I am reading Toki wo Kakeru Shojo and those three words are refered in the text quite as synonyms. Also my dictionary translates them all as 'laboratory'.

It seems that they are used at different levels and are made for different purposes. Then in order not to have a vague meaning in mind, I would like to know the differences of those three words.

3 Answers 3


I work at a university in Japan, worked at a different one previously, and was a visiting scholar for a year and a half at another one.

[実験室]{じっけんしつ} = a real laboratory -- as the term would be used in English. This is where you would conduct actual experiments in the natural sciences.

[研究室]{けんきゅうしつ} = either a professor's office or a room that students use to read books, study, goof off, etc.

[実習室]{じっしゅうしつ} = a room for practical training. As my university trains future teachers, these are rooms that look like classrooms. If it were say something like music, it would mean a music practice room.

To give an example, my friend is doing a PhD in fisheries. He and the other graduate students use a 研究室 that has their computers, books, and pet fish. From what I gather, his lab mates spend a lot of time watching hentai there. His advisor also has 研究室 which is his office as we would use the term in America. They have on their floor a 実験室 that contains several pieces of lab equipment including an HPLC.

See also my answer at Difference between 研究所 and 研究室


With these kinds of words, it often helps to look instead at the relative different constituents:

実験: empiric test, (scientific) experiment
研究: (academic) research/study
実習: practical training

Then when you tack 室 to the end, it just makes a room where the respective activities take place:

実験室: room where you perform (scientific) experiments (a.k.a. laboratory)
研究室: room where you perform (academic) study and research (a.k.a. laboratory)
実習室: room where you perform practical training (i.e. physics lab for a physics class)

  • In real life, 研究室 often does not mean what you stated. @virmaior has the correct answer.
    – user4032
    Commented Sep 4, 2014 at 1:18
  • @非回答者 Do you mean "(academic) study and research" does not include reading books or writing articles with PC in English?
    – naruto
    Commented Sep 4, 2014 at 3:42
  • 1
    @非回答者 Sure it does. The room where I do all my mathematics research we call 研究室.
    – Ncat
    Commented Sep 4, 2014 at 4:24

Disclaimer: The only research I do is googling.

While not an authoritative source, JP Wikipedia's 研究室 entry says this on the first sentence:


So sometimes, 研究室 is not used to refer to a physical room or a facility, but rather a research division of institutes like universities and research centers. I came across a few uses of the term 研究室 not covered in virmaior's or b-wilson's answer.

  1. Some universities' 文学部 (Faculty of Letters) use 研究室 to mean "department", e.g.

  2. Also, 研究室 is sometimes used in the sense of "research group", perhaps similar to Stanford AI Lab, MIT Media Lab, Caltech's Jet Propulsion Lab, etc.

As far as I can tell (which is not very far), the terms 実験室 and 実習室 are not used in these 2 ways.

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