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Take a look into Japanese off base housing in Okinawa!

Stationed in Okinawa? Take a look at Japanese off base housing options in Okinawa through the eyes of a military spouse plus rental friendly decorating tips and ideas.

Hey there!  If you found this page while searching for military off base living in Okinawa or Japan, welcome!  I’ve been there too.  Curious about what life might be like living overseas.  We were fortunate to have the option for Japanese off base living because on base family housing was completely full when we arrived.  Our housing agents showed us twenty three houses and I just had to share some of my favorites today.  We ended up settling on this rental and you can find all the renter friendly DIYs and decorating tips in this home tour.  Make sure to see our traditional Japanese home in Iwakuni (yes, we may never leave Japan) and feel free to leave me a comment so we can chat (of if you have any questions about off base living in Japan)!

Japanese off base housing options

Here are my favorite three Japanese off base housing options (that we didn’t end up choosing)

(as seen through my iPhone!).

Be prepared for a lot of pictures.

House Tour 1: Bottom level Multiplex with Fireplacehouse-okinawa-Japanese-off-base-living

These concrete houses are common out here.  I love that the exterior is unpainted concrete.  It adds such a clean-modern element to it.   The front of this house also had a cute little courtyard.



Every house we saw included a foyer with shoe cabinets.  It’s a cultural must have for Japan!



This house had some really nice features.  In the middle of the home there was an atrium. (To the left in the picture above and down below.)  It would have been fun to have a little garden in there. house-1-atrium

Another great and unexpected feature… a fireplace!  Obviously a faux, but fun to decorate non the less!


The house was really warm with the beautiful floors and wood paneled walls. house-1kitchen house-1-kitchen2

The kitchen did not have much storage with only one counter and lower cabinets.

The sight-lines throughout the house was amazing!house-1-hallway

(My daughter is peering into the other side of the atrium in this pic)

There were three bedrooms with wall to wall closets and two bathrooms.  Built in bookcases were around every corner.


It was so much fun to see all of the big soaker tubs and showers in these Okinawan homes. bedroom

The best part of the house was the covered patio and fire-pit over looking the ocean. house-1-outside

Isn’t the view amazing?

House Tour 2: Bottom Floor Apartment with Tatami Room


The apartment door was located down the right side of this square building.


Of course a wall of shoe cabinets is the first thing you see when you walk in.


Then the room opens up to a large living and dining area.  One end is a patio, the other, a galley kitchen.


This kitchen had much more storage with bottom and tall upper cabinets.


The best feature of this house was the traditional Japanese tatami room!


If the location had been different (closer to the ocean), then this house was just what I had been looking for.


There were a least three little patios.  You can see from the bedroom below, the views beyond the patios weren’t the greatest.


A warm toilet seat and jacuzzi bath would have been a plus!



This apartment had a lot of additional storage and space, like this laundry room.


You can see how close we would have been to our neighbors.


The outside perk was this little kitchen and grass area.


House Tour 3: Modern Traditional Japanese House


This house was AMAZING.  My husband was even willing to take a 45 minute commute to work.  We just couldn’t justify only having two bedrooms for the four of us.

You can see the room on the top left opens up completely on both sides.  (You’ll see the amazing views in a sec.)

The fun part of the entrance is what appears to be a front door is really a facade into the backyard and the house.house3-outsidehouse3-front-door

The downstairs featured a beautiful concrete living room and kitchen with curved wood ceilings and colored glass. military family housing, Japanese off base living options in Okinawa



There was a pretty awesome bathtub with a little atrium behind it.  Then a strange long hallway for the sink and laundry with an exterior shower at the other end. (Perfect for cleaning up after the beach.)



(That’s a Japanese dryer my husband is checking out.)

One bedroom was downstairs and a second living area, powder room, and master bedroom upstairs.

To go to the second floor you could take the interior stairs or exit through the living room to access the outdoor double staircase and roof top deck. house3-stairs2

(The above picture faces the front of the house.  The garage is behind the stairs.

Yep!  The house is right on the sound-side of the Pacific ocean.  Let’s be honest, if we had chosen this stunning abode, I would have really been freaking out about tsunamis and typhoons!  house3-upstairsbar

That’s a wet bar!

Stairs to the top deck…



The second floor powder room.  Super cute and modern.house3-bathroom

One of the bedrooms featuring a bowed wood ceiling, walk in closet, and armoires. house3-bedroom

I still dream about this house y’all! It’s 10 minutes down the road from us.  It just didn’t have three bedrooms or the right neighborhood feel we wanted for our children.save for later, pin it button

I hope you enjoyed touring these three beautiful properties for Japanese off base housing options.  We are really happy where we ended up in our ocean view rental.

What an awesome place to live!

I would love to hear your thoughts on living in Japan.  Leave me a comment and let’s chat.


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  1. Thank you so much for this! We are GS employees moving to Okinawa soon! I’m excited. This helped me to start imagining us living there.

    1. Oh I’m so glad to hear that! Okinawa was our favorite duty station. You’ll love it there! Feel free to email me with questions anytime.

  2. Thanks for sharing these photos. Looking for a little advice from someone who’s been to Okinawa.
    What did you think about the cost of living in Okinawa; specifically, what kind of rent were these places going for? What can you expect to pay for a comfortable 3 bedroom home?

    Also, any idea on the prospects of a spouse (ie. me) finding a job out there? I do like making my own income. I am currently a special ed teacher, but looking to start a career in web-development.
    Thanks so much!

    1. Hey Justine, I’m happy you found me. Our 3 bedroom home was around $2100/ month which wasn’t our max allowance so we saved money every month. This was about five years ago. Jobs can be competitive other there but definitely possible. I brought my baby grand piano as pro gear so I was able to continue teaching private piano studios from our house and run my blog while I was there. I did take Japanese classes and had friends that taught English to Japanese kids. Feel free to email me at kathy@uptodateinteriors.com if you have any other questions.

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