MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan — A new waterfront and harbor at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, built on reclaimed land as part of a new runway project, has caused a few major changes at the base.

The new sweeping waterfront complex and deeper harbor will allow big ships to come to Iwakuni, including any of the ships at Sasebo Naval Base, according to officials.

It means a new way for visitors to see the base — like the more than 3,000 Japanese residents who attended the recent Friendship Day event by ferry.

It also means new places for station residents to have fun.

The reclamation project replaces the previous recreational harbor run by Marine Corps Community Services. With the new harbor, MCCS has a new and much larger area.

“It’s brand new so it’s much nicer,” said Jennifer Faniel, MCCS Semper Fit health promotions director. “The space where people were allowed to recreate (at the old location) was much smaller.”

The facility has the same equipment, but much more space on land and in the water to play, she said.

Base residents can rent a pontoon boat, Jet Skis, sailboards and sea kayaks after taking a free safety class.

The facility officially opened April 29 and will remain open through Oct. 29, Faniel said.

On opening day, about 100 people came to explore the new site and to take one of 70 safety classes offered at the event.

The facility has yet to be named so there’s no sign displayed at the office, which is open weekends and holidays. It’s located on the new waterfront past Penny Lake and has parking in the rear.

Near the pier, residents can use a new picnic pavilion with barbecue grills, something not available at the previous location, Faniel said.

Above the new recreation office, MCCS is also creating a new eatery with a small bar and grill. It is expected to open next year or hopefully earlier, officials said. The name of the restaurant and menu are yet to be decided.

Recreation rentals

Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni’s new recreation harbor features the same amenities as the old but much more space. People must take a short free safety class first, which the facility offers. The recreation harbor will be open weekends and holidays through Oct. 29.

Rental costs for equipment:

Pontoon boat (must be reserved in advance): $15 per hour

Jet Skis (three are available for rental): $15 for 15 minutes

Sailboards: $4 per hour

Sea kayaks: $3 per hour

— Stars and Stripes

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