Top 10 FAQs

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Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions

Each of these topics are so familiar that they have their own page. There is a quick answer to each question, or follow the link to an entire page dedicated to answering the question fully.

1. How do I get Yen (Japanese Money)?

Financial Matters

  • 7-11 has US ATM machines
  • Most big banks have an ATM that will accept your US ATM card

2. Do I need to speak Japanese?

Speaking the Language

  • You can get around most of the populated areas of Japan without knowing any Japanese. Most Japanese people speak English very well, (but deny it) at least well enough to help you out. Train stations, airports, and popular tourist locations generally have an information desk with bilingual agents.
  • Google translate is your friend. If you just can't seem to figure out how to communicate, the google translate app is very useful. Even if you don't have a smart phone, most of the locals do- just say "google translate" and they'll likely get out their phone.

3. Is riding the train scary, difficult, complicated?

Riding the train

  • The first time you ride a train may be overwhelming to you, but it will soon become very comfortable to you.
  • Trains are VERY safe, in fact the entire country is very safe, there is nothing to be scared about.
  • The network of trains and subways is VERY complicated, but you really don't have to understand it. There are simple apps that will help guide you around, and if you are ever lost go to the station office. Every station has an office manned by a train official that can help get you back on track.
  • Paying for the train is done with an electronic train card (PASSMO or SUICA). As a resident here you'll want one. Tourists and visitors can get special rail passes, but you'll want a card.

4. What do I do about cell phone service?

Cell phone service

  • Cell service is readily available here. If you still have an active plan in the US, it will most likely work when you land but it will be costly. Navy Exchange, Airports, train stations and malls all generally have free Wifi that you can use to make a Wifi call until you get your service established
  • Personal Opinion is SPRINT I have provided details on the linked page about Cell phone service
  • Most people use one of the following:
  1. Wifi Calling
  2. Japanese carrier- Softbank, AU, Docomo
  3. US carrier- Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T
  4. Google-Fi

5. Will I be able to drive in Japan?

Driving in Japan

  • Probably, during your indoctrination week you will learn who can and can't drive and be given the opportunity to take an on-base driving test.
  • Basic requirements are:
    • A valid (current) driver's license issued by any state or territory of the US or by the District of Columbia
    • PCS orders

6. Should I ship my car?

CFAY Guidance on Vehicles

  • No. There are a few cases where it may make sense, but 99% of all cases it's a no.

7. Where am I going to live?

Where to Live

  • Most single personnel will have to live out in town
  • Most married people will be given the option of on-base (Main base or Ikego) or off-base
  • Members with Dogs living on base must be in a Dog Friendly Unit be in a townhome on either base, or 1st or second floor of tower

8. Can I bring my pet(s)?

CFAY Pet Information

PCSing with Pets

  • Yes, Pets are welcome.
  • There are very specific regulations that you have to follow prior to PCSing and when you get here.

9. Can I have family/friends visit?


  • Yes, you can sponsor guests to visit you on base for a limited amount of time.

10. Should I bring my bed/couch/microwave/washer and dryer, etc?

What to Bring

  • Your PCS orders come with authorized permanent storage in the US. You will want to take advantage of this storage for large items that will not fit in a small Japanese home or base housing
  • Don't bring
    • Major Appliances (Fridge, Washer & Dryer)- Base units come with major appliances
    • Large Bedroom sets / China hutches- There generally isn't room for these large items
  • Do Bring
    • Bed- You can fit a King size bed in housing and many off-base units.
    • Storage Shelves
  • Debatable
    • Lawn Mower
    • Patio Furniture