How to Plan a Trip to Japan: A Guide for Filipino Otaku, Part 1

Way back in March, a group of friends and I decided that because the world was ending in December of this year (uh it’s not — feel free to ignore that part) we might as well go off on that Japan trip we’ve been putting off forever.

How to Plan a Trip to Japan: A Guide for Filipino Otaku, Part 1: Getting a Visa

The planning process from start to finish was pretty painless and actually a lot of fun — mostly because we were equipped with a lot of insider information from my previous trips to Japan. If you’re planning your own trip to Japan soon, here’s a series of posts that can help you from start to finish.

Part 1: Getting a Visa

Before we could make concrete travel plans, we all had to secure tourist visas. Standard Japanese tourists visas last for fifteen days, expire in ninety days, and can be secured in as little as three working days.

Step one is to visit the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines website for the list of tourist visa requirements. We also looked at the list of accredited agencies for Japan visa applications, as applications cannot be lodged directly with the Embassy.

The documents you supply will be the sole basis to approve your application, and the accredited travel agency will process the application for you. The Embassy does not conduct face-to-face interviews.

We downloaded, filled-in, and printed out the Japan visa application form found on the site. We had Japan visa photos taken based on the Embassy specifications. We also made sure that we had at least six to seven months of validity left on our passports — if there was less than that, we had to get our passports renewed ASAP.

Some requirements are strictly necessary while others are optional, depending on the situation. In our case four out of five people in our party were going to Japan for the first time, so Birth Certificates printed on NSO SecPa needed to be supplied (if you are a previous Japan visa holder, this is optional).

All five of us were employed, so we also supplied copies of our latest BIR Income Tax Certificates. Lastly, we supplied Certificates of Deposit from our banks (both Peso and Foreign Currency accounts are acceptable; joint accounts are also acceptable).

A short note on bank accounts: it’s not just the amount of money that’s in the account — it’s also how long the account has been active. Even if you had PhP1M in your account, but it was created just one day before you filed your visa application, there is a huge chance your application will be denied.

Since we were paying for our own trip, there was no need for Guarantee Letters and Residence Certificates from a Japanese guarantor — however if somebody else was paying for your trip (for example, friends or relatives in Japan) these two documents are required.

Last but not least, I designed a travel itinerary that we would all submit with our papers. If you have no idea how to make one, here’s a sample Japan travel itinerary you can base your own from. You don’t have to show hotel vouchers or airlines tickets, since these will not guarantee that your visa will be granted.

When everything was ready, we submitted our documents to our travel agent and paid the processing fee. In about four business days all of us had secured our tourist visas, hassle-free.

Continued in Part 2.

15 Comments Add yours

  1. Nina says:

    But I’m not employed!

    I have my own business, so instead of an employment certificate, I submitted my DTI and BIR papers 😉

    Like

    1. LOL thanks for the clarification ❤

      I really should include a subsection on self-employed visa applicants, shouldn’t I? ^^;;;;;;;;;;;;;

      Like

  2. Dion says:

    Was planning to ask a question in your “Get visa in 3 days” articles but there was a ton of questions there so just gave up on it 😛 Good thing though cause I looked around some more.

    I’m planning to visit in a few months and was really concerned about the needing of a guarantor. Now that I’ve read this post, it’s good to know that I don’t need one!

    One last thing though. I’m planning to stay there for a month and I don’t really have a detailed schedule of what I’m planning to do there. I’m looking into playing rugby, visiting gyms, the anime, the food, sight-seeing and I’m also a bit of an AKB48 fan. Basically nothing specific as I’m probably going to just wing it once I’m there.

    Would this be a problem if applying for a visit and would I be better off specifically planning a trip for 15 days? Hope not since I wanna make the most out of it with a month.

    Like

    1. Hi! Standard tourist visas are only for 15 days; a 30-90 day visa is usually limited to government officials and other VIPs. You can still try to apply for one, but I still think the safest bet is 15 days. Good luck!

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      1. Dion says:

        Would it help my chances that I’m applying in Canada instead of Philippines? Could also get a rugby club to say that I’d be playing for them for the duration of the month and I’m also planning to stay in a Sakura House so they could also show that I’d be good for a month.

        Then again, can’t really show any of that on a visa application I think lol.

        Like

        1. Ah if you hold a Canadian passport you automatically have 90-days stay in Japan even without applying for a visa 🙂 Visas are only for passports from non-G8 countries.

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          1. Dion says:

            Nah, I won’t be getting my Canadian citizenship for another year so I’ve still got my Philippines passport meaning I have to apply for the visa.

            Think it’ll help my chances of applying for a 30-day visa being a student/permanent resident here for almost 4 years?

            Like

          2. Yup, I think it will help 🙂

            Like

  3. Nash Musa says:

    Ahmf, Ohayo!!! Me and my classmate here are planning to go to japan. The thing is, we are not sure if we are going to approved by the consul. I mean we are just a bunch of third year high school students whose age are 15-17 year old kids. We also do not have a guarantor, we only have ourselves and the money and yeah, the passport. We aren’t sure if the consul will approve a bunch of 15-17 year old kids to travel by their selves. Pls help… Your answer is very appreciated.

    Like

    1. As minors, what you can do is 1) ask your parents to make a Letter of Support saying that they will be taking care of your expenses while you are in Japan; and 2) ask your high school to create a Certificate of Enrolment stating that you are are duly recognized students of the school. Add that to the rest of the requirements listed in the application page and you should be fine. Hope that helps!

      Like

  4. grace says:

    i was planning to surprise my husband to celebrate our 1st yr wedding anniversary in japan for 5 days of vacation.. where should i go to fixed our visa?

    Like

    1. The list of accredited travel agencies for visa applications can be found here: http://www.ph.emb-japan.go.jp/visiting/new%20visa/list%20of%20accredited%20agencies.htm

      Like

  5. aleneya says:

    is it alright to include in the itinerary the flight back to the country in the last day of the tour or it should always be on a different day??thanks~

    Like

    1. Whether it is on the last day of your package tour or on a different day in case you wish to extend your stay, the Embassy and the Immigration Bureau will require that you specify the day of your flight back to Manila (so they can check if you are overstaying your fifteen-day or thirty-day visa).

      Like

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