Every year during the middle of April, the various research institutes in Tsukuba open up their facilities to public tours. This year, the institutes will be divided up into three groupings by location to facilitate moving from one display to the next, and there will be free shuttle bus service from the Bus Center along a set route. If you are interested in seeing what kind of research is being done at the various laboratories, this is an excellent chance to have a look. The institutes are open to the public on the respective days from 10 am to 4 pm each day. The numbers accompanying the name of each institute correspond to those on the map.
The week begins on Monday, April 13 with several institutes opening their doors to the public for the entire week. Topping the list is the Space Center (19), which will include guided tours beginning at 10:30, 13:30 and 14:30 each day with a maximum of 50 per group. This is an excellent chance to wander through the numerous displays of satellites and rockets. Tours can be arranged at other times through the year, but in general, there is not the easy access to this institute that is available at most others.
Other institutes open for the entire week include: The Tsukuba Administration Office, Agency of Industrial Science and Technology (23), which has a small museum open throughout the year together with many special displays; the Geological Survey of Japan (24), which has a very nice geological museum open throughout the year; the National Agricultural Research Center (5), which includes a display of 1400 ancient agricultural artifacts from around Japan; the Tsukuba Botanical Gardens and National Science Museum (31), which is a good outing anytime, especially when the flowers are out (closed Mondays); the Tsukuba Expo Center (40) has many new exhibits and is half price during Science Week (´150 adults, ´80 children, closed Mondays); the National Institute of Agro-Environmental Sciences (10); Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute (12); International Research Center for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (13); the National Research Institute for Metals (17); "Kurashi To JIS Center" (22), a new center which has a variety of hands on displays related to daily living (including experiencing what those with handicapping conditions face), the Geological Survey of Japan (24), and the Geographical Survey Institute (38).
On April 15th, 16 institutes to the southwest of central Tsukuba will be featured. They are as follows: the Tsukuba Life Science Center (1), the Tsukuba International Agricultural Training Center (JICA) (2), the Tsukuba Medicinal Plant Research Station (3), the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Research Council Secretariat (4), the National Agricultural Research Center (5), the National Institute for Agrobiological Resources (6), the National Research Institute of Agricultural Engineering (7), the National Food Research Institute (8) the National Institute of Animal Industry (9), the National Institute of Agro-Environmental Sciences (10), the National Institute of Animal Industry (11), Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute (12); International Research Center for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (13); the Tropical Agriculture Research Center (13), the National Institute of Sericulture and Entomological Science (14), the National Center for Seeds and Seedlings (15), and the Fruit Tree Research Station (16).. Free shuttle buses will be available to transport people to and from the institutes, leaving the Tsukuba Bus Center (stop 6) at 9:40, 10:10, 10:40, 11:10, 12:40, 13:10, 13:40, 14:10, 14:40, 15:10, 15:40, and 16:10 stopping at the Agricultural Center 20 minutes later, the Tsukuba Life Science Center 7 minutes after that, JICA 3 minutes later, and then back to the Tsukuba Center 50 minutes after it left.
On April 16th, 16 institutes located mainly in the Sengen, Namiki and Umezono areas will open their doors. They are: the National Research Institute for Metals (17), the National Research Institute for Research in Inorganic Materials (18), the Tsukuba Space Center (19), the Tsukuba Center, Inc. (20), the Mechanical Engineering Laboratory (21), "Kurashi To JIS Center" (22), the Tsukuba Administration Office Agency of Industrial Science and Technology (23), the Geological Survey of Japan (24), the National Institute for Environmental Studies (25), the Meteorological Research Institute (26), the Meteorological Instruments Plant (27), the Aerological Observatory (28), the Tsukuba Institute of Construction Technology (Kumagai Gumi Co.) (29), the Hazama Corporation (30), the Japan Automobile Research Institute (42) and the NEC Tsukuba Research Institute (43). The two shuttle buses leave the Bus Center, with one bus leaving at 9:40 going one direction around the loop and another bus leaving at the same time going around the route in the opposite direction. The two buses will repeat the same courses at 11:05, 13:30, and 14:55, stopping at 13 stops along the 75 minute route. You are free to get off and on at any point along the way.
The next grouping of institutes are all located on the north side of Tsukuba, and will be open on Friday, April 17th. This group is made up of 7 institutes including the NTT Field System Research Center (32), the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention (33), the National Laboratory for High Energy Physics (34), the Tsukuba Building Test Laboratory, Center For Better Living (35), the Building Research Institute (36), the Public Works Research Institute (37), and the Geographical Survey Institute (38). As this day's route is shorter, the two buses will be able to make 6 round trips each. The starting times at the bus center are 9:50, 10:50, 12:50, 13:50, 14:50 and 15:50, and if you miss a bus, you can always take the regular bus service for a fee.
On Saturday, April 18th, 7 institutes will have special displays aimed at children. They are the Center For Institutes (0) from 10 am to 4 pm, the Tsukuba Life Science Center (1) from 1 to 4 pm, the National Research Institute for Metals (17) from 10 am to 4 pm, the National Research Institute for Research in Inorganic Materials (18) from 1:30 to 4 pm, the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention (33) from 2 to 4 pm, the Tsukuba University Hydrology Laboratory (39) from 2 to 4 pm, and the Tsukuba Expo Center (40) from 10 am to 4 pm. The Tsukuba Expo Center and the Tsukuba Space Center (19) will also have a special public opening on Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm.
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