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 15 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 15:00 each day. This is an excellent chance to wander through the numerous displays of satellites and rockets at your own pace. 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 (22), 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. During this week, they will be displaying the pieces of the meteorite that fell on Tsukuba on Jan. 7; 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 (33), which is a good outing anytime, especially when the flowers are out (closed Mondays); the Tsukuba Expo Center (42) has many new exhibits and is half price during Science Week (150 yen adults, 80 yen children, closed Mondays).
On April 16th, 16 institutes to the southwest of central Tsukuba will be featured. They are as follows: the Tsukuba Life Science Center (1), the Tsukuba Medicinal Plant Research Station (2), the Tsukuba International Agricultural Training Center (JICA) (3), the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Research Council Secretariat (4), the National Agricultural Research Center (5), the National Research Institute of Agricultural Engineering (6), the National Institute of Agro-Environmental Sciences (7), the National Institute of Animal Industry (8), the National Food Research Institute (9), the National Institute for Agrobiological Resources (10), the Tsukuba Office of the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Research Council Secretariat (11), the National Institute of Animal Industry (12), 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, 10:30, 11:00, 11:30, 12:00, 13:20, 13:50, 14:20, 14:50, 15:20 and 15:50, stopping at the Agricultural Center 15 minutes later, the Tsukuba Life Science Center 5 minutes after that, JICA 2 minutes later, and then back to the Tsukuba Center 40 minutes after it left.
On April 17th, 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), the Tsukuba Administration Office Agency of Industrial Science and Technology (22), "Kurashi To JIS Center" (23), 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), the National Institute of Materials and Chemical Research (25), the National Institute for Environmental Studies (26), the Meteorological Research Institute (27), the Meteorological Instruments Plant (28), the Aerological Observatory (29), the Tsukuba Institute of Construction Technology (Kumagai Gumi Co.) (30), the Hazama Corporation (31), and the University of Tsukuba Animal Research Center (32). The two shuttle buses leave the Bus Center, with the first bus leaving at 9:50 going one direction around the loop and another bus leaving 10 minutes later going around the route in the opposite direction. The two buses will repeat the same courses at 11:15 (11:25), 13:30 (13:40), and 15:00 (15:10), stopping at 10 stops along the 57 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 Thursday, April 18th. This group is made up of 8 institutes including the Tsukuba Botanical Gardens and National Science Museum (33), the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention (34), the National Laboratory for High Energy Physics (35), the NTT Field System Research Center (36), the Tsukuba Building Test Laboratory, Center for Better Living (37), the Building Research Institute (38), the Public Works Research Institute (39) and the Geographical Survey Institute (40). As this day's route is shorter, the two buses will be able to make 5 round trips each. The starting times at the bus center are 9:50 (10:00), 11:10, (11:20), 13:00, (13:10), 14:20 (14:30), and 15:25 (15:35), and if you miss a bus, you can always take the regular bus service for a fee.
On Saturday, April 20th, 6 institutes will have special displays aimed at children. They are the Tsukuba Space Center (19), 1:30 to 4 pm; the Tsukuba Life Science Center (Institute of Physical and Chemical Research) (1) from 1 to 4 pm; the National Research Institute for Metals (17) 10am - 3pm; the National Research Institute in Inorganic Materials (18) from 1 to 4 pm; the Tsukuba University Hydrology Laboratory from 1 to 4 pm, and the Tsukuba Expo Center 10th Anniversary Celebration on both Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm, including paper airplane demonstrations (11, 1 and 3) and sports science exhibits.
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