Guidelines for Visitors

Welcome to the Subaru Telescope, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan. We hope your observation will make a great accomplishment. All our staffs would like to support you and make your visit comfortable.
This web site shows you detailed procedures that you should follow for your visit. You are strongly encouraged to check this web site constantly and prepare for your visit.

Contact Information

  • From Institutions within Japan: To apply/update your visit and travel expense, or to apply Mitaka remote observations, please contact,
    Subaru Telescope Open Use Section, NAOJ at Mitaka, Japan:

  • From Institutions outside of Japan: to apply your visit or to update your applications, please contact,
    Operation Center, Subaru Telescope at Hilo, Hawaii, U.S.A.:
After receiving an acceptance of your proposal
  • Please read the acceptance/schedule informing emails carefully.
  • Please peruse Open Use Policy
  • [Travel Support] We can provide domestic travel support for Mitaka remote observation (up to 3 domestic observers).

Six weeks before the observation

  • In general, the PI should attend and conduct the observation. If the PI cannot attend for some reason, deputy PI who is responsible for the observation should be nominated among the CoIs.
  • Observers should be listed in the proposal as a PI/CoI. If you are planning to let an unregistered person to attend the observation as a new CoI, the PI must submit "Application for Permission of Adding New Observer" and be approved
  • In general, we accept up to 3 observers for each run in Hawaii.
  • For the time being, all open use observations will be performed remotely either from Hilo base or Mitaka campus of NAOJ, because the current unstable situation surrounding Maunakea makes it difficult for the observatory to guarantee safe transportation of observers to the summit. In addition, our budget is too tight to support travel expenses from Japan to Hawaii for observers. However, if the situation has returned normal, summit observations might be permitted again for open-use observers, though they should cover their own travel expenses by themselves in this case.
  • Regarding Mitaka remote observations, please see Mitaka Remote Observation Webpage. For observation on holidays/weekends, the support staff may give you directions in advance.
  • Regarding Hilo remote observation, please visit Request form for Hilo Remote Observation for more details.
  • There is no limitation of the number of observers for Mitaka Remote observations, but travel support for domestic researchers is limited up to 3 persons.
  • If the observers are all students, we may ask their supervisor(s) to certificate that the observation can be made without problem.
  • Please instruct all the observers to read this web site.
  • [Travel Expense Support] (only for researchers belonging to Japanese institutions)
  • From S20A, travel support will be provided only for Mitaka remote observations and Keck observations (in the time-exchange framework). For Keck observations, we can supprot 1 observer for each run.
  • The maximum cost of flight ticket to Hawaii is 160K JPY (200K JPY for busy seasons *1). Please try to reduce flight ticket cost as much as possible.
    *1: We use the term 'busy seasons' according to the specification by JR (Japan Railways)
  • For travel support by NAOJ, you need to submit your e-ticket or the three documents by travel agency (Airfare Estimate, Itinerary and Receipt) to Subaru Mitaka Office.
  • You may request advance payment for your travel expense by submitting your request one month before your departure.
  • Your travel itinerary should be as follows if NAOJ supports your trip:
    (Hawaii) arrive on the day before the beginning of the observation and one-night stay after the observation
    (Mitaka) arrive on the day of the observation and lodging only the night of the observation If you need to lodge the day before the observation, please contact observers-infodesk beforehand.
  • Please contact if you have any question or if you have difficulty in finding reasonable flight tickets.

By one month before the observation

Visiting observers are required to establish and document proper observation procedures by contacting with the Support Astronomer (SA) beforehand. Please plan with your SA regarding your research details by one month before your observation.

By three weeks before the observation

The Subaru Telescope Visitor Form is essential to make travel arrangements such as hotel, rental car, etc. It is important to submit it on time, otherwise, arrangements may not be made as you request.

  • Arriving to Hilo during weekends and holidays
    Subaru Telescope Hilo Base Facility is open from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. (M-F). The office is closed during weekends and Holidays, and there might be no service available for visitors during that time.
  • Travel itinerary
    For the case of summit observation (only if especially allowed), visitors need to arrive at Hale Pohaku (mid-level facility of Mauna Kea) by the preceding day before the beginning of the observation for acclimatization. There is a free shuttle service available from Subaru Telescope Hilo Base Facility to Hale Pohaku. It leaves at 1:30 p.m. at Subaru Hilo Base. If your flight schedule conflicts with this shuttle schedule, please contact Open Use Section in Mitaka (for visitors from Japan) or Operation Center in Hilo (for all others). We may adjust the time of departure of the shuttle. Subaru Telescope does not offer transportations from Hilo airport to Hilo Base Facility.

Tips for preparation for your trip

International travelers who are seeking to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program must apply for authorization using the ESTA site below.
NAOJ can reimburse $14 ESTA fee if your travel expense is supported by NAOJ. Please submit a receipt of ESTA application and a copy of credit card statement to Subaru Mitaka Office.

Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)   Embassy of the United States Website

  • If you stay at a hotel, you are responsible for the payment. Please have a credit card valid in the U.S. If you do not have a valid credit card, you may be charged a large amount of deposit upon check-in.
  • If you do not receive travel support from Subaru Telescope, you need to pay for the Hale Pohaku accommodation fee at Subaru Telescope. Only credit cards (Visa, Master, JCB, Diners Club, and Discover) are acceptable.
  • Please make sure with your credit card companies that your credit cards are valid in the U.S. We are reported that a credit card issued in Japan (i.e., other than those mentioned above) was not accepted here.
  • Buying travel insurance is highly recommended since medical costs are fairly expensive in the U.S. Please purchase one or bring a credit card with the travel insurance. Visitors are also encouraged to obtain information regarding procedures of medical cost reimbursement and local contact numbers of the insurance company.
    NAOJ purchases the travel insurance for all visitors who go abroad as NAOJ business trip. However, eligible travelers are the resident in Japan only. Please check the website (Japanese only) to apply.

Before your departure from your home

  • You will receive your Visitor Form with confirmation numbers. Please check your visitor form again and make sure that all the information is accurate. If you find an error, please contact
  • If your trip is supported by NAOJ, please check the travel insurance policy sent you via email.
  • Rule of the use of your computer in the facilities
  • If you are planning to use your computer by connecting LAN in Subaru Telescope facilities, please make sure that your computer is not infected with virus. Make sure that your computer has a valid virus protection as well. Use of WiFi at the summit area is prohibited to avoid interference to radio observation. Please turn off WiFi of all your electronic devices including notebook PCs, tablets, and smartphones.

At your home airport

  • Exchanging currency to US dollar before your departure is recommended. There are money exchanges at the Honolulu Airport, however, they may be closed upon your arrival or you may forget to exchange.
  • Make sure to check in your baggage all the way to Hilo. By doing so, you may save your time and effort to carry your baggage in the Honolulu Airport.

Arriving at Subaru Telescope

  • Subaru Telescope Hilo base facility is locked 24 hours a day. Assistance through the intercom is available during the office hours.  

        Office Hours
        8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon
        1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
        Closed on Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal and Hawaii State holidays.

  • Please inform the front desk that you are the Open Use visitor. The Operation Center is the room 101.
  • You will participate in the orientation at the Operation Center. You will receive a package for Open Use visitors. Please read and sign AGREEMENT ABOUT OPEN USE POLICY AND INDEMNITY RELEASE and submit it to the Operation Center. If you are going to the summit, please read Safety Guidelines and Safety Procedures at the Summit carefully.
  • If you need to pay for the Hale Pohaku accommodation fee, please pay at the Operation Center. We accept credit cards only (Visa, Master, JCB, Discover, and Diners Club).
  • Please let us know if you are planning to stay at Subaru Telescope Hilo office temporarily. The visitor room is available for you.
  • Please take a shuttle from the Hilo office to Hale Pohaku. The Shuttle leaves at 1:30 p.m. everyday.

Notes: If you arrive during weekends or off our office hours, you will need our arrangement to enter the building. Please follow it as instructed.

Subaru Telescope base facility at Hilo

  • The room 204 is the visitor room located on the second floor. Two Linux PC, a printer and a telephone are in the room. Each desk in the room is equipped with a power outlet and a LAN cable. Please let us know upon the registration if you want to use the room.
  • A library, meeting rooms and Staff Lounge are in the facility. There are refrigerator, microwave, toaster, and hot water available at the Staff Lounge.
  • There is no food available for purchase in the facility. A cafeteria in Imiloa Astronomy Center and another cafeteria in University of Hawaii at Hilo are within walking distance (5 to 10 mimute walk). No grocery store is within walking distance. There is a convenience store on the way from the airport to the facility. The name of the store is "Seven Eleven."
  • Smoking is prohibited in the base facility at Hilo except for a designate smoking area and in the summit facility and Hale Pohaku inside the building. See a poster placed in the visitor room for details.

For visitors who participate the remote observation

  • The Remote Observation room is room 208 located on the second floor of the Subaru Telescope Hilo Base facility.
  • Please make enough time for the preparation so that you can start your observation on time.
  • You are responsible for your transportation between your hotel and the Hilo base facility.
  • Meal service is not provided. Please prepare your own food. There are refrigerator, microwave, toaster, and hot water available at the Staff Lounge next to the Remote Observation room.

About the use of computers at the Subaru Telescope

Subaru Telescope is requesting users and visiting observers not to use Subaru and IfA/UH network to download copyrighted material without proper authorization. Subaru and IfA/UH network includes but not limited to network at Subaru's Hilo facility, at Subaru's summit facility and at Hale Pohaku facility and at Hale Pohaku Subaru office. Downloading copyrighted material without proper authorization is generally illegal and subject to hefty fine, criminal or civil lawsuit, and would destroy organization's credibility.

For your safe observation

The Subaru Telescope aims to make the safest and comfortable work environment by following the safety regulations of the government of both Japan and the U.S. We established our own safety manual and practice safety programs.

You may have mountain sickness since the summit observation is conducted at the altitude 4,200m. Please read Safety Advisory for Visitors to Subaru Telescope before your observation.

Visitors who are going to the summit are provided with the safety guidelines in your package. There is an orientation regarding your safety by the operator in the first evening of your observation at the Hale Pohaku. Please attend the orientation.

Keeping the telescope and other instruments in good condition is important for the observatory. In order to protect the telescope, changing angle of the telescope or closing the dome due to the bad weather such as high humidity or heavy wind may be inevitable. These decisions are made by the operators.

Arriving at Hale Pohaku

All doors at Hale Pokaku are locked with combination locks. We will inform you the combination number at the orientation. Upon arrival, please find a check-in sheet and your room key on the front desk located on your left side from the building entrance. Please fill in the sheet and drop it in the Key Drop box.

The Subaru Telescope office in Hale Pohaku is located on the right side of the hallway from the front desk, the first door on your right. This door is also locked with a combination number. We also inform you the number during the orientation. Please write down your name and your room number on the white board in the office. This office is a general office for both Open Use visitors and Subaru Telescope staffs. Please be aware that the office may be overcrowded and may not be efficient. Please keep desks tidy and make them available for others if you are not using them.

There are three buildings for visitors at Hale Pohaku (Dorm B, C, and D). The directory is located at the next to the front desk. The Hale Pohaku is a non-smoking facility.

Cost for Hale Pohaku includes three meals and a night snack per night. The first meal after checking in is a dinner, and last meal is a lunch before checking out. To have your meal, please sign your name and check "resident box" on the sheet at the cafeteria. If you wish to have a night snack, please fill in the request form on the salad bar table and submit it to the box by 3:00 p.m. The night snack should be ready by dinner and it should be in the refrigerator in the cafeteria.

Cafeteria Hours
Breakfast: 6:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.
Lunch: 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Dinner: 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

There are library, TV room, pool tables, and laundry room in the Hale Pohaku.

The cold weather gear is available for rental at $6. When you rent it at Hale Pohaku, please inform the Operation Center and pay for it at Subaru Telescope Hilo Base facility before you leave from Hilo. We accept credit card (VISA, Master, Discover, or Diners Club).

Please read here the information about Hale Pohaku.

Transportation between the Hale Pohaku to the summit

Observatory staff provides transportation between the Hale Pohaku to the summit to observers. However, if observers prefer driving to the summit by themselves, please contact Subaru Telescope ahead of time. Special arrangements are required if observers drive their personal vehicle/rental vehicles. Also, please read this page for more information.

Arriving at the summit

As mentioned in the safety guidelines, please follow the instruction provided by the shift leader. The shift leader is one of the operators. Please ask operators who is in charge as a shift leader. Use of WiFi at the summit area is prohibited to avoid interference to radio observation. Please turn off WiFi of all your electronic devices including notebook PCs, tablets, and smartphones.

Online information regarding weather condition

Before leaving the Subaru Telescope...

Checkout from the Hale Pohaku
Please drop your key in the Key Drop box at the front desk. This is all you need to do for check out.
The shuttle to Hilo

If you already made a reservation, you can take a shuttle from Hale Pohaku to Hilo. Your driver will drop you off at one of the following locations upon requests: the Hilo airport, the Subaru base facility, or your location of accommodation (only in Hilo). The shuttle leaves at 2:30 p.m. from the Hale Pohaku entrance. Please be present in the lobby by that time.

At Hilo Base facility

If you receive a card key for the Hilo Base facility, please return it to the Operation Center. If you could not pay for the Hale Pohaku accommodation fee the day you checked in, please make a payment at the Operation Center as well. It would be a lot of work if you try to pay after you have left Hilo.

Open Use Report
In order to improve the quality of support to the researchers and maximize the scientific achievements, Subaru Telescope requests all Open Use PIs or proxy PIs to submit Open Use observation report.

This electronic Report form is accessible from anywhere, however, you are encouraged to submit before you leave the Subaru Telescope in order to ensure that all reports are submitted.

Submission your Observation Data Request Form
Please fill in the Observation Data Request Form and submit it to the Operation Center. If you have already received your data at the summit, please inform on the form as well. The copy of your observation data will be available through Subaru Telescope Archive System (STARS).

[Travel Support] After returning your home

If you plan to receive the travel expenses, please submit the documents below to Ms. Suehiro, Open Use section in Mitaka immediately.

  1. Shuccho Kanryo Todoke (please check the number of nights lodging in Hale Pohaku)
  2. Original stubs of the all your boarding passes (If you lost the stubs, please ask airline company to certificate that you have been actually on board.)
  3. Receipt of the hotel
  4. Shucchou hokokusho (sent you by Suehiro around your return date) with your signature and a personal seal

A procedure will be initiated once all of required documents are submitted. The travel expense is usually transferred to your bank account within a couple of weeks or so.

Please see the detail of the procedure for the provision of the expense on the oversea official trips.

Subaru Seminar

Subaru Telescope holds “Subaru Seminar" in order to introduce your research to our staffs. We welcome your presentation.


The purpose of this web site and web links are to provide the most current information to observers of the Subaru Telescope. The contents may be changed without notice. You are always encouraged to update all information. Although all contents are published based of the fact, there is no guarantee that all information is accurate. National Astronomical Observatory of Japan and Subaru Telescope are not responsible for all damages caused by the information provided in this website. Any questions or concerns regarding this website, please contact Subaru Telescope, Operation Center ( or Mitaka Open Use Section (

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updated on December 5, 2019