The cost of living in Okinawa is high. The two biggest expenses in moving to Okinawa are setting up a household and purchasing an automobile. If on-base housing is not initially available, be prepared to have between $2,000 to $12,000 to cover initial fees, such as first and last month's rent and security deposit and agency fee which is equal to one months rent. Purchasing a reasonably priced used car will usually cost between $1,500 to $6,000. You should have 3 to 6 months’ pay set aside in a separate "emergency account". The Yen rate is known to fluctuate considerably.
One of the most important items to consider is the documentation you will need to have on hand when you arrive. First, you must have your PCS orders, passports and visas, as well as shot records for yourself and all Family members accompanying you. Contact your current command immediately to obtain assistance in acquiring these items. The GOJ is moving to requiring all SOFA members to possess an Official Business (maroon in color) Passport.
Besides passports and visas, other important documents you will need for your transition to Okinawa include:
Be particularly sure you and your family are properly immunized and have the paperwork to prove it. This is especially important for your children, since they will need their immunization records to enroll in any of the schools on base.
As a military member, you are not required to carry a passport for travel into Okinawa, but you may wish to purchase one at your own expense for leave travel. Your Family members must have their own valid no-fee passport.
If a dependent is command-sponsored, no visa is necessary unless they are a Third Country National. Visas and passports cannot be obtained upon arrival. Deportation will be immediate if attempting to enter without a passport. Some surrounding countries require a tourist passport for military service members traveling on ordinary leave. For a list of those countries, contact the Passport Office.
When you receive notification of your assignment to Okinawa, and your area clearance for your dependents, you should report to your administrative section and obtain a dependent's passport application and photo request. A valid no-fee passport is required even when traveling by commercial air. These requirements are subject to change, so check with your admin office.
If you have a Family member that is a Japanese Passport holder please note when flying commercially into Japan, customs and immigration will be separate lines within the same commercial terminal. However, if you are arriving on an AMC flight, via Kadena Air Base, Family members with Japanese passports cannot be processed at the Air Base Terminal. Japanese law stipulates Japanese citizens must be processed at the Government of Japan office. American customs officials are not permitted to process Japanese citizens.
Additionally, U.S. Customs Officials are not authorized to stamp passports of Family members on EML Orders traveling without their sponsors, who are not stationed in Japan. An example would be a spouse traveling from Korea to Guam, with a stop in Okinawa. Retirees, traveling to Okinawa Space "A" on their ID cards, must also be processed at the Government of Japan office.
In an effort to accommodate these individuals, Air Force Customs Officials provide round trip transportation to and from the GOJ office. It is approximately a four minute ride by car.
Once you have collected all the necessary paperwork, you will be given a flight or port call date. This will either be an Air Mobility Command flight originating from Los Angeles or it will be a commercial flight. In any case, it is important that you notify your gaining command and your sponsor of this date, time, and flight number. Without this information, no one will be there to meet you and your family on arrival.
Pet owners should contact their sponsor for more information and visit the USAG-O website. Be sure to check with the air carrier you will be flying with for additional information on importing pets into Japan.
Important Reporting Instructions
Okinawa Japan (Locations include Torii Station, Kadena Air Base, Ft. Buckner, MCB Foster, Naha Port):
1. Privately owned weapons to include bow and arrows, swords, etc... will not be imported into Japan
2. Soldiers requesting concurrent travel of Family Members (Soldier and Family members traveling together) to Okinawa must apply for and gain approval PRIOR to beginning travel to Okinawa.
3. Passports -- Active Duty Military Personnel on PCS or TDY/TAD may enter and exit Japan on military ID cards and travel orders. No-fee passports are required for all Active Duty Command Sponsored Dependents. Official passports are required for all DoD Civilians and DoD Command Sponsored Dependents. In an emergency (no-fee passport has not arrived, medical emergency, etc.), eligible Family Members and DoD Civilians may travel on a tourist passport pending arrival of their no-fee passport. Japanese Immigration will place the SOFA stamp in either passport. A visa is not required for official travel to Japan. For more information please contact Torii Passport Office DSN 315-652-4060
Foreign-born spouse support -- whether your question concerns immigration and naturalization, learning the English language or how to use local transportation, the relocation program provides assistance, classes and referrals. The US Consulate in Naha can provide guidance and support for all of your immigration needs. Briefs are regularly held on both Kadena Air Base, Camp Foster, and Torii Station to give you direct access to USCIS personnel. For information regarding the Immigration Visa process please go to https://jp.usembassy.gov/visas/immigrant-visas/. If you have further questions please email the immigration department at email@example.com
4. For Servicing ATCO/SATO -- The AMC rotator/Patriot Express flight travels from Seattle-Tacoma IAP (SEATAC), WA to Kadena Air Base (DNA), Okinawa and is the preferred mode of travel for all Soldiers traveling to Okinawa, Japan. However, in the event military air is unavailable, commercial air travel to Okinawa MAY BE authorized by your servicing ATCO. All commercial air travel to Okinawa is routed through Tokyo, Japan (Narita IAP and/or Haneda IAP). However, Soldiers should ensure their FINAL DESTINATION is listed as Naha International Airport (OKA). NOTE: ATCO/SATO should only use THROUGH-FARE ticketing (with no break in fare from Tokyo to Okinawa) to transit Soldiers to Okinawa. If other ticketing options are utilized, Soldier and Family members will incur significant excess baggage costs/fees/charges. All airline receipts for excess baggage are required for reimbursement regardless of dollar amount. The traveler should be financially prepared to pay for excess baggage charges while traveling to/through Japan. Travelers should be aware that infant car seats, strollers and other large items ARE NOT allowed to be carried aboard aircraft in Japan. Upon arrival in Japan, these items will become checked baggage and will result in excess baggage fees. Excess baggage is not authorized in conjunction with circuitous or personal convenience travel if the excess baggage costs would not be incurred if Government-procured airline tickets were available/used. Check with your servicing ATCO to obtain additional information about these options and cost associated.
5. Soldiers and command sponsored Family members are authorized a standard baggage entitlement not to exceed 2 pieces at 70 pounds each when traveling via military (Air Mobility Command, AMC)) aircraft from SeaTac IAP, WA. If not traveling via military aircraft, Soldier and command sponsored Family Members should check with their servicing ATCO/SATO or the airlines to determine their standard baggage weight entitlement.
6. Soldiers should contact the gaining unit sponsor prior to departure to verify correct destination on airline tickets, flight arrival times, and adequate lodging confirmations.
7. POV shipments to Japan are generally not authorized.
8. Soldiers with accompanied Family members are authorized Temporary Lodging Allowance to cover hotel costs. Contact local finance for details.
9. It is highly recommended that Soldiers and Family members arrive in Japan with a valid stateside driver's license. SOFA driver's license will only be issued to personnel with a valid stateside license. Please check with your local Department of Motor Vehicles to inquire about extending the expiration date of your orders to match the expiration date on your license. Driver's training is available however, waiting lists and non reimbursable fees will apply.
10. Housing information for Okinawa can be found online.
11. Accompanied Soldiers are authorized full JFTR/JTR. Unaccompanied and single Soldiers are authorized the administrative weight allowance of 2,500 or 25% of the full JFTR weight allowance, whichever is greater plus unaccompanied baggage. NOTE: Housing and barracks in Okinawa are smaller than in CONUS, commercial storage is not available and excess furniture will not be shipped back to CONUS for storage. Housing and furniture support are provided by Kadena AB; however, Soldiers authorized full JFTR will only receive loaner furniture for 90 days until their household goods arrive. All personnel should closely coordinate with their sponsor for information regarding household items required while in Okinawa. Accompanied and Unaccompanied Soldiers may contact the Army Housing Liaison at DSN 315-652-4446 for additional guidance.
12. Pet information for Okinawa Can be found at:https://www.kadenafss.com/family/karing-kennels
The Army on Okinawa is responsible for the critical function for all U.S. services on Okinawa. Theses major functions include receiving and distributing cargo, distributing the island's military fuel supply, and port operations. The 10th Support Group serves as the installation senior command for all Army organizations on Okinawa, and provides contingency support to deployed/employed forces in the Pacific.
Torii Station is located by the Hijagawa River in Yomitan which was the site of the initial landing of the Allied Forces in the Battle of Okinawa. In May 1972, United States Army Base Command, Okinawa was established as a Major subordinate command of U.S. Army Japan. It was reorganized as U.S. Army Garrison Okinawa and in October 1978 as U.S. Army Support Activity, then changed back to U.S. Army Garrison Okinawa in September 1979. In February 1986, the command was re-designated as 10th Area Support Group and served as the Installation Command for all Army organizations on Okinawa and provided contingency support to deployed and employed forces in the Pacific Rim until June 2002. By Permanent Order 203-008, dated 1 October 2003, the installation support mission became the responsibility of Installation management Command’s U.S. Army Garrison Japan, Torii Station. On 11 July 2011, U.S. Army Garrison Torii Station was activated and officially recognized by Headquarters, Dept. of Army, as Battalion CSL billet. On 31 Jan 2014, it was re-designated to U.S. Army Garrison Okinawa (USAG-O)
Torii Station has an approximate total population of 5,000 members attached (Soldiers, Family Members, Civilians, and Contractors). Not all are located on Torii Station but also Kadena, Naha Port, and other bases around Okinawa. There is no family housing on Torii Station.
Yomitan, the village has an estimated population of 40,000 with a population density of 1,200 per km2. The total area of the village is 35.17 square kilometers (13.58 sq mi). Torii Station is also close to Kadena with a robust population as well. Okinawa as a whole is roughly 2.5 million people island wide.
Services are available to all Soldiers, DOD personnel, civilians, and Family members (SOFA Status). The Army is the smallest branch of the military services on Okinawa. Even though we are small in population our services are scattered throughout the island, providing vital mission requirements for all the military branches. Torii Station is the main Army installation with 10th Area Support Group and 1/1 Special Forces Group located here. The 58th Signal Battalion is located approximately 14km south of Torii on Fort Buckner adjacent to USMC Camp Foster. The 505th Quartermaster Battalion is located approximately 8km from Torii outside Gate 3 of Kadena Air Base. The 835th Transportation Battalion is located in the southern part of the island close to Naha Military Port, Naha International Airport, and USMC Camp Kinser. The Air Force and Marine Corps provide all additional services for the Army community that are not offered at Torii Station.
Torii Station is located in Yomitan, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. Torii Station is so named for the Torii, or Japanese Shinto gate, at its entrance. Army Community Service is the one-stop-shop for all Army Information & Referral DSN 315-652-4357 or walk in at Bldg 251
Arrival at Naha International Airport or Naha Domestic Airport:
Ideally, your sponsor should meet you at the airport. If you arrive through Naha International Airport or Naha Domestic Airport as soon as you exit the baggage area you will clear Customs and Immigration. At the International Airport, if your sponsor is not there, look back at the double doors near customs. There is a red sign to the left saying "Welcome to Okinawa U.S. Military Phone". The phone is there specifically for military members and its use is free of charge. There is a list of telephone numbers taped on the counter near the phone. Locate your unit’s number and dial it for assistance. Follow its' directions and you will be stress free.
If you arrived via the domestic airport, ask for assistance at the information desk on the use of the pay phone. From here dial 911-5111 to get a base dial tone, and then dial the DSN number you wish to call. You may also be able to get a ride with the Marine Corps or Air Force who pick up personnel from both airports daily. Take note of the uniformed service members in the arrival terminal area. They can at least get you onto one of the military installations where you can call your unit's staff duty office for more assistance, 011-81-611-744-4708, DSN 315-652-4708.
If all else fails, you are able to catch a taxi to Torii Station. Please ensure that you go to the end of the taxi line and select a taxi that states "ON BASE". These taxis are able to go through the gate guards to take you on post. The taxi fare can cost anywhere from 6000 to 10000 Yen, please ensure that you exchange currency to Yen prior to obtaining taxi service and make sure you get a receipt for reimbursement.
For more information, please visit Airport Information.
Arrival through Kadena Air Base
If you arrive through Kadena Air Base on an AMC flight, normally you will be linked to your sponsor upon exiting the customs area. If your sponsor isn't there, one of the AMC greeters can assist you in making contact with your unit.
There is no base transportation available on Torii Station. However there is transportation available on all Marine Corp bases called The Green Line and various taxi services on all other installations. Taxi's will come to Torii but you must call them and not all are authorized on base.