Information for Visitors

Bridge on OIST campus

Life at OIST

For general information, you can visit or contact the resource center, which can provide help and information about living in Okinawa, such as driving, banking, restaurants recommended by the OIST community, and things to do. The resource center can also help you to make restaurant and taxi reservations and provides many other services.

The following site is a collection of information about OIST, it's faculty and organization.

If you need to buy some items for your stay the marketplace may have what you need at a fair price, e.g. furniture, bicycles, or a car (requires OIST account to access).


All visitors participating in the TSVP will be provided with free, fully furnished housing. The program has shared rooms, 2-bedroom, and 3-bedroom apartments. The shared rooms are intended for 2 visitors with independent (locked) bedrooms and bathrooms, but a shared kitchen / dining area. The 2- and 3- bedroom apartments are intended for visitors who bring their partner and / or family. Please check here for details about check-in procedures. Note: Unfortunately OIST can not cover any of the additional costs incurred by family (e.g. travel or larger housing) but we can support you in other ways.

Gardens apartments at night

Aerial view of the Gardens ©

Family and Childcare

The families of visitors are of course welcome, but unfortunately costs can not be covered by the program. Visitors will need to pay for additional costs such as airfare and the cost difference of larger rooms. The program only covers the costs of the single visiting researcher accepted to the program.

Visitors with children under 6 years old may be able to bring their children to the Child Development Center (CDC), depending on availability of care. Please let us know prior to your visit if you need childcare, and we will tell you how to apply to the CDC yourself (required for data protection reasons).

If you have older children please see the following page for additional schooling options



The following website covers details about coming to OIST. While it is designed for new employees and not visitors, the information is likely to be useful. For example, there is a section covering the details of getting a visa to work at OIST. OIST administration will help you through this process.

Currenlty Japan still requires (unvaccinated) visitors to get a PCR test within 72 hours of departing on a flight to Japan. Please also not that the test certificate has to be in a specific format (or at least contain the same information in English or Japanese). We recommend to check your local Embassy's website for test centers in the area that provide certificates in the required format.

The other immigration requirements can be checked on this website (might involve filling out a questionnaire and installing apps):

Traveling in Okinawa

If you are looking for information about sights and attractions on the main island of Okinawa, including access via public transport, a good option is

Good starting points when looking to see what Okinawa has to offer beyond the stimulating scientific discussion are this Japan Wireless article and

Some smaller islands, like the Keramas, can easily be reached via ferry for a weekend trip. Many researchers at OIST enjoy outdoor activities like diving, hiking, snorkeling, or surfing so be sure to ask around if you are interested.


The OIST Lab Buildings as well as the on-campus have Wi-Fi internet access, however, many visitors prefer to also have internet/mobile network away from OIST.

The two most common options are SIM cards and pocket WiFi. Both of these you can order in advance and pick up at an airport in Japan, or get after arrival.

Some common options are listed at and here: (external links, not intended as endorsement of the listed products).

Learning Japanese

Some visitors are interested in learning Japanese while they are at OIST. Courses on campus are available for TSVP visitors too, especially if you arrive around the start of a new semester.

Welcome Package

Shortly before your arrival we will send you our "welcome package" via email. It contains campus maps, shuttle bus schedules, and other useful information. You can also download the files uploaded at the bottom of the On-Campus Housing subpage.