Living overseas has its challenges, and a commonly agreed upon one is finding that perfect place to live. To help those of us who are curious about the different options for living on Okinawa, readers have answered some of the most frequently asked questions about on-base housing. If you live in an on-base house that has not yet been featured on this site, please contact our Submissions Manager for the template.

Here’s a great link to access, too, if you’re on the fence as to whether to live on-base or off-base.


NC Patio NC Master Closet NC Master Bath NC Master NC Kitchen NC Hall
NC Full bath  NC Bedroom NC Stairway NC Living Room  NC Dining Area

What military base is your home located on? Camp Foster

What area of the island is your home located on (i.e. North Island, Central Island, South Island)? Central

What is the name of your neighborhood in which your home is located? New Chatan

Generally speaking, most on-base homes are approved for occupancy based on military or government rank.  If you would like, please provide the range of ranks that your home is approved for? No idea, I guess Junior Enlisted. My husband is E-4

Please describe the “feel” of your neighborhood.  Pets friendly, lots of kids, spacious and safe

Please describe the style of your home.  Multiplex, we are in an end unit. From what I understand they are about 2 years old with American appliances. 3 bedroom, 2.5 baths, 2 stories, huge closets with the master bedroom closet being a walk-in, lots of storage.

What services are available near your home? There is a playground on pretty much every block, PX is across the street (with-in walking distance), Macaroni Grill is under the tunnel less than 2 min away, shoppette is within walking distance, commisary is about a 3 min drive.

How is parking provided for your home? I have one parking space and there are visitor spots we use for 2nd cars

Is there any yard space or outdoor spaces provided for your home? We have a front yard, small backyard, big back porch that has a fence type thing around it, and since we are on an end unit we have a side yard.

What do you feel is special about your home or neighborhood – what makes it feel like “home” here on Okinawa? Our neighborhood really has a family feel to it. Everyone has kids.

Are there any expenses or fees associated with on-base housing? Just our internet/cable bill — we have the biggest package available it is about $80 a month.

Finally, what advantages and disadvantages do you feel have been your experience living on a military base here on Okinawa? On base we still get the American feel and it has helped me be less homesick. We still get to experience what Japan has to offer with the festivals both on and off base without being overwhelmed.

On-base is not as bad as people seem to make it out to be. I love how close knit the community is and how we can choose how involved we want to be with the Japanese culture. We have extremely young children (15 months and a newborn) and I personally feel safer on base than I think I ever could off-base.


If you live in on-base housing OR off-base housing that has not been featured on Okinawa Hai, or in housing that has been renovated since its last post, please contact our Content Manager for the on-base housing template and instructions on how to share your little slice of Okinawa with the rest of us.


  1. AHHH our packers are hear gathering up all our belongings to head to OKINAWA!!! We will be there early August, im excited and nervous at the same time.. I keep thinking they are going to pack something that I will need for the trip over… (our passports are in safe keeping so i know its not that)

    We have two children and hope that the wait for housing isnt too long along with the wait for our belongings to arrive.

    Maybe ill see some of you there!!

  2. I’ve read A LOT about pets and housing…and I’m still getting mixed reviews of how it will go down. Basically my question is, has anyone you know or yourself NOT been offered pet friendly housing options? The Marine website info on pets scares me, it says you might not and you’ll have to “properly dispose of your pet”. Anyone with that kind of info is greatly appreciated.

    • If they can not get you in to one of the pet towers or housing area then you will be offered the option to live off base. You or your spouse should have a sponsor that should have tried and taken care of your housing needs already. I’ve been on island 4 years and have sponsored a handful of families and I’ve never ever heard of someone having to dispose of their pets because of housing not being available.

  3. Hi! We are PCSing to Kadena this summer, arriving mid July. I was wondering if anyone had any tips as far as websites and research I can do regarding off base housing. Like what areas are closest, general monthly costs, ect. I think we would prefer on-base since it is usually less of a hassle, but from the research I’ve done, it looks like that might not be the best option! Thanks in advance!

  4. Hey Tim!

    Let me preface this by saying I am by noooo means an expert, so if anyone has anything to add or correct please feel free!

    I read the SAME thing when researching Okinawa: off base living simply wasn’t even allowed. But when we got here everything was full and lo and behold, they offered us the chance to look out in town. There is a lot of housing that’s under renovation, so I’m sure that has a lot to do with it.

    I don’t believe Futenma has family housing, so for on-base my guess is you’ll be offered either Camp Kinser or Camp Foster. Foster is larger (like the “main” Marine camp here), with a larger PX, the furniture store, community center, vehicle registration, etc. It’s also close to Lester (Naval Hospital) and Kadena (air base, larger BX). I’ve been in the Towers on Kinser; basic apartment-like setup but really awesome view of the ocean! I’ve never been in any of the housing on Foster. As far as off-base in the immediate Foster/Futenma/Kinser area, I can’t say too specifically as I don’t live in that area. Those camps are south of me. I live near Camp Courtney (kind of the middle of the string of Marine camps). I can say that the Foster area is a bit more “urban” (for lack of a better word) than the Courtney area. Not necessarily in a bad way, just more traffic congestion, business, etc. I’m only about 15 minutes from Foster via the Expressway but it feels like a different world. Just keep that in mind if you do look off base. Something else to consider: some of the off-base housing is “Americanized” and some isn’t, meaning some will have American appliances and some won’t. I live in a non-Americanized house, so our washer, dryer, fridge and microwave are all Japanese (the housing agency provided us with a translation sheet). Also, I do not have an oven, just one of the tiny Japanese fish ovens. Not a big deal for us…I’ve become a crock-pot master. LOL. Just something to keep in mind. Also, if you are considering off base remember to have some money set aside to pay the agency fee.

    On what to bring with you…hmmmmmm…again, not an expert. Don’t bring any appliances, though. All the base housing have their own, and I haven’t been in an off base house yet that didn’t come with them. If you live on base, I believe you can opt to have some of the stock furniture if you don’t want to bring your own. Off base housing can be a bit small (depending; our house is pretty big) so keep that in mind as well.

    Cars. Well, that depends on what kind of person you are! LOL. Some folks opt to buy nice sedan-type cars. But let me tell you – the roads here, especially once you get off the main road, are crazy narrow and often twisty-turny. So a lot of folks opt to get the basic tiny Japanese car. They don’t look as nice but they come in handy on those tiny roads and tinier parking lots! LOL! There are a few regular car lots. The ones I can think of are Johnny’s, BC Motors and Pit Stop. We got ours at Johnny’s, but I’ve heard good things about BC. Kadena does have a “lemon lot” also. You may also want to start looking at Sometimes you can grab a good deal on a car there.

    I am full of usless little tidbits of info. Just drop me a line at Hope this helped!

  5. Hey all,

    Just wanted to chime in from an off-base perspective. I was terrified at the prospect of living off base but now that I am experiencing it, you could not pay me to move on base. You can negotiate to get your utilities included in your rent, and for those that are not you just have to manage them. We pay our electric and that’s it, and as long as we manage it (turn off lights and a/c, etc.) we are fine. Our house is gorgeous, has a yard (with a palm tree! yay!), and I feel perfectly safe (with my 20 month old son – honestly Okinawa is safer than a lot of places in the US), plus you don’t have to deal with long lockdowns during typhoons, power outages, water outages, etc. Plus you get fiber optic internet off base! LOL. I just didn’t want folks who are getting ready to PCS here to be afraid of living off base if that’s your only option. It truly is an amazing experience!!

    • Hi Mari, We are PCSing from Whidbey Island in August. We were under the impression that OFF BASE housing was not an option. I have orders to MCAS Futema. We picked orders to Okinawa for the experience and culture and travel opportunities.

      Any insight you can provide for what should take (3200 LBS max), where to live (on or off base)and vehicle options (lemon lots), when we arrive. Thanks

  6. Hi we have orders to okinawa in july 2012 my husband is a E8 they r telling us we can’t move to camp courtney . my husband will be working on camp courtney so what base will we stay at and also is the towers better to stay at thank you.

  7. Hello, we are PCS’ing in three months to Camp Courtney. I would appreciate any feedback, advice on anything and everything. We are a family of four. Two boys under the age of 5. Thank you in advance.

  8. Hi Tania,

    The wait time will depend on what rank your husband is and how many bedrooms you qualify for. For 0-1 child(ren) you qualify for a 2 bedroom, 2 children gets you a 3 bedroom, 3 children and you get 3 or 4 bedrooms depending on ages and sexes of the children. The order you’re put on the housing list depends on when you leave your old base for Okinawa. February shouldn’t be too much of a wait, if any, since it isn’t a peak PCS season but I make no promises.

    Housing will definitely try to place you on whatever base your husband works on. They try to give you 2 options for housing. A Tier 1 (already renovated) and a Tier 2 (not renovated) house. If the houses are currently empty, housing gives you a key and you can go in and check it out yourself. If the house is currently occupied, they’ll give you the location and a layout but you won’t actually be able to go in and see it. Mold really isn’t an issue if the house has central heating and air otherwise, just buy a dehumidifier.

    We flew from SeaTac. It was a military chartered plane. Customs on this end is typically easier than flying commercial. We flew straight into Kadena. Commercial will fly you into Naha Int’l and it’s an hour drive to Kadnea. (I’m not sure what base you’re going to.) If you are staying at Kadena’s Shogun Inn, they do have a shuttle service that’s very useful and free. =) Housing will pay your TLF rate through TLA so be prepared for your BAH to stop once you get here. It usually reflects the change on the next payday/LES. Hmmm… I can’t think of anything else off hand. I hope that helped. Good luck and welcome to Okinawa!

  9. We did get two choices to look at a duplex on Lester and the tower apt on Foster. For me the tower was a better fit for us. I did notice some mold in the Lester place which worried me. As for the Towers it depends on which one you get they go by where u work and some are older than others ours is pretty new and mold free. Appliances are provided and they loan you furniture till your TMO arrives or for the duration of your tour if you choose.

    We flew on a commercial plane but it was contracted specifically for families flying on orders to Okinawa and flew into Kadena. It was long and painful, my husband and I traveled together with our 18 month old and our 5 month old not something I’m in a hurry
    to repeat. Hope this helps if you have any more questions let me know here’s my email I can send u pics too if you’d like and congrats on the baby!

  10. Thanks so much Dani. My husband is so organized. He’s already submitted the housing application to Okinawa, he has TMO scheduled as well, so we’re hoping that helps. Where you able to look at your two choices? How do you like your place? I keep hearing they’re super old and that there’s a mold issue? I’m a bit torn on what to do. I would love to live on base because the living off base does seem stressful and quite pricey when moving in. Does housing on base come with all appliances? (Fridge, washer/dryer) or would we be responsible for that?

    As for flights. Where did you fly from? We’ll be flying from Cali. I’m praying we get on a commercial flight… You flew alone with your kids?

  11. We flew here on the 21st of Oct and after two visits to the Housing office on Kadena we were offered two choices and moved into a Camp Foster tower by 1 Nov. We did our TMO a month before we left and got lucky because it was delivered on the 8th of Nov. As long as you have a good sponser willing to shuttle you around it should be pretty painless I will say that housing was really pushing for families to move out in town but they do have places available. Personally I prefer on base the utilities can get high out in town and it was just less stressful for us to be on base. For me the most painful part was the flight with two small kids.

  12. My husband and i will be PCS’ing to Oki in Feb 2012. We keep hearing a bunch of stories on how hard it is to get on base. Is the wait that long? I really would like to know roughly how long it takes. The only other forums i’ve found regarding my concern are from years ago. We would opt to live off base, but it just seems like a real task. I’ll be 6 months pregnant and just want to transition smoothly. What’s the word these days???