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United States Marine Corps
PSC 561 Box 1862
Off-base costs in Japan tend to be high compared to stateside prices. Local commissary prices are generally higher than CONUS commissary prices, particularly for produce. Military members stationed in Japan receive a cost of living allowance.
Most personnel coming to the installation can expect to live on-base. For those assigned housing off-base, rents are much higher per square foot than most US cities. In addition, when moving into an offbase rental you will be required to pay first and last months rent, security deposit, agent fee, and insurance. Plan to put down 3-4 months rent at the time you sign your lease. In all, you can expect to pay between $7,000-$10,000 to move into a house off-base and all expenses will be paid in Yen. This price does not include the fees associated with boarding a pet in the installation's kennel for the duration of its quarantine. Agents' fees are reimbursed over the term of the lease and security deposits are returned at the end of the lease less any damage charges or lease termination fees. Utilities are extremely costly in Japan. Electric/gas bills in excess of $500 are not unusual during high energy use months.
Vehicles are generally much less expensive in Iwakuni than in most U.S. cities. This is because most personnel purchase used vehicles either from other Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni residents or from local auto lots. All drivers must purchase two types of insurance for their vehicles. Japanese Compulsory Insurance is purchased in two-year increments. JCI requires a full safety inspection and costs may run in excess of $1,000 depending on any needed repairs. Secondary insurance must also be purchased. Secondary insurance may be purchased as liability coverage only or liability and comprehensive coverage. Rates depend upon rank and driving record. Road tax must also be paid for all vehicles during April each year. Road tax varies depending on vehicle and engine size. Fuel is much more expensive off base than on base and toll road costs are significant. For example, tolls from Kyoto to Iwakuni on the expressway would cost in excess of $85.00 for a passenger car.
For more information on COLA, please click the following link:MCAS Iwakuni Welcome Aboard section.
Bringing pets to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni Japan is highly discouraged. Housing here is very limited both on and off-base. Dogs are not permitted in much of the on-base housing. Many landlords off-base will not rent to families with pets; cats can be particularly difficult to house. Check with local airlines regarding their policies if you decide to bring pets. Travel with pets to and from MCAS Iwakuni requires special arrangements, stringent import requirements, and expensive fees.
It is advised that you purchase approximately 30,000 yen per person before you travel to MCAS Iwakuni. This is to cover unforeseen or emergency costs during your travel.
Local housing averages 1,000 square feet or less. Plan accordingly when deciding what to bring and what to leave behind.
U.S. renter's insurance policies and life insurance policies cannot be sold to clients outside the U.S. If you need to update your renters or life insurance policies ensure you make the necessary changes and purchases prior to leaving Continental United States.
Defense Service Network Dialing Instructions
The DSN is the provider of long-distance communications service for the Department of Defense. Every installation has a special DSN number and the numbers vary by world-wide location. In order to place a call using DSN, the caller must be using a military phone on an installation. When dialing a DSN number from a United States installation to another United States installation, it is unnecessary to dial the DSN 315 area code. When dialing a DSN number to/from overseas locations, the DSN area code must be included. The operator can be reached at commercial 315-253-1110. Please note that long distance charges may be incurred.
Marine Corps Air Station is a mission-ready air station, capable of providing continuous base-operating support for tenant organizations and follow-on U.S. and allied forces during training, combat or contingency (HA/DR) operations throughout the Indo-Asia Pacific region.
Read more about the base here!
History of the Iwakuni Air Station
The reclaimed area was all farmland and village until the Japanese government bought a large portion of it in 1938, with the view of establishing a naval air station. They commissioned the new base July 8, 1940. When World War II started, the Iwakuni air station was used as a training and defense base. The station housed 96 trainers and 150 Zero fighter planes on the airstrip. In September 1943, a branch of the Etajima Naval Academy was established here, with approximately 1,000 cadets undergoing training in the Basic, Junior and Senior Officer's schools at any one time. American B-29's bombed Iwakuni in May and August of 1945, concentrating on the oil refinery and Rail Transport Office or train station areas. The last air raid took place just a day before the war was brought to a close.
The first allies to reach Iwakuni at the war's end were a group of U.S. Marines who had signed papers ending the conflict for the Japanese air base. After the end of World War II, various military forces from the United States, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand occupied the base. It was designated a Royal Australian Air Force Base in 1948.
When the Korean Conflict started in 1950, units from the Royal Navy and U.S. Air Force arrived at Iwakuni as U.N. forces. Jets flew daily to support front-line troops in Korea, returning each evening to refuel and rearm. The troop processing center located here throughout the war earned Iwakuni the title “Gateway to Korea.”
The U.S. Air Force took command of the station April 1, 1952. During its period of command, the Air Force did much to improve the base's facilities. The U.S. Navy took over the station October 1, 1954. Naval Air Station Iwakuni was greatly enlarged in July 1956 when the 1st MAW moved its headquarters here from Korea. A whole new area was procured on the North side of the station to make room for approximately 2,500 incoming Marines.
The Marine Corps first took control of the installation as Marine Corps Air Facility Iwakuni in 1958. The station, which was just over 1,300 acres, was officially designated as MCAS Iwakuni in 1962. Its mission includes support of operations, maintenance and supply of tenant units and ships.
Today’s Iwakuni City and MCAS Iwakuni
Modern Iwakuni is represented by several major industries such as petroleum refining, paper manufacturing, and textiles to form a part of the Seto Inland Sea-side industrial area. The presence of Americans from the station coming and going throughout the city creates an international atmosphere. The people of Iwakuni, although shy and reserved, welcome the opportunity to get to know members of the station community.
The runway relocation project, which relocated the runway of MCAS Iwakuni 1,000 meters offshore, started in 1997 by reclaiming a half mile of the Seto Inland Sea. Barge loads of land reclamation fill material for the Iwakuni Runway Relocation Project were excavated from Atago Mountain in Iwakuni City and carried by three miles of conveyor to the barge for transport. Its main purpose is to reduce noise and safety concerns, strengthening the positive relationship between the station and local community. The project was completed March 2010, and the new runway started to operate on May 2010.
The civilian airport, Iwakuni Kintaikyo Airport opened Dec 2012.
During 2017 the Navy began relocating a Carrier Air Wing to MCAS Iwakuni. During 2018 the relocation was complete and the population of the Station doubled in size. Major additions and improvements were made to Station infrastructure to accommodate the growing population. As a result, the community enjoys a number of excellent new facilities including four school buildings, an expanded commissary, new family and bachelor housing units, and the newly opened Marine Corps Exchange. In addition, the Atago Sports Complex, a joint venture with the City of Iwakuni, contains community rooms, an elevated indoor track, baseball and soccer fields, outdoor track, and fitness areas.
Read more about our history here!
As of 2021, the city of Iwakuni averages a population of 132,052.
Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni is home to approximately half of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, headquartered on Okinawa, elements of the 3rd Marine Logistics Group, Navy Carrier Air Wing 5, Fleet Air Wing 31 of the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force, and other units of Japan Maritime Self Defense Force. At present, the station has about 14,000 personnel, including Japanese national employees.
Japan consists of four major islands (Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu and Shikoku) which are home to more than 90% of its 123 million residents. Iwakuni is located on the southwestern tip of Honshu - the most populated island in Japan.
Abrupt shorelines and numerous small mountains characterize the landscape of Iwakuni. Since flat land is scarce, rice and grain fields can be seen terraced up the hills and mountains. Hillsides are heavily wooded with many varieties of pine, bamboo and hardwood trees. Narrow highways hug the coastline, winding around the numerous small bays that penetrate Honshu's rugged coast.
Many sections of Japan are accessible to the Iwakuni traveler. Modern, convenient trains make it possible to visit many towns and resort sites.
Although there are several large cities near Iwakuni, Hiroshima is the most notable one. Hiroshima is located approximately 25 miles northeast of Iwakuni. It is a great place for shopping, cultural tours and entertainment. It is famous for the Peace Park and Museum which preserves pictures and relics from the 1945 atomic bomb explosion.
Japan's climate is similar to that of coastal North Carolina. Winters are mild with some snow and the summer months are warm and humid. In January, the coldest month, temperatures may drop to 34 degrees Fahrenheit. August temperatures can reach 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Typhoons occasionally pass near Iwakuni but rarely strike the area directly.
Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, is situated approximately 600 miles southwest of Tokyo. It is located on the Nishiki River delta at Iwakuni City, where it lies at the eastern end of Yamaguchi Prefecture, and the western end of the main island of Japan. The city is backed by the mountains and fronted by the Seto Inland Sea, and its northern part adjoins Hiroshima Prefecture. Running from west to east, the Nishiki River is vital to the over 130,000 residents and the large number of factories in the city.
Air Mobility Command "Patriot Express" flight lands directly aboard the installation. After clearing customs:
GETTING TO JAPAN (COMMERCIAL AIRLINE)
Tokyo has two international airports: (1) Tokyo-Narita and (2) Tokyo-Haneda. You can fly directly from the U.S. to both of these international airports. NOTE: When you arrive at either airport you must pass through customs and recheck luggage for domestic flights to Iwakuni. The aircraft from Tokyo to Iwakuni are smaller domestic aircraft, so pack accordingly as pets and large or heavy luggage may present a problem.
All individuals arriving to Japan via commercial travel are required to proceed directly to a U.S. facility via the most direct route possible in a POV or GOV. Individuals arriving via commercial travel are not allowed to exit the vehicle from their point of entry until their arrival at a USFJ facility. Individuals may obtain a rental car to transport themselves to a USFJ facility if there is no use of shuttle services and the rental car is delivered to the terminal. Tenant units are responsible for the reception of these individuals. Vaccinated drivers need not utilize any more personal protective equipment (PPE) than a mask and standard social distancing measures. Unvaccinated individuals are not authorized to pick up individuals from a commercial airport.
COMMERCIAL ROUTE OPTIONS:
OPTION 1 HANEDA TO IWAKUNI
Fly directly into Haneda Tokyo Airport and take the free airport shuttle bus to the domestic terminal. All Nippon Airways (ANA) operates 5 flights a day from Tokyo-Haneda Airport to Iwakuni. Taxis with the MCAS sticker are available right outside Iwakuni train station. The cost of a taxi to MCAS Iwakuni is less than 1000yen ($10).
OPTION 2 NARITA TO HANEDA TO IWAKUNI
Transfer from Narita International Airport by airport limo bus to Tokyo Haneda International Airport. Bus tickets for the trip can be bought at the airport bus desk near the terminal exit point. Most staff members speak English and can direct you on how to get to the correct waiting area for the next available bus. Keep in mind the bus ride can take up to 2 hours depending on Tokyo traffic, and you must first clear customs at Tokyo Narita and collect all bags to take with you. Note: If you have pets, you will most likely give them up at Narita Airport baggage pickup for quarantine and travel later to Iwakuni. Haneda International Airport has 5 daily flights to Iwakuni.
ACCESS TO MCAS IWAKUNI
The installation runs a free base shuttle service every 30 minutes with two distinct routes. Blue shuttle bus service hours are Sunday through Thursday 6 a.m. - 9 p.m. and Friday, Saturday, and Holidays 8 a.m. - 9 p.m . Bus routes timetables can be found at the bus stops. To contact the Base Shuttle Bus Office: Station Motor T, dial DSN 315-253-7118.
For base operator (main switchboard)
If you have a specific number you would like to call, use the following prefixes:
For specific number