Okinawa Hai fallback

The whole car experience here in Okinawa for me was like teenage deja vu.  Oh! the feeling of freedom and independence of buying that first car from the Lemon Lot and then Egads! driving on the wrong side of the road (Bob and I kept yelling at each other “Stay to the left!  Stay to the left!”) and then maneuvering my way through the little alleys and narrow roads that are so very Okinawa.  I also remember giggling at all the names and various styles of cars here that is so different from the States.  My favorites? “The Naked” and “Terios Kid”….so funny. 

Well, Okinawa Hai! frequent contributor, Julia, has kindly written up a piece about the available Lemon Lots here as well as a most helpful link to the Kadena Lemon Lot in case stateside readers would like to peruse and see what’s available before beginning your journey here.  Lemon Lots are also useful if you’re on your way off the the island.   Thanks for all the great info, Julia!

Getting a car was one of the things at the top of our list when we first arrived on Okinawa.  It’s hard to imagine but we’ll be leaving this island in several months and we’ll have to start thinking about mundane details like getting rid of our cars. 

It’s funny how things come full circle.  We did a tour of the lemon lots and used car dealerships about 2 years ago and will probably have to stop off at one of the lemon lots before we head out.  At the lemon lot you’ll find cars for sale mostly from service members who are PCSing out.  There’s one located on Kadena Air Base and another one located on Camp Foster. 

Cars must be registered before they can be placed at their Auto Resale Lot.  There is a $10 fee which is good for 14 calendar days. As long as your car is already registered at the Kadena Auto Hobby Center there is no additional charge for the Virtual Lemon Lot.  Register your car at the Auto Hobby Center located in building 1436.  You’ll need basic information like the make, model, and license number of your car.

Auto Hobby Center
Phone No.: 959-1156
Hours: Monday-Friday 8 AM – 8 PM
Saturday 8 AM – 9 PM
Sunday   10-AM – 6 PM

Directions to the LEMON LOT (Auto Resale Lot):
-Enter Kadena through Gate 2 and go straight.
-At the 3rd traffic signal make a RIGHT turn onto Douglas Blvd.
-Make a LEFT before the 1st traffic signal into the Auto Resale Lot.  There will be a sign marking the entrance.

At Camp Foster’s Lemon Lot SOFA personnel can park their vehicles for up to 90 days free of charge.  For more information about registering your car check with Camp Services (Bldg 494).  Again, you’ll need basic information like the make, model, and license number of your car.

Camp Services
Phone no.: 645-7317
Hours: Monday-Friday 7:30 AM – 4:30 PM

Directions to the LEMON LOT on Camp Foster:
-Enter Camp Foster through the Exchange Gate and go straight.
-Pass the 1st traffic signal and take a LEFT at the 4-way stop sign.
-Continue on this road and look out for the Lemon Lot on your right.  It is just past the Counseling Center (Bldg 440) and the entrance is marked by a small white sign.


  1. I think the regulation how many cars you can register on base must vary by branch or command or something b/c we have had huge issues with a 2 car max limitation, regardless of the number of licensed drivers in the household.

    lol @ Mike. 🙂

  2. I would not pay very much for a car on the lemon lot. They have no warranty and you have no way of knowing what repairs will be needed for the next JCI. I would go with a reputable dealer like “Quality Used Cars”. They offer a 2 year warranty on 2000 or newer cars (on engine, transmission, brakes, A/C, and rear-end differential). We have personally bought 4 cars from that lot. One for my husband, myself, my son, and my daughter. He has always gone out of his way to take care of us. He (Ed the owner) picked us up and brought us to the lot when we arrived, and he even gives us free tires when we need them.
    (his number in-case you want to call him)
    Ed Henry- 098-921-7780 or 090-3732-3035

  3. I’m selling a car if anyone is interested or if anyone knows anyone who needs a car. ’97 Toyota Spacio, blue, 4 door. A/C, Power locks and windows, 2 New tires. Brand new JCI good until April 2012. New Road Tax paid. Back seats fold up. Runs great. Good family car or for driving friends around. PCS’ing April 23. $2,000. Contact Rob or Ashley @ 090-8294-4524 or Must sell by this Thursday. Thanks.

  4. Hi, I’m selling my car, so if interested or if you’d like more information call me. ’94 Honda Integra. Automatic. Silver exterior, gray interior. New water pump & filter, belts, and radiator. $500 OBO as is. Contact Ashley @ 090-8294-4527.

  5. More about car names- anyone else seen the Nissan “Homy”? I drive a Subaru Pleo, which is not in itself a funny name, but then when I went to the Chatan Town Office to pay the road tax, I found out that sounds like the “pl” in Pleo don’t exist in Japanese- at least, not naturally. They say (and write) Subaru Pu-re-o. Why would they name a car somethng they can’t say?

  6. Hey, have 2 great cars to sell. One a Camry Gracia (97)(1800 OBO)and the other a Honda Moblio (2002 with fresh,2 yr. JCI)(6400 OBO). Pet free and smoke free home. Well-maintained cars. We PCS in late June, please call and check out the cars! 098-936-0781…Nikki

  7. I am selling my van asap!! The price is great for its condition and the JCI is good through September 2010. The price is $2,000. I live on Futenma base, its great for family, and its very spacious and reliable. I leave on Sunday now, so I’m looking for a new owner. I cannot go any lower than $2,000. I will be losing too much money. Anyone interested contact me asap please.

  8. I just arrived (still at the WestPAc!). In desperate need of a car. If you know of anyone leaving or trying to sell a reliable vehicle please send them my way! My sponsor is a single male (he really is trying!), so my daughter and I are basically grounded at the moment 🙂

    Hope someone can help!

  9. On the subject of amusing car model names sold here in Japan, for Spanish speakers I think it’s even more hilarious with models like the [Mitsubishi] Pajero & [Mazda] LaPuta! In addition to the aforementioned [Daihatsu] Naked & [Honda] That’s, I personally appreciate the [Honda] Life (b/c that’s how SERIOUS a vehicle it is) & [Toyota] Fun CarGo (we almost bought one just so we’d have a fun car to go & we could be its fun cargo) & the small (yellow-plated Kei car) [Mitsubishi] MiniCa (most amusing when thinking of it being spoken by a Bostonian; yes, I purposely capitalized the C).

  10. i posted on an old car buying post so i’m reposting the info here – i also wanted to say that I agree with the “Naked” being a big fav in the funny car names here, but another for me is the “That’s”…. who named that thing?? Funny stuff.

    When we arrived, after we got our licenses we rented a car from the place next to Foster WestPac. GREAT move b/c it wasn’t much per day, but we still had the freedom to meet housing agents and look at cars without feeling the pressure to rush or to make our friends or sponsor drive us around.

    We bought one car (2000 Vitz, I agree – fantastic little commuter car with more room than you’d think!) off a nice couple in the Kadena LL – it was their son’s car and he left for college. We negotiated a bit and it worked out great for hubby’s commuter car (from Sunabe to Hansen).

    The other car we saw in the parking lot at the hospital on Lester – we saw a sign in the window of (now my car) a Nissan Cube. A wonderfully kind Korean doctor who was PCS-ing to San Diego owned it – low-ish mileage, great condition, and she said she only drove it to & from work and to yoga on Saturdays. She was a dream! So have your cell phone with you (also get THAT early!) so you can call from the parking lot of wherever you are.

    Check the lots by the lodges too – people leaving must sell fast and giving you rock bottom prices – and also will probably let you test drive.

    Good luck.

    PAM THAT SUCKS!! Call me.

  11. Cool. Thanks for all the additional car sites, Joshua. I enjoyed perusing them eventhough we’re not in the market for a new car (knock on wood!).
    Pamelala, yikes! so sorry for what you’re going through with your first car experience here on Okinawa. I hope things rightfully swing your way soon. thanks for reminding us that it is essentially “Buyer Beware” when purchasing through the Lemon Lots.

  12. This is a sore point for me right now, as now we have to battle the person who sold us the car at legal…they promised they would give us the money back today because they sold us a car in a dishonest way with major safety problems, But he went back on his word and said he is not giving us the money back now…a big headache…

    However, I think the lemon lot is worthwhile, it is dishonest sellers that bring things down…