Having decided early last year with my best friend R that we’d be traveling to Japan on November the same year (“If we can’t have cherry blossoms, I want pretty red leaves,” he’d said), I applied for my Japanese visa on mid-September. Maybe funnily enough, we also decided that I’d apply first just to somewhat test if this seemingly unattainable magical piece of document will actually be granted to a mere
penniless undeserving human being such as I. Then, depending if my application was approved or not, he’d apply next. At least, to us back then, that’s how hard getting a Japanese visa seemed to be.
Application for Japanese tourist visas are done via accredited agencies. Read more on that here on the website of the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines. From list of accredited agencies provided, I chose Reli Tours and Travel Agency, mostly because they have a branch near where I live. (Lazy, haha.)
From the website of Reli Tours, the required documents for obtaining a Japanese visa are as follows:
- Philippine passport (which R didn’t even have his entire life until I made him get one!)
- Visa application form. This can be downloaded from the Japan embassy website (see link above).
- ID picture. On the application form it says either 45mm x 45mm or 2in x 2in. I remember getting both because I wasn’t sure, but in the end the travel agent used the 2×2 one, haha.
- Birth certificate. This is easily attainable from NSO.
- Marriage certificate if applicant is married. Also attainable from NSO.
- Daily schedule (taizai nitteihyo). More on this below!
(if visiting friend) Documents or photos etc. to prove relationship.Not necessary. Invitation Letter from Guarantor in Japan.Also not necessary.
- Bank certificate. Attainable, obviously, from the bank (or banks) where you have account(s). Mine asked for a PhP200.00 fee for the document.
- Income Tax Return (Form 2316) original and photocopy. This is given annually by the company where you are employed. At least, mine did. If they don’t, you can ask your Human Resources or Finance department for this. Otherwise, I don’t know how, haha. I’ll find it out for myself the next time I’ll be applying for a Japanese visa, since I’m now unemployed.
- [ETA] Certificate of Employment. This is not part of the required list of documents, but I submitted one, anyway.
The visa processing fee is PhP1,200.00.
Now let’s focus on the Daily Schedule. If you’re thinking, ‘wtf? I actually have to write down what I’m going to do in Japan for every day I’m there?’ the answer is no, though of course that’s the idea.
My own (and R’s) daily schedule.
I didn’t even get to visit most of the places I listed here, haha sobs. Tip! You can only really visit two places thoroughly and enjoyably in a day. Or three. it depends on the weather (and your energy), really.
According to a good tip of my friend L, one does not necessarily have to state how many days one is going to stay in Japan. For example, my trip with R was for 10 days, from Kyoto to Tokyo to Osaka. However, L advised us to only write down our travel plans for about 3-5 days, focusing on just one location, preferably not Tokyo; the reason for this being that how much you write down in your daily schedule will be compared to the amount of money you have stated on your bank certificate. Tokyo is generally more expensive than other cities in Japan, so best not include that in your daily schedule.
The accommodation address I wrote down is the actual address of the hotel we stayed at in Osaka, though at the time we haven’t booked anything yet. I basically just searched for possible hotels in Agoda.com and copied an address, haha.
Going back to the visa application form, make sure you have every blank filled up (with N/A if you don’t have any information to provide). DO NOT LEAVE ANYTHING BLANK! The embassy returned R’s application form because it had one blank. ONE blank. (It didn’t mean he was denied, though, thankfully!) It’s actually the agency’s job to double check all forms and documents, but make sure to check them yourself.
I remember I submitted my documents to Reli Tours on a Friday. I received word from them as soon as the following Tuesday that my passport was ready for pick up. Yay!! 😀
Here it is in all its shining (it actually does shine) glory
The visa has a validity of 3 months for a period of 15 days. Why so stingy with visits, Japan. :c
I’m already looking forward to the next time I’ll be applying again for one of these. 😀
For more information about my trip to Japan, visit my Japan page for other posts!