Hey! I’m Kara and I blog over at Ramblings of a Marine Wife. In case, you didn’t notice, my husband is a Marine and we are currently stationed in Okinawa. We have 2 kids, our son is almost 7 and our daughter is 3. Our last duty station was Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri. Hubby hated it, I liked it, but I’m from Missouri. However, we both agree that we absolutely love Okinawa!
Okinawa is a sub-tropical island in the Pacific Ocean. It’s roughly 950 miles southwest of Tokyo and 400 miles east of Taipai and yes, it is a relatively small island. It’s 877 square miles and only about 70 miles long. It’s easy to drive from one end to the other in a day, even with the traffic and slower speed limits. However, there is a ton to do here! I was a little worried about being landlocked, but not once have I felt the need to get outta here because of Okinawa’s size. I also didn’t realize how absolutely gorgeous this island would be.
There are bases all over the island, one Army, one Air Force, a couple Navy, and the rest Marine Corps. Of the ten plus bases, only 7 have housing. For the most part, they will put you in housing near where you work, but not necessarily on the same base. We lived on base when we first got here and were pretty far from hubby’s work, but only because we picked our house over another. Now we live in town and we picked that too, based on school districts, and we just liked the house we are in.
This island is great for families. We’ve been here almost 2 years and I’m still finding new places to go and things to see. The island has a lot of touristy spots, including a couple zoos, an aquarium, numerous memorials and museums dedicated to WWII, castle ruins, and more beaches than I could count. We have also found some pretty neat parks. The Japanese don’t build playgrounds like we do! Theirs are way better! The military MWR’s and MCCS are also good about constantly having stuff going on.
If you do like to vacation, the military has a resort, Okuma. There are also nice hotels in town. But, then again, we are in Asia. Why not fly to your country of choice? We haven’t gone anywhere yet, but I have friends (that I’m extremely jealous of) that have gone to mainland Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia, and probably more places I’m forgetting.
I have found that Okinawa is either a place you love or you hate. If you get out and enjoy the island and the culture, you will come to love it. Never leave base and you will come to resent being here. I love it (my blog will testify to that) and would love to stay longer, but I think my family would kill me.