Base Survival Guide Series: MCB Camp Butler (Okinawa)

Base Survival Guide Series: MCB Camp Butler (Okinawa)


This Base Survival Guide on MCB Camp Butler/Okinawa is brought to you by Krystan Ingram. She's a Marine wife of 10 years and her and her husband have two daughters with another baby on the way. She started out as an enlisted spouse, but is now an officer wife. She's experienced both sides of the Marine Corps!


What's the weather like at this base?

HOT and HUMID! You haven't experienced humidity until you've lived in Okinawa Japan. The temperature itself is low 90s, but the humidity makes it feel like 120º. Born and raised in Georgia, the humidity doesn't even compare to Okinawa. In the "winter" it does get cooler, around mid 60s temperature wise, what makes it feel so much colder is the constant wind. Being on an island the wind can get pretty heavy, making it feel colder than it actually is. Last but not least, you'll have a rainy season. This lasts about 1-2 months where it'll rain every single day. This usually starts in May, ending sometime in June.



What's your favorite time of year there?

My favorite time of year is the end of January, beginning of February. This is cherry blossom blooming season and is by far one of my favorite views of the island.


What's your favorite thing about living at this duty station? 

Experiencing the Japanese culture and the ability to travel to surrounding countries with ease.


What's your least favorite thing about living at this duty station?

My least favorite thing about this duty station is being away from family. We also lived here during the height of Covid where visitors weren't allowed in Japan. We went 3 years without seeing any family members.


Is there anything you wish you knew about this duty station before your PCS there?

There are so many Facebook groups and pages you can be apart of that will help you in every single step of they PCSing journey. Add them, you wont regret it!


What amenities are on base? And what are they like? For example: Is the commissary large or small? Well stocked? Pool on base? Parks? How many? Etc.

Okinawa is unique and has multiple bases on the island. Depending on which base you live on (your military spouse is assigned to) the amenities are different. Our family lived on Camp Courtney, which is a USMC base.

• we had a small commissary

• movie theatre

• bowling alley

• 24 hour gym


• beach access

The pool on base was under construction, but the neighboring military housing base (about 3 miles away) consisted of:

• a pool

• youth center

• elementary school

About 20 minutes from our base was Kadena Air Force Base. This base had the large commissary and all the amenities one could need. We would often drive down to this base to go to the double story exchange and large commissary.


What tips or hacks would you give a  military spouse who just PCSed to that base?

Get involved and meet people! I can not stress enough, get out there and travel, experience the culture, and do new things!


Do you live on or off base? What is/was your experience like?

We lived on base. Okinawa has basically two types of homes for on base living. An apartment tower and complexes and duplexes. We lived in one of the towers and loved it. For the most part each tower has a playground area that was extremely helpful for my daughters to meet people and make new friends. Living in the tower can get annoying at times, waiting on an elevator, hearing your neighbors above you, but the community the tower presents is unmatched.

For on base housing:

Towers are separated by rank. There aren't neighborhoods like other bases.

For housing you get 2 choices to choose from, you tour them or have your sponsor tour them and you pick one of the two. 

You have towers and then you have duplex (townhome) type homes on the bases. Either rank can get a tower or duplex style home. Just depends on what’s available. Each tower has 9 floors with 8 apartments per floor, except floor 1 being only 4 apartments. For the tower apartments dogs can only live on floors 1-3, but cats can be on any floor. All the towers on the base we lived on had 3 bedrooms 2 baths, but I know other bases had 2 bedroom homes. The duplexes range anywhere from 2-4 bedroom homes.


For off base housing:

If there isn’t anything available on base you can get a letter to live off base from housing.


What are your favorite hang out spots on base? Why?

We visited the playground every single day that was located outside our tower. During the summer we took advantage of the kids bowl free program and went bowling a lot, since it was so hot outside.


Did you do a DITY move or military move?

DITY move is not an option for Okinawa. Military move is the only way.


Are there any base specific traditions that take place? What is the culture like?

Each base has it own festival throughout the year. Courtney Fest is on Camp Courtney usually around fall and it's a fall/Halloween theme. Kadena Air Force Base and Camp Foster usually hold a 4th of July festival. Because of Covid everything was cancelled for a few years and it just now starting to be open again. The only Japanese culture they allow on base are the Eisa Drummers. I know they came and performed on Camp Foster and Camp Lester this past year. It’s not easy for non military to get on base out there. So all culture events are held off base.



Are there any base FB pages, bloggers, or accounts/websites people should follow for the base or area?

Base website can be found here.

Facebook Pages

Oki Peeps

Okinawa Questions

Okinawa Pin Drops


What is your favorite coffee shop there? Why? What is your favorite order?

Tettoh. A cute little coffee shop close to our base. My go to order was the Straight 7 Coffee Iced and an order of Raisin Butter Toast.


What are your favorite spots for date night?

Yakiniku BBQ Geon


What are your favorite restaurants? What is your go to order?

CCs Chicken n Waffles was my favorite restaurant. My order was the two piece and a very berry waffle. Another family favorite was Cocos Ichibanya. Our go to order was light crispy chicken with double meat, double scrambled eggs, and a side of honey sauce. With an order of garlic cheese naan.


Are there any fun things to do in the area or close to base like amusements parks etc?

Playgrounds are everywhere and are epic! We spent many weekends visiting new playgrounds all over the island.


What are some of the things you would put on a bucket list for other military spouses coming to that base?

Join a spouses club, depending on which base you are on there are multiple to choose from. These clubs take pride in exploring the island and its culture within. Anything from hiking, to Kimono tea ceremonies, to Mario Kart racing on the streets of Naha. There's so much Okinawa has to offer. Another bucket list item would be to get scuba certified. You can do this both on and off base. The waters in Okinawa and unlike any others. They're beautiful and you can scuba all year round.


Are there any cities you recommend for weekend getaways? Why? What did you do there?

My family loved going to the Okuma Military Resort at the top of the island. We would rent a cabin (or you could camp). There was a nice sandy beach at the resort, fun water toys, a putt putt course, 9 hole golf course, go karts, and a nice restaurant that would hold fun events.


Best places or activities for kids? Why?

Botanical Gardens in Uruma. It's a great place to have pictures taken and walk around seeing nature and animals. During the winter months, they decorate the Gardens with thousands of Christmas lights and is a popular sight seeing attraction. 

Okinawa Zoo

Cat Cafes. Located on the island are cat cafes, where you can hang out with cats and enjoy a cup of coffee. My girls loved going and playing with all the cats.


Any local festivals/traditions held for the holidays in that area?

Cherry Blossom Festival around the end of Janaury, early February.
• Naha Tug of War Festival. Held the end of October.
• Golden Week, the first week in May.
• Many festivities all throughout the island. The most popular being Children's Day. • Christmas Dinner at KFC. Ordering a Christmas Bucket Meal during the Christmas season.
• During the summer is the Obon Festival.

Local Recommendations:

Nail Tech

CoCoK Spa



Okinawa Jewel Eyebrow and Facial Threading (page on FB)



Okinawa Jewel Eyebrow and Facial Threading (page on FB)



Madi at Glow Salon in Uruma


Primary Care Doctor

You will be Tricare prime and assigned a PCM dependent on the base you are stationed on.



Okinawa White Dental



EROnce again dependent on which base you live on. You'll be seen on base at either the Camp Foster Naval Hospital Okinawa or on Kadena Air Base at the 18th Medical Group Clinic.



They have one on Kadena. Kadena Veterinary Clinic.


Dog Parks

There's Chibana Dog Park, which is right outside of Kadena. This is the most popular. On Camp Foster is Camp Foster Shiloh Dog park.



• All bases have gyms on them with free group exercise classes. Each base has different gym hours and they change constantly.



For ages 6m-6yrs Golden Minds Achievers (2 locations in Chatan and Uruma)

Kids Haven International School (located in Uruma)



For schools is depends on which base you live on to which DODEA school you can attend. You can attend off base Japanese schools, but I’m not sure how that process works. It's a lengthy process to be accepted into. Even if you live off base you can be assigned to a DODEA school, so you arn't forced to go to a Japanese school if you don't want to. The elementary school my daughter went to, Bechtel Elementary, is currently being renovated so those kids are sharing another elementary school on another base for the foreseeable future. There's a large homeschool community on the island.



The best ones are spouses stationed there! But like all other families they rotate out. While we were there these were our favorites!

Annie Smack Little Peanut Photography. You can find her here.

Stephanie Higgins Photography. You can find her here.

Chris Leigh Photography. You can find her here.



Bakery Ademok


Grocery Stores

Commissary and San-A.



Overall I would rate this base at a... (1-10, 1 being the worst and 10 being the best)

Krysten: 10/10 



If you'd like to learn more, have any questions or just want to add something email me at or message me on Instagram here! You can also find Krysten on facebook here!



You can also get a PDF version of this guide here!

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