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United States Air Force
Aomori-ken Japan 033-0012
The cost of living is higher than most stateside locations, but the Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) compensates for a portion of the difference. For COLA calculations refer to the Defence Travel Management Office at https://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/colaCalc.cfm
Liberty Policy for ALL U.S. Military Forces Located and Operating in Japan
This policy is applicable to all military person located and operating in Japan who are subject to CDRUSPACOM Authority, including Reserve personnel (when serving in a Reserve capacity), National Guard personnel (when in a Title 10 status), and personnel in a TDY/TAD deployed, leave, or pass status. This policy shall remain in effect until modified or rescinded, pending further assessment of the operational environment in Japan.
All Military Personnel
Mandatory for ALL U. S. Military Forces Located and Operating in Japan:
Off-installation public consumption of alcohol is PROHIBITED
Mandatory for ALL E1 - E5:
Liberty buddy 2200 – 0100
Public curfew 0100 – 0500
On US military installation
Off installation in private residence
Off installation in lodging
In performance of official duties
During the months of November - March, Misawa can get up to 200 inches of snow or more. If you are traveling during these months, you will want to ensure that you pack clothing that is appropriate for cold weather.
CurrencyJapan uses ¥ Yen for currency. The yen rate fluctuates around ¥111 yen to $1 US dollar.
Passports and Visas
Ensure member and/or dependents have the required passports and/or visa prior to final out-processing. Member and/or dependents are not allowed to final out-process without the required passports/visas in hand for themselves (if applicable) and/or dependents. Members electing the accompanied tour will not be permitted to out-process without having the required passports/visas in hand for themselves (if applicable) and/or dependents.
These actions are necessary to prevent unforeseen hardships to the military members and their families. Therefore, as a last reiteration, it is essential, members do not out-process without having the appropriate passports/visas for themselves (if applicable) and/or dependents.
The 35th Fighter Wing is the host unit at Misawa Air Base, Japan -- the northernmost U.S. air base in Japan. The only combined, joint service installation in the Western Pacific. Misawa Air Base is located on the shores of Lake Ogawara in Misawa City in the Aomori Prefecture.
The wing's mission is to "Protect US interests in the Pacific and Defend Japan; Deter adversaries through our presence, readiness, and ability to project combat air power."
Mission – People – Safety
On 4 October 1931 the world's first successful non-stop Trans-Pacific flight began when Clyde Pangborn and Hugh Herndon lifted off from Sabishiro Beach, Misawa in their Bellanca Skyrocket "Miss Veedol" crash landing at Wenatchee, Oregon 41 hours and 15minutes later. Misawa's modern military history began during the Meiji era (1868-1912) when the area that comprised the base was used as part of the Imperial horse farms and basing for cavalry units of the Imperial Japanese Army. In 1938 the Imperial Japanese Army began construction of an airstrip using a triangular configuration at Misawa. On 10 February 1942 the Imperial Japanese Navy completed construction of Misawa which was initially intended as a test base for the Nakajima G-5 “Shinzan” four-engine long-range heavy bomber development along with a small aviation training unit. During World War II, Misawa was primarily an aviation testing and training base with many units rotating through between 1942 and 1945. Because of the devastation of the U.S. bombing effort from the Mariana's Islands, the Imperial Headquarters and the Naval General Staff agreed to Operation KEN (Sword), which was a Kamikaze mission to destroy B29 bases (Naito). In June 1945, Lt. Commander Yamaoka, 100 aircrew personnel, and 400 troops of the 101st Imperial Marines were secretly stationed in Misawa. The Tsurugi Corps were placed in a secure compound on the northeast end of the base. They quickly began demolition and sabotage exercises on wooden mock-ups of B29 bombers. The Tsurugi Corps began modifications on the Type 1 G4M1 bombers for the scheduled mission. After a B29 raid, the Tsurugi Corps were to follow the bombers back to the Mariana's Islands and then crash land or parachute troops on the base and destroy the bombers (Nishimura). This unit is most likely responsible for the present day misconception that Misawa AB was a former Kamikaze “pilot” training facility. While these troops were considered suicide troops, they were not Kamikaze in the traditionally accepted sense (suicide attack aircraft). After the end of WWII, on 15 September 1946 the first American troops arrived at Misawa AB under the command of Captain Davis K. Stark, commander of the 32nd Army Engineering Construction Group (Wild Cats). The troops secured the base and prepared it for the arrival of the 49th Fighter Group and its P-51 aircraft. During this time, some of the experimental aircraft remaining on Misawa were disassembled and transported to the United States for further study. In December 1946, the 49th Fighter Group became the first U.S. Army air unit stationed at Misawa. Since 1946, 16 units have served as the host unit for Misawa Air Base. The 35th Fighter Wing has been the host unit at Misawa AB since 1994. The unit was originally activated as an Air Force wing at Johnson Air Base, Japan on 18 August 1948, and carries the bestowed heritage and honors of the 35th Fighter Group which was established on 22 December 1939. For a thorough history of the installation, visit the installation's homepage.
City of Misawa
Misawa Air Base is located in Misawa City on the shores of Lake Ogawara in the Aomori Prefecture. Misawa is approximately 400 miles north of Tokyo, on the northeastern part of the main island of Honshu. Unlike the Tokyo area, this region of Japan is rural and known for its slower pace of life. Misawa is uniquely located close to the Pacific Ocean, the mountains, and several Japanese national landmarks.
Arrival by air to Misawa can be either at the AMC terminal (for military flights) or the local Misawa City Airport (for commercial flights). AMC flights are the most direct. Commercial travel to Misawa involves changing planes in Tokyo. Flights from the United States fly into both Narita and Haneda airports in Tokyo. However, Haneda is the only airport with flights departing for Misawa. Switching airports involves a bus trip between the airports. It is strongly recommended to land in Tokyo prior to 2 p.m. in order to get to Misawa on the same day.
Instead of traveling from Tokyo when PCSing to Misawa, people traveling on government flights arrive at the AMC Terminal on base. With this service available weekly, it streamlines travel plans. The Patriot Express departs the United States from Seattle, WA on Sunday and arrives at Misawa AB on Monday.
People are able to ship their pet on the Patriot Express. There are limited spaces available only open for people who are PCSing. Spaces are on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Pet restrictions: The travel kennel must be approved by the International Air Transport Association. Soft sided and collapsible kennels are not allowed for pets to travel in the cargo compartment of the aircraft. Small pets traveling in the main cabin can be transported in soft sided (constructed of leak proof and water-repellent padded nylon with mesh ventilation on two or more sides) as well as hard plastic kennels. In cabin, kennel size must not exceed 20"L x 16"W x 8 1/2 "H to ensure it will fit under the seat in front of you. All pets must be able to lie down, stand up, and turn around in the kennel using normal posture and body movements. Pets will not be accepted for travel in kennels that are too small.
If any additional information is needed regarding the AMC terminal or the Patriot Express, please call DSN 315-226-2370 or for a recorded message of information please call DSN 315-226-2852.
Before landing at Narita, you will be given a Customs and Embarkation form. Fill it out completely. Any questions about the form can be directed to the flight attendants. You will need to have this form ready along with your military ID for your self and family members, orders for active duty with dependents listed, and passport for family members and civilians.
Terminal 1 services Continental Airlines, Delta Airlines, Northwest Airlines, United Airlines, and US Airways. Terminal 2 services American Airlines.
When departing the plane, follow the signs for "Customs". After clearing the Immigration booth, proceed downstairs to the Baggage Claim. The electronic marquees will indicate which carousel the baggage from your flight is on. Once you have your baggage, proceed to the Customs baggage checkpoint. You will need your ID or passport and baggage claim tickets. Then proceed in to the terminal area.
This is a good time to exchange some dollars for yen. There are currency exchange booths to your right as you enter the terminal area. They accept cash only. Fill out the exchange form before proceeding to the window.
Narita has a wide variety of restaurants, including American-style food. Haneda airport only has Japanese restaurants.
To arrange bus transportation from Narita to Haneda, go to the "Airport Limousine Bus" counter. The bus tickets cost 3,100 yen (about $28) per adult and 1,550 yen (about $14) for children 6-12. There is no charge for children under 6 years old. The Airport Limousine Bus Counter accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or cash (yen). The ticket states which bus stop to go to. The bus ride to Haneda takes 2-3 hours, depending on traffic. Your baggage will be checked on to the bus as you get on. Hold on to your claim ticket as you will need it when you get off at Haneda. Let the baggage checker know that your flight at Haneda is on JAL.
There is a Department of Defense Liaison Counter on the first floor to Terminal 1 at Narita. Hours are noon to 8:00 p.m. The DoD Liaison can assist with transportation to your final destination, Yokota Air Base MWR bus schedules, and transportation of pets. If you arrive at Terminal 2 and want to visit the DoD Liaison Counter, there are free busses between the terminals.
Once arriving at Haneda on the Airport Limousine Bus, claim your baggage from the bus personnel. Proceed to the Japan Airline (JAL) counter to check in. After checking in, proceed to the X-ray machine and check your baggage. Hold on to your claim tickets because you will need to show them when you arrive at Misawa.
There are three flights from Haneda to Misawa each day:
The flight from Haneda to Misawa is considered a domestic flight and has strict baggage limitations. You are limited to 2 bags per person and one carry-on. The weight limit for checked bags is 32 kg (70 pounds) each for a total of 45 kg (99 pounds) per person. Any bags exceeding this weight limit will incur a fee and the maximum allowable weight for excess baggage is 45 kg (99 pounds). The only exception to the weight allowance is for passengers arriving from another country at Narita Airport and making their Haneda connection within 24 hours. For those passengers, the weight limit is 2 bags at 70 pounds each.
A baggage delivery service, Yamato Unsoo is available at both ends of the Narita terminals. Referred to as "Black Cat" by Americans, (the service has a picture of a black cat on a yellow background). The cost associated with the service depends on the weight of the bags. The cost is NOT reimbursable as a travel expense. To use the service, you must provide a physical address and phone number for delivery. You can use the Misawa Inn: zip code 033-0012, Aomori-ken, Misawa-Shi, Hirahata-1-chome, Misawa Air Base, Misawa Air Base Inn, Building # 670, Phone 0176-66-0282.
Note: Misawa Inn will not take accountability for, or sign for, luggage. You should make arrangements with your sponsor if you use the Black Cat service.
Staying Over Night
If you must spend the night in Tokyo, there are two options. If your flight is the 7:50 a.m. Haneda flight, it is best to stay near Haneda. Staying near Narita is recommended if your flight is in the afternoon or evening the next day because the hotels near Haneda are more expensive and may not be fully covered by per diem. When staying near Narita, inquire about free hotel shuttles at the airport information desk.
Once you arrive at your hotel, check in at the Front Desk and tell them what time you need to be back at the airport to catch the bus to Haneda. Be sure to allow 2-3 hours for the bus ride from Narita to Haneda.
Upon your arrival at Misawa Airport, your sponsor should meet you based on your communication of your travel plans. If no one is there to meet you, look for the local green phone located to the left of the doors upon exiting from the baggage claim area. To use the phone, put a 10 yen piece (which is approximately 8 cents) in the slot and then dial the base taxi (Kichi Taxi) or your unit as indicated on the list above the phone. Do not take any taxi not identified with the word "kichi" on the side: they cannot come on base. Take the taxi to Building 670 which is the Misawa Inn (Lodging).
See the Shipping Pets topic for more information and visit the Public Health Command District - Japan (PHCD-J) website for the most up-to-date information on importing pets to Japan.
Travelers with small pets in kennels can use the Airport Limousine Bus for transportation between Narita and Haneda. Prices range between 3,000 and 6,000 yen. The kennel must be small enough to be hand-carried on the bus. Pets cannot be ride in the checked baggage compartment.
Travelers with small pets may also travel via Japan Rail (see Train below). For the size of the cage, the length plus width plus height must be less than 35 inches, and the weight limit of animal plus cage is 21 pounds. The pets must be kept in view of the owner and the cage cannot be kept between cars or in the aisle.
For larger pets, there are several options for transportation between Narita and Haneda:
Narita Airport has a "Pet Hotel" in the basement of Terminal 2. Travelers who stay at a local hotel can leave their pet here overnight. Price depends on the size of the pet and ranges from 4,000 yen to 20,000 yen per night.
Haneda Airport also has a pet hotel but advanced reservation is required.
Although not recommended for PCS travel, it is possible to get to Misawa by train and car from Tokyo.
At Narita Airport, the trains are on the lowest level. You can purchase tickets from Narita to HACHINOHE at the ticket office. The cost will be around 18,000 yen per person ($160). You will be given four small tickets which should all be inserted every time you go through a gate. Look carefully at the ticket for each leg of the trip so you can look at the departure listings to determine which track you need to go to. You will have reserved seats for each train, and the car number and seat number is on the ticket for that leg of the trip. You will take the Narita Express to Tokyo Station. At Tokyo Station you will change to the Tohoku Shinkansen (bullet train). The Tohoku Shinkansen will take you to Hachinohe where you will transfer to a local train (Aoimori Tetsudo) for the final leg to Misawa. You need to purchase a ticket from Hachinohe to Misawa at Hachinohe Station. When you arrive at Misawa, you will need transportation to the base. If you take a taxi, you should call Kichi Taxi at 0176-66-5438. Only Kichi Taxis are allowed on base. All other taxis can only take you to the Main Gate.
Directions for driving from Misawa to locations in Tokyo, including Yokota Air Base, are available at MWR's Outdoor Recreation. Outdoor Recreation also has rental vans that include toll passes. Road transportation from Tokyo to Misawa costs 12,600 yen per vehicle ($113) one way. From Narita Airport, take the Higashi-Kanto Expressway towards Tokyo. As you approach Tokyo, the Higashi-Kanto turns into the Bayshore Route. Take the C2 to the Gaikan Expressway and to the Gaikan Expressway to the Tohoku Expressway. The Tohoku Expressway goes all the way to Aomori, but you will take the Hachinohe Expressway branch for the last few kilometers to Misawa. Once you exit the Expressway at Misawa, follow the signs to the City Offices and then to the Air Base.
Prior to departing your base, it is essential that you contact your sponsor with your travel and arrival informaiton. The flight from the United States is long no matter how you travel and you'll be tired, but seeing the friendly face and helping hand of a sponsor can make that first day much better. The importance of notifying your sponsor of your travel plans before leaving your base cannot be stressed enough.
Many locations on Misawa AB Main Base are within walking distance. Misawa AB experiences varying weather patterns to take into account such as snow, rain, etc. Driving from Main Base to North Base will take approximately 15 minutes. The base has a commercial taxi service available 24 hours a day. "Kichi" Taxi's number is 011-81-176-66-5438 and the price starts at 640 yen (approx. $5.71). You can also reach the Taxi service via the Base Operator DSN: 315-226-1110 or from a Japanese cell phone 0176-77-1110.
The city of Misawa has public bus transportation with several stops around the city. The closet bus stop to Misawa AB is located next to Sky Plaza Misawa, which is 2 blocks from the main gate.
From CONUS: 011-81-3117-66-1110
From Japan: 0176-77-1110