で砂糖を入れます makes little sense. Likewise, you can say ここからは自分で勉強します ("From here, I'll study on my own") but この場所からは自分で勉強します sounds weird.

この場所 and ここ are interchangeable when they refer to a place, but この場所 is simply longer and tends to be used when there is an intent to emphasize the place.

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