Should You Bring The Kitchen Sink?


Merry Christmas Eve! The boys are asleep. The cookies and reindeer food are waiting to be sniffed out by Santa and his four-legged pals. The stockings are hung in the stairway with tacks. The dog wants to go for a walk and I’d like to take a shower. Life is good and filling. I wish you much goodness and fullness and maybe just a little less frosting than I ate today.

As merry and jolly as things may be, there is business to attend to. Pam has a great question. And I am going to throw my answer out there first only because it won’t be right and you’ll be forced to correct me and tsk-tsk me for not knowing and also because I can’t resist. It’s like a puzzle. I love puzzles but I am not good at puzzles.

Pam wants to know about all these gates she hears about. Specifically she wants to know what gates are around Kinser. Man, there ARE a lot of gates.

Kadena’s gate one. Or gate two. or gate three. Or four which is there but never open. Or five which is open only during certain hours and never the hours that it would be of any help to me. And then Foster’s Legion gate, commissary gate which is temporarily closed, spot gate and so on and so forth. Also Kinser’s housing gate and Pizza House gate. And on and on and on. No idea about Courtney or McT or Shields or Hansen.

Egads. There are many, many gates in our lives.

So, Pam. It sounds like you want to live off-base. True? False? The closest base to Kinser is Foster. The Foster gate that is closest to Kinser is the commissary gate because it’s on 58. That gate is closed until some future time but not forever. The next base headed north on 58 is Camp Lester with two gates. Then north of that is Kadena’s gate one. We live north of gate one and my husband worked on Kinser. Although it’s only 7 miles on 58, it took him about 40 plus minutes to commute there. He didn’t mind the commute because he listened to his podcasts. I minded the commute because that was 80 extra minutes that we could have been together.

Also, there is a by-pass between Foster’s commissary gate and Kinser where there’s a lot of housing. I dig that area for the look and convenience but have no idea what housing options are there. Plus that’s right by Ginowan Seaside Park which is a great wide open space. AND near Uniqlo where clothes are cheap and funky.

WAIT! One more question from Pam.

Is there a website for school zones? I would much prefer my kids to start school at a more human hour as opposed to the subhuman hour of school starting at 7am (Will I have to wake them up at barely the crack of dawn to get the bus!?)

And there you have it.

Get some rest.

Be merry.

Help Pam.


  1. The McD gate is in Kishaba housing. Drive past the highschool through Habu canyon. Take a left at the stop sign then another left at the next stop sign. You will see the gate right there but it is closed most of the day now. It used to be open till 8 am. Then sometime in the afteroon. Not sure on the hours.
    It leads out to 330. Across from a soba shop.

  2. Hi, Heidi! I live on Foster too, and the best I can figure the McDonald’s gate is only open during school months, and then only briefly just before school starts, and just after. (best guess 7 – 9 am and 2-3 pm). The SgtMaj gate is open briefly all year, just for morning and evening commutes. (again with the guessing, 7 -9 and perhaps 3-5?)

  3. Hey there,

    I’m on Foster and I noticed that the McDonald gate was open for a short time this morning, presumably it had something to do with school starting today. I know the SgtMaj gate is only open certain hours as well, but I’ve never been able to figure out what those hours are. Was wondering if we could get a list or a link explaining which gates are open when. Thanks!

  4. I’m not of a great deal of help on the best off-base housing options for a job on Camp Kinser, but it is the southernmost of the US bases here on Okinawa. That means it’s the most “in the heart” of the island’s population so it’s near the most urbanized area, as far as bases go. It’s in Urasoe, I believe, just barely north of Naha City (the island’s metropolis). That said, many many MANY people live & work near Kinser, so I have got to believe that there are housing options there, although I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that they’re a bit more cramped (due to real estate being at a higher premium) &/or expensive (due to higher demand). But the density of the area means commutes into & out of it will be SLOW, especially during rush hours. Basically, riding a bike will be faster than driving a car (which my wife & I now do often, even up here in the Kadena/Lester/Foster areas). Check with a housing agency (or 5, as most represent completely different options than the others; so you only get their available plaecs not ALL available places) to see what they saw about housing options near Kinser. I feel like they’ll definitely have some options.

  5. My husband works on Futenma, so I do know that there is no family housing on Futenma, only bachelor barracks, so that base isn’t an option.
    Pamela, I found directions confusing for awhile even after I moved here and was driving around – it seems like something that many people struggle with. Something about an odd-shaped island, with extremely curvy roads (that most of us don’t know the names of) – I’m not usually so easily confused, but I’m also used to grid-like roads out in the country…!

  6. Hi Pam,

    Check this online link to a map of Okinawa.

    If you zoom in you can actually see the numbered gates for the bases. That should give you a better idea of the housing areas you’re looking at in case you are still considering base housing or if you can figure out what bases the off-base options are close to.

    I don’t think anyone mentioned Futenma which is located in between Foster and Kinser on 58. Not sure if housing is available on Futenma but it is also close to the Ginowan area that Meredith had mentioned in the post.

    Hope this helps!

  7. Thanks for the info, I have to say I am still a bit confused, I guess it is one of those things where you have to be there, some of the housing agencies will have ‘close to Kadena gate 2’ and I am trying to work out if that is N of gate 1 or S etc etc!!! I would be interested in finding out more about that area that meredith is talking about…and yes, you are right in assuming I am looking off base…we have a dog so Kinser towers are out, but from what I am hearing the whole housing assignment goes off the beaten track and has it’s own rules when you get there (ie: someone stationed on Kinser with a dog was offered housing on foster even though there was tower housing available on Kinser…)
    So we will be there end of Jan but we still don’t have a date yet!!!

  8. hey there Pam!
    I have been here almost 3 years and still dont know all the mystery gates on Kinser. But I really do not have a need to go onto Kinser either. ONE of the hidden gates for Kinser is by the ESSO station after the Slot Arena, Arin Krin, etc. I want to say it is where the madness begins and is the FIRST gate for Kinser.

    I live on Foster, so anywhere around here I have down pat. (for the most part anyways..wink)

    Gate 1B, the WesPac-Macaroni Grill, is opened during morning school hours and school letting out hours. I want to say it closes at 0830 and then closes again at 4pm or 4:30. It is temp closed. Last CG radio talk that I heard, said that the completion for this gate and the commissary gate(located on 58) is schedule for Jan 1. Then they will pick a few more gates to close down and remodel until all the gates are up-to-date with security measures. The dates have likely changed since I last heard. As my daughter now rules the roost and I no longer get to pick what we listen to! hehehe

    There is also Gate 1, which is for the headquarters building. You can also get to the WesPac and Macaroni Grill through this gate as well.

    Across from Gate 1, you will see the Exchange, that also has a gate. I do not know the gate numbers. We just call them by what building is closest.

    The Exchange gate has the new wanna be Starbucks(inside Captain D’s) just a few feet from the entrance. I call it wanna be because they do serve Starbucks coffee but do not have the same menu ….Which I am thankful that they do not have carmel fraps because my hips would not like me at all! eheheh. The movie theatre, burger king, popeyes, captain d’s, the banks, post office are all right inside this gate.

    Then there is the Spot gate and Globe and Anchor gate. Coming in from 58 and wanting to go the commissary or furniture store you would want to take the Spot gate. Go through the gate and head straight. At The Spot, there is pizza hut, dunkin donuts, the spa, the cleaners, the tailors, one of the barber shops, the laundry mat, subway and internet cafe.

    Globe and Anchor gate, has the Globe and Anchor, which is an enlisted club. The Chapel is right here as well.

    Then there is the Legion gate. Which is one that is hidden. Meaning you can not see the gate from the road. There is huge “Legion” sign and building. Sam’s Cafe, Lawsons, Johnny’s used cars sales and slot place. This is the gate for signing in vistors for passes. Just inside this gate is the 24h shoppette and Taco bell. (which now serves breakfast…my husband is a regular there..eheh)Down the hill is the CDC, PMO, ADMIN, Gunners Gym, MCCS, furniture store and the Chow hall.

    Then there are also housing entrances as well, that have weird hours. I have yet to get straight…The Mc Donalds gate is always open when I need it to be. It lets you into the Kishaba housing.

    Hope this helps a little…excuse all the spelling and gramemr…emmy decided she wanted to pertake in the typing…ehehe