Guidelines for Visitors

* Important information: Online visitor form is now available

Visitor form can be submitted following websites
English :
Japanese :

Welcome to the Subaru Telescope, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan. We hope your observation in Hawaii will make a great accomplishment. All our staffs would like to support you and make your visit comfortable.
In order to make your visits and observations successful, cooperation between visitors and our staffs is of crucial importance. Only good communication at right time will make it happen.
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 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;
  • Contact persons: Chie Yoshida (For observing/visiting procedures) and Masami Takamoto (For travel expenses)
  • E-mail:
  • Phone: +81-422-34-3516
  • Fax: +81-422-34-3527

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.;
  • E-mail:
  • Phone: +1-808-934-5000
  • Fax: +1-808-934-5099
After receiving an acceptance of your proposal

Six weeks before the observation

  • Please select the final members visiting the Subaru Telescope
  • There is a limitation of the number of visitors allowed to stay at the Subaru Telescope in order to maintain safety and observation efficiency. Three visitors per program is the maximum number allowance to stay at the summit facility or the remote observation room in the Hilo Base facility. (Travel support is available to two visitors.) The number of the visitors at the summit is also limited, therefore, if there are more than two observations carried out, the number of visitors may be restricted to less than three. In this event, we will inform you in advance.
  • However, from an operational and educational point of view, we may accept the number of visitors exceeding the limitation, only when safety and operation are guaranteed. Please contact the Open Use Section in Mitaka six weeks before your visit for details.
  • Please inform the Open Use Section in Mitaka about all observers visiting to Subaru Telescope including name, contact information (phone number and e-mail address) six weeks before their visit.
  • If observer planning to attend observation but he/she is not registered in the original proposal, the PI must submit Application for Permission of Adding New Observer to the Open Use Section in Mitaka.
  • Please instruct all observers visiting to the Subaru Telescope to read this web site.
  • Trial operation of Mitaka remote observation started from S14B. If you are interested in Mitaka remote observation, please submit your request when you submit a list of observer to the Open Use Section in Mitaka. Mitaka remote observation during weekends and holidays can be done with some restrictions. For more detail, please visit Mitaka Remote Observation page. Travel support for Mitaka remote is available, but the maximum number is limited to three people per observation. This number includes travel support for onsite observers.
  • [Travel Support] Please make your travel arrangement as soon as possible. Acceptable airfare is up to¥300,000 (*peak period: ¥360,000) per observation run. *based on JR (Japan Railways).
    1. Airfare Estimate
    2. Airfare Receipt
    3. Flight Itinerary
    Please submit above (1, 2, and 3) documents to the Open Use Section in Mitaka.
    Although your application will be accepted without your receipt (2), make sure to submit it later. You may request advance payment for your travel expense by submitting your request one month before your departure.
  • Travel itinerary
    For the summit observation, visitors need to arrive at the Hale Pohaku (mid-level facility of Mauna Kea) by the day before the beginning of the observation for acclimatization. There is a free shuttle service available from the Subaru Telescope Hilo Base Facility to the Hale Pohaku. It leaves at 1:30 p.m. at Subaru Telescope Hilo Base Facility. 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.

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 make an arrangement with your SA regarding your research details by one month before your observation as it is indicated in an observation schedule notification.

Three weeks before your departure

  • 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. In addition, if you fail to submit it by three weeks before your observation, your visit may not be permitted.

Visitor Form
(Japanese) :

  • Arriving to Hilo during weekends and holidays
    The Subaru Telescope is open from 8:00 a.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.
  • Tips for preparation for your trip

International travelers who are seeking to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program are now subject to enhanced security requirements. All eligible travelers who wish to travel under the Visa Waiver Program must apply for authorization using below site. Effective September 8, 2010, all Visa Waiver Program travelers must pay the $14 ESTA fees. NAOJ reimburses the fee if you need to apply for ESTA for NAOJ business trip. Please submit a receipt of ESTA application and a copy of credit card statement to Subaru Project.

      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 was not accepted here.
  • If you are planning to drive a car, make sure to obtain an International Driver's Permit and bring it along with your domestic driver's license.
  • Buying travel insurance is highly recommended since medical costs are fairly expensive in the U.S. Please purchase one or bring a credit card, which comes 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 for 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 Open Use Section in Mitaka (for visitors from Japan) or Operation Center in Hilo (for all others).
  • 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 available 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.

When you arrived at Honolulu Airport

  • After you went through the immigration, the baggage claim and the custom, you need to check in your baggage again for the inter-island flight. You may find a place to check in before you exit the building.
  • Money exchanges are located in front of the custom area, and this is the last place where you can exchange you can exchange money in the airport. All stores and restaurants in the airport are located beyond the security gate.
  • Due to the strict security policy in the airport, it may take longer to pass through the security gate. Please keep in mind so that you will not miss your flight.
  • If you need to make a phone call to the Subaru Telescope from the Honolulu Airport, there is a toll-free number (1-888-801-6265). No coin is needed. You may just pick up the handset and push the number. Please inform that you are the Open Use visitor, so that your phone call can be transferred to the Operation Center. You may speak Japanese or English.
  • Please call and inform us if your flight is delayed. Please call if you cannot arrive in Hilo during the office hours (until 4:30 p.m.) or if you miss your shuttle because of flight delay.

When you arrived at Hilo Airport

  • If your check-in baggage did not arrive with you at the Hilo Airport, please go to the airline customer service and tell them to send your baggage either Hale Pohaku or your reserved hotel. If you asked them to bring your baggage to Subaru Telescope Hilo Base facility, we will not be able to receive it after the office hour. Moreover, we do not have any transportation to bring it to Hale Pohaku or your reserved hotel.
  • From the Hilo Airport, you can take a taxi cab or use a rental car to the Subaru Telescope. You can get a taxi by asking an airport security guard around you. Rental car desks are located on the other side of the street at the airport exit.
  • It takes about 15 minutes from the Hilo Airport to the Subaru Telescope.
    • After leaving the airport, keep going straight on first two traffic lights (you should be on Kekuananoa St., and you will pass Kanoelehua Ave. and Manono St.).
    • Turn right on Kilauea Ave and keep driving on the left lane.
    • Turn left on Mohouli St. and pass a traffic light.
    • Keep driving up the hill (approximately 1.1mile)
    • At the third traffic light, turn left on Komohana St. and drive about 0.2 mile.
    • You will see the traffic light and enter the left turn lane and turn left on Nowelo St. There is a sign said "University of Hawaii at Hilo".
    • Go down the hill and turn left on the first street. Subaru Telescope is on your left, the second building (White building) from the end of the street.
    • Address is 650 North A`ohoku Place
Honolulu International Airport
Hilo International Airport
Map to Subaru Telescope Hilo Base Facility

Important Phone Numbers

  Phone Number Hours
Subaru Telescope (Main) (1-808)934-7788
weekdays;8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Operation Center (1-808)934-5000 weekdays;8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Hilo Remote Observation room (1-808)934-5916 All through the night when remote observation is done
Hale Pokaku Subaru Office (1-808)934-0476 Irregular (Staff is more likely in the office during 6:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m., 3:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.)
Subaru Summit (1-808)935-5861 weekdays;7:00 a.m. - 6:00 a.m.
weekends;6:00 p.m. - 6:00 a.m.
Calls may not be picked up due to the operation.
Naniloa Volcanoes Hotel (1-808)969-3333 24hrs
Hilo Hawaiian Hotel (1-808)935-9361 24hrs
Pagoda Hilo Bay Hotel (1-808)935-0861
Hilo Seaside Hotel (1-808)935-0821 24hrs
Jack's Tours
(Shuttle service during weekends and holidays)
National Car Rental (Hilo Airport) (1-808)935-0891 everyday 5:30 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Alamo Rent A Car (Hilo Airport) (1-808)961-3343 everyday 5:30 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.

You don’t need to dial 1-808 if you are calling from the Big Island of Hawaii. If you are outside of the Big Island such as other Hawaii islands, mainland of the U.S, or Canada, you need to dial 1-808.

Arriving at Subaru Telescope

  • 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 the Subaru Telescope temporarily. The visitor room is available for you.
  • Please take a shuttle from the Hilo Base facility to the 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 be on time for your schedule.

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 a refrigerator, a microwave, a 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 minute 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.

The day before going up to the summit

As mentioned in the Subaru Telescope Safety Manual, smoking and drinking a day before going up to the summit should be avoided. Do not do scuba diving a day before your observation at the summit as well.

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 a refrigerator, a microwave, a toaster, and hot water available at the Staff Lounge next to the Remote Observation room.

About the use of computers at the Subaru Telescope

Please make sure that your computer is virus free using your own antivirus software with the latest definition file before you plug it to any network in Subaru facilities. 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.

To: All observers and visitors,

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.

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.

[References for the safety at the summit of Mauna Kea]

  1. Summary of the Safety Manual
  2. Safety Guideline for Visitors to the Subaru Telescope Facilities at the Summit of Mauna Kea
  3. Safety Procedures at the Summit (Version 7/27/05 : Quoted from the Safety Manual)
  4. Operating policy for the telescope during and weather such as heavy wind and high humidity

Arriving at the 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 the Hale Pohaku is located on the right side of the hallway from the front desk, the second door on your left. 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 always keep desks or equipment organized 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 a library, a TV room, pool tables, and a 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 the Hale Pohaku to the Hilo Base facility. 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 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.

Electronic Open Use Observation Report form is available on the Internet. It 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. You can access to the report form from following link.

Electronic Open-Use Report Form

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 as following formats, and please inform your preference on the request form.

[1] Sending either DAT or DLT media format. (Available for only visited researchers).
Please choose a preferable media format and write your address on the request form. We will send the item within a week.
[2] Obtaining data by yourself through Subaru Telescope Archive System [STARS (Subaru Telescope) or MASTARS (Mitaka Office)].

[Travel Support] After returning your home

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

1. Shucchou kanryou todoke

2. Original stubs of the all your boarding passes (If you lost the stubs, please submit a copy of your passport where your departure and return dates are indicated and also a copy of your ID picture page.)

3. Receipt of hotels

4. Shucchou hokokusho with your signature and a personal seal

A procedure will be initiated once all above documentations and a receipt of airfare, a quotation, and a flight itinerary are gathered. The travel expense is usually transferred to your bank account within a couple of weeks. Please review your schedule especially the number of nights stayed at the Hale Pohaku and so forth when you write your documents.

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. Concerning importance regarding to the observation, please contact directly with Yoichi Takeda who takes charge of Open-Use observation. Any questions or concerns regarding this website, please contact Subaru Telescope, Operation Center (

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