Mil-to-mil moving to Okinawa with toddler — The Bump
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Mil-to-mil moving to Okinawa with toddler

Hello!  My husband and I are both AF and got assignments to Kadena.  We're looking for a good all-day preschool for our toddler, who will be a few months short of four years old when we arrive.  Kuwae on Camp Lester was highly recommended by one of my previous commanders.  Any thoughts? How far a drive is that in relation to Kadena?

If it makes any difference, we plan to live off base (assuming the 95% rule works out for us).  

Also, which areas would you recommend looking into if we do get off base? Right now my total commute (home to CDC to work) is an hour, and that is way too long. :(

Thanks in advance! 

Re: Mil-to-mil moving to Okinawa with toddler

  • Hi there! We were stationed in Okinawa a few years ago and lived on Kadena.  We didn't have children while we were there but heard great things about Kuwae on Lester. Kadena to Lester is maybe a 5 or 10 minute drive based on traffic (which is nothing compared to our DC traffic now!).  I worked on Camp Foster while living on Kadena and to Foster it was again, only about a 10 or 15 minute commute.  There are many of off base options for daycare which a lot of our friends used for their children.  They loved the bi-lingual and cultural aspect that their kids were exposed to.  Great care and I think fairly affordable compared to on base options.  


    As for living off base, it depends what you are looking for.  The seawall area (Sunabe) is always popular because of the ocean views and island living atmosphere.  Lots of great places to walk to, restaurants, etc.  Some people that want a more cultural immersion lived further off base.  While we were there we did not have to deal with the 95% rule so friends of ours lived all over the island.  If you don't mind a commute, you can find some pretty remote places where you definitely get immersed in Japanese culture. The furthest our friends lived though with traffic was probably 45 mins to an hour. Keep in mind, the further you are from base, the less English you see so just keep that in mind!  Since you are mil-mil you could find a pretty great place!  Another thing to keep in mind though is the yen rate.  When we left it was dropping down to the 80's and the folks that lived off base were paying out of pocket a pretty big chunk of change to live off base.  Again with being mil-mil you may not have to deal with that but just be mindful of the yen rate!  

     In case you haven't found this page yet, it has good newcomers info: wireframes/mccs_subx2.aspx?pageid=2147484879

    We LOVED Oki so feel free to ask any other questions :) Best of luck with the move! 

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  • Thank you so very much!  I may be PM-ing you in the future.  We won't move until September, so we have some time, but I'm kind of a plan-ahead type of person. :)

    Question about people paying out of pocket:  May I ask how that happened? I was under the impression that you find a place within your OHA range, and then Housing takes your OHA and pays the landlord directly, and you don't pocket anything extra. I guess what I'm asking is, did OHA go down while you were there? Is that how they ended up paying out of pocket?

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