Wednesday, August 8, 2012


So, Yokosuka is full. Lots of people live off-base because the waiting list to get on-base is usually backed up for a few months. When we arrived here, we couldn't get on the on-base housing waiting list until one of us attended an 0830 off-base housing brief and then a second brief that afternoon about on-base housing. The Hubs snuck away from orientation on Monday so that he could get all of that done for us. He came home that afternoon with a nice little sheet of paper that said - due to his rank and number of dependents - we would probably have an offer for on-base housing within the next 15 days. We were put on the generic waiting list which meant that we could be offered anything: one of the three different housing areas and either a townhome or a tower apartment.

There are three on-base housing areas: Yokosuka, Ikego, and Negishi. Yokosuka is the main base and is the largest of the three. This is where EVERYTHING is centered. Ikego is about 20 minutes away by car (less by train) and has a K-3 elementary school, post office, small NEX, mini-mart and several community activities and classes. Negishi is the farthest away from the main base - about 40 minutes.

There are two different types of on-base family housing: tower apartments and townhomes. Tower apartments have two or three bedrooms and townhomes have three or four. The wait for townhomes is a lot longer than for the apartments because they are the only housing options with 4 bedrooms and they have a small yard - a big requirement for many pet owners.

We were really pulling for a tower apartment in Ikego. Living off-base is really intimidating, but we feel pulled to really get out and experience the Japanese culture. We don't want to get so comfortable on base that we never leave. And, we want to have a sense of community and lots of opportunities for our girls to interact with other children and participate in activities. Ikego seems like the best of both worlds. It's away from the main base, so just to get there, you have to leave the confines of the big base. And, while it has Western-style homes and amenities, it still lacks a few things like a Commissary so we'll be forced to do more shopping outside of the base.

However, though we were on the waiting list for housing, we still had to show the Navy that we were making an effort to find off-base housing juuuuust in case we weren't offered a home during the time we're allotted to stay in the Navy Lodge. We had to look at two houses within our first 10 days here, so we knocked that out yesterday evening. We looked at a condo and house. Here's some pictures to give you an idea of what typical Japanese housing is like.

A house about 4 miles from base.
The living room and dining room.
Japanese houses are small, but they have super ginormous closets!
Bedroom. Look how close the neighbors are.
Stairs leading to first level.
The house was in a great neighborhood and was really clean and cute. However, most homes don't have ovens or dishwashers. This one actually did have an oven, which was a nice perk. Oh, and Japanese homes usually don't have central heat and air. You have a heating and cooling unit in each room. You also have to sign a contract in your lease that you won't wear shoes in the house. The Japanese are serious about this! In the foyer of each home, there are large shoe closets where you can store your shoes right beside your door - easy on and easy off. Ultimately, if we HAD to live off-base, this would have been a good choice.

The condo. Do you see the ocean??
New and pretty!
Very open and big.
And what a view!
This is a traditional tatami mat room.
Showers are outside the tub. You wash and then soak.
The condo was very large compared to many other Japanese homes, but it was just too darn far away. It was a 35 minute drive and traffic wasn't even that bad. It had a great view and had a wonderful open floor plan, but we just don't want a long commute. It was nice to see it, though, and get an idea of what options are out there.

So, after going to see two off-base houses yesterday (and, after being cooped up in a hot hotel with two small children), The Hubs went down the housing office to see if he could light any fires. I got a call from him about an hour later with some fantastic news.


I'm gonna live in one of those towers!
A wider view of Ikego nestled in the hills.
A wider view of Ikego nestled in the hills.
We will be living on the 9th floor - THE TOP FLOOR - of a high-rise tower in Ikego. We will have a three bedroom apartment with 2 full baths and 2 balconies. The Hubs will go sign paperwork next Tuesday and we'll get to move in on Wednesday! Woo! We are REALLY excited about it.

The only snafu? I called Temp Storage to ask about getting our furniture delivered and they said that they could deliver our Express shipment on the day we move in. However, when I asked about the rest of our stuff - our furniture in Household Goods - the guy that it wasn't here. I read him the email which said our furniture had arrived in Japan on July 18th and he laughed! He said he wasn't sure why the Navy sends out emails like that, but our stuff was not actually on land in Japan and wouldn't be here until the end of August. Then, it probably wouldn't be until September 8th or so until we could get our stuff delivered! Biiiiiig boo. The Navy will give us some loaner furniture until our things arrive, so at least we won't be sleeping on the floor.

Oh well. We're just sooo glad to be getting out of this hotel!



  1. any update on your experience in the Ikego high rise?

  2. It has been great! Maybe I will do a blog post about our first year here, including our experience with Ikego housing....

  3. where is this house, and who is the agent, we are headed to yoko from misawa and want a really nice house like the photos you have shown.