Every year during the middle of April, the various research institutes in Tsukuba open up their facilities to public tours. This year, 43 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 18th, 19th, and 20th, 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 (light green cover) available at the Information Center and the Center for Institutes, etc.
The week begins on Monday, April 16 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 (5), which has literature on all the institutes. The Tsukuba Botanical Gardens and National Science Museum (11), which is a good outing anytime, 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 (35), which is half price during Science Week (150 yen adults, 80 yen children). The Space Center (6) and the National Research Institute for Research in Inorganic Materials (3) are open to the public all days with special emphasis on children's events on the 21st. 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 other institutes.
Open Monday through Friday are the Geological Survey of Japan (27), which has a very nice geological museum open throughout the year, the Tsukuba Research Gallery (14), and the Geographical Survey Institute (31).
Open only on the 18th are 20 institutes to the southwest of central Tsukuba. They are as follows: the Tsukuba Life Science Center (7), 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 of Fruit Tree Science and the National Institute of Floricultural Science (15), the National Insitute of Livestock and Grassland (16), the National Institute of Animal Health (17), the National Institute for Agrobiological Resources (Kannondai Campus) (18), the National Institute for Agrobiological Resources (Ohwashi Campus) (19), the National Institute of Agro-Environmental Sciences (20), the National Research Institute of Agricultural Engineering (21), the National Food Research Institute (22), the Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute (24), the National Center for Seeds and Seedlings (25), the Tsukuba International Center (JICA) (34), and the Japan Agricultural Research Institute (41). 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. As the Agricultural complex is so big, there are also two free shuttle buses going around inside of it ( in opposite directions), leaving every half hour beginning at 10 am from the main office building in the center of the complex.
On the 19th, 7 institutes located mainly in the Sengen, Namiki and Umezono areas will open their doors (in addition to the ones open all week). They are: the National Research Institute for Metals (2), the National Research Institute for Research in Inorganic Materials (3), the National Institute for Environmental Studies (8), the Meteorological Instruments Plant (28), the Meteorological Research Institute (29), the Aerological Observatory (30), the Technical Research & Research Institute (Kumagai Co.) (39), and the Hazama Technical Research Institute (40). 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, 14:00, and 14:55, stopping at 8 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 20th. This group is made up of 5 institutes including the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention (4), the National Laboratory for High Energy Physics (10), the Geographical Survey Institute (31), the Public Works Research Institute (32), the Building Research Institute (33), the Tsukuba Building Test Laboratory, Center For Better Living (37) and the NTT Access Network Service Systems Laboratories (38). As this day's route 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 21st, 7 institutes will have special displays aimed at children. They are the National Research Institute for Metals (2), the National Research Institute for Materials Science (3), the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention (4), the Tsukuba Life Science Center (7), Tsukuba University (9), and the Tsukuba Institute of Science and Technology (43) (also open Sunday). The two shuttle buses leave the Bus Center, with one bus leaving at 9:30 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 10:40, 12:10, 13:20, 14:30, and 15:40, stopping at 3 stops along the 60 minute route.
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