What is the difference between 研究所 and 研究室? Do both mean a research institute?

  • Is it possible, as in the now-deleted answer, you misread the kanji for 研究室? What was the context you learned 研究屋 in, if I may ask?
    – user1478
    Commented Mar 23, 2014 at 23:10
  • Ah, yes. Put in the wrong kanji. Corrected it. Thank you. Commented Mar 23, 2014 at 23:25

3 Answers 3


研究所 is a research institute whereas 研究室 is more like a lab.


I think the other answers address it pretty well but I just want to throw in something that's a little weird about [研究室]{けんきゅうしつ} gets used versus "lab".

[研究所]{けんきゅうしょ} is the place of study on the level of university or more likely research center. I say research center is more likely than university, because Japanese universities are, in my experience, more an amalgamation of different [学部]{がくぶ} that function mostly independently and then within that professors manage multiple labs that are the 研究室.

Now the interesting thing about 研究室 is that these exist not just in fields like chemistry and physics but in fields like philosophy and religion. What it means in the [文学部]{ぶんがくぶ} cases is a room that the students can use to study where many of the related books are there. At my particular university, these books are even cataloged by the library and can be checked out using a handwritten notebook -- even by non-university affiliated persons.

In my friend's 研究室, even though he works in fisheries science, the room they call the 研究室 is just their respective desk areas. The room next door is a lab with an HLPC. Also they their shoes off in the lab but not the 研究室

The same thing goes for professors and faculty. A professor's office is his 研究室. Translating it to lab won't work in these cases at all.

  • This is the "real-life" answer because 「研究室」 often does not mean what a dictionary may say that it means. It usually just refers to each professor's room. The "lab" explanations by others would make little sense to native speakers.
    – user4032
    Commented Mar 24, 2014 at 8:47
  • Ahh that's a good point I'll amend it to point out that my office is my 研究室 at my new job and it was my advisor's as well.
    – virmaior
    Commented Mar 24, 2014 at 9:28

研究所 means "research institute". I have never seen 研究屋 (and it's not to be found in the BCCWJ corpus). I think that 研究屋 is 研究 "research" with the suffix 屋, which could have a number of nuances, e.g. "someone scientifically-minded", "Mr. Research". For a better translation, you'd have to provide some context.

In any case, 研究屋 is definitely not a way to refer to a research institute.

Edit. 研究室 is a type of 室 "room", so "research lab".

  • Is it not that 屋 is used in places of commercial business such as 本屋 (bookstore) or 電気屋 (electrical appliance store)? As such wouldn't it be the case that 研究所 is a research facility/institution and that 研究屋 is more along the lines of a commercial laboratory?
    – LordVysh
    Commented Mar 23, 2014 at 22:45
  • I don't think so.
    – Earthliŋ
    Commented Mar 23, 2014 at 23:15
  • It looks like Rachel G. misread the kanji 室 as 屋.
    – user1478
    Commented Mar 23, 2014 at 23:26
  • @snailboat I see. We should bring back the deleted answer, then.
    – Earthliŋ
    Commented Mar 23, 2014 at 23:52
  • 1
    Yes, 研究屋さん refers to a certain type of person, and can be used exactly as you suggested (and it may sound slightly derogatory). A medical doctor can be categorized into 研究屋さん and 臨床屋さん, a research-minded doctor vs. a practitioner.
    – naruto
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 18:32

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