Japan is becoming quite popular with Filipino tourists these days that it’s not a question of will I ever travel to Japan? but when will I travel to Japan?. Years ago, traveling to this east Asian country was tantamount to just being relegated into a dream but with the relaxing of visa issuance rules not only in the Philippines but some ASEAN countries as well, we’re all in for a crack of making that dream a reality.
I didn’t dream much of going to Japan because of Visa concerns. But when Philippine Airlines offered me a return ticket, why should I refuse? I booked my flights Manila – Tokyo, Osaka – Manila for a trip that happened 12-20 June 2015. And as for the visa? It was a breeze! As long as you fulfill all requirements.
This post is about getting that not so elusive Japanese TOURIST visa for FIRST TIMERS. Applying for a commercial visa for business travel to Japan, READ THIS.
First things first, check out the requirements for getting the Japanese tourist visa. For updated list, check the official website of the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines.
At the time of my application, below were the requirements. Please note that I’m a freelancer and has a registered business name so certain items are not applicable to me.
- Passport – make sure you have at least 2 blank pages and make sure yours is not nearing expiration
- Visa application form – available for download at the website
- Photo – 4.5cmx4.5cm, white background and pasted on application form
- NSO birth certificate – make sure that this is current, meaning, it has been issued on the current year you are applying for a Japanese visa. The barcode numbers at the bottom of an NSO generated certificate indicates the exact date it was issued so don’t cheat
- Marriage certificate – skip if you’re single
- Daily schedule in Japan – I only gave a general schedule like Day 2 – visit temples around Kyoto. This will also include where you will stay. I made a booking with hostelworld.com for the cheapest rate and you reserve your booking with a 10% payment. I just didn’t use this booking as during the time I filled it out, I wasn’t sure yet where I will be staying.
- Bank certificate – I showed a certified P62,000 amount provided by BPI, meaning, you have to ask one of their officers and pay P100. Bank book or statement print outs are not honored.
- Income Tax return – as I am a freelancer with a business name, I gave them a certified true copy, BIR stamped 1701 BIR ITR for 2014
- Invitation letter, Residence Certificate (JUMINHYO – if guarantor is Japanese), Foreign Registration Certificate from City Hall (if guarantor not Japanese) – if you have the money, you can skip this and it is faster than getting these requirements
You will only deal with accredited travel agencies. For a complete list, check again the website. In my case I went with the agency below and paid P1,200:
Friendship Tours and Resorts Corporation
3rd. Fllr., Dusit Thani Manila, Ayala Center, Makati City
Unit 101 Bldg. 1, Oakridge Business Park,
880 A.S. Fortuna St., Banilad, Mandaue City, Cebu
http://www.visa.friendshipmanila.com/ (this is the English page)
They will tell you that it will be 3-5 days but fortunately, they called me on the second day after I submitted all my requirements and was told that I can pick up the approved visa the following day.
A friend actually told me that I should just apply for a multiple entry visa but decided otherwise. He was a first time applicant and was able to get a multiple entry visa to Japan. If ever you decide to do this, note that the fee is higher as well as check some other requirements.
That’s it. Goodluck!