Every year during the middle of April, the various research institutes in Tsukuba open up their facilities to public tours. This year, 41 institutes will be open to the public, some on all of the days and others on only specific days. Most of the institutes are divided up into three groupings determined by location in order to facilitate moving from one display to the next. These main groupings have their open days on the 19th, 20th, and 21st, with a free shuttle bus service from the Bus Center along a set route to the institutes for that day. 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 in the Japanese pamphlet.
The week begins on Monday, April 17 with several institutes opening their doors to the public for all or most of the entire week. Open the entire week is the Center for Institutes (4), which has literature on all the institutes. The Tsukuba Botanical Gardens and National Science Museum (11), which is a good outing anytime but especially when the flowers are out is open the entire week except Monday, their normal day off. The same is true of the Tsukuba Expo Center (37), which is half price during Science Week (150 yen adults, 80 yen children). The Space Center (5) has open days on all but the final day and includes guided tours on each day beginning at 10:00 and 14:00. 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 Monday through Saturday include: the Geological Survey of Japan (28), which has a very nice geological museum open throughout the year and the Geographical Survey Institute (33). Open Monday through Friday are: the National Research Institute for Research in Inorganic Materials (3); the Tsukuba Research Gallery (14); the Tsukuba Administration Office Agency of Industrial Science and Technology (26) and the Kurashi To JIS Center (22).
Open only on the 19th are 16 institutes to the southwest of central Tsukuba. They are as follows: the Tsukuba Life Science Center (6), the Tsukuba Medicinal Plant Research Station (12), the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Research Council Secretariat (13), the National Agricultural Research Center (14), the National Institute for Agrobiological Resources (15), the National Institute of Agro-Environmental Sciences (16), the National Institute of Animal Industry (17), the Fruit Tree Research Station (18), the National Research Institute of Agricultural Engineering (19), the National Institute of Sericulture and Entomological Science (20), the National Institute of Animal Industry (21), the National Food Research Institute (22), International Research Center for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (23), Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute (24), the National Center for Seeds and Seedlings (25), and the Tsukuba International Agricultural Training Center (JICA) (36). 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 the 20th, 14 institutes located mainly in the Sengen, Namiki and Umezono areas will open their doors. They are: the National Research Institute for Metals (1), the National Research Institute for Research in Inorganic Materials (3), the National Institute for Environmental Studies (7), the Mechanical Engineering Laboratory (27), the Geological Survey of Japan (28), the Meteorological Instruments Plant (30), the Meteorological Research Institute (31), the Aerological Observatory (32), the Japan Automobile Research Institute (38), the Tsukuba Center, Inc. (40), the Tsukuba Institute of Construction Technology (Kumagai Gumi Co.) (42) and the Hazama Corporation (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 10;20, 11:05, 12:30, 13:30, and 14:00, 14:55, stopping at 12 stops along the 70 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 21st. This group is made up of 7 institutes including the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention (2), the National Laboratory for High Energy Physics (10), the Geographical Survey Institute (33), the Public Works Research Institute (34), the Building Research Institute (35), the Tsukuba Building Test Laboratory, Center For Better Living (39) and the NTT Field System Research Center (41). As the route for this day is shorter, the two buses will be able to make 5 round trips each, going in opposite directions around the route. The starting times at the bus center are 9:50, 11:00, 13:00, 14:10 and 15:20, and if you miss a bus, you can always take the regular bus service for a fee.
On Saturday, April 22nd, 7 institutes will have special displays aimed at children. They are the National Research Institute for Metals (1) from 10 am to 4 pm, the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention (2) from 1 to 4 pm, the National Research Institute for Research in Inorganic Materials (3) from 1:30 to 5:30 pm, the Tsukuba Life Science Center (6) from 1 to 4 pm, the Tsukuba University Hydrology Laboratory (8) from 2 to 4 pm, Tsukuba College of Technology (9) from 10 am to 4 pm, and the Tsukuba Expo Center (37) from 10 am to 4 pm. The Tsukuba Expo Center, Tsukuba College of Technology (9) and the Tsukuba Space Center (5) will also have a special public opening on Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm.
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