Getting a Japan tourist visa is probably the most nerve-wrecking part of planning your trip. The fate of your trip will depend on the outcome of your application. Some say applying for a Japan tourist visa is a difficult process. I say it’s not – coming from someone who has already applied for tourist visas twice. It’s just like any other visa application process.
In 2015, I applied for a tourist visa with 2 friends for our 9-day Japan trip. All 3 of us were granted a single entry visa valid for a 15-day stay. Last year, I applied again for another tourist visa for my 13-day solo trip. Few days after, my passport came back with a 5-year multiple entry visa up to 2021. Good stuff, right?
My first ever Japan tourist visa!~ Of course I had to cover the visa details 😏
Let me show you how you can easily get your own Japan tourist visa. It’s simple as downloading & filling in the application form, preparing the necessary documents, applying through an accredited travel agency & getting back your passport after a few days. I will discuss these 4 easy steps in detail below (will also include some tips based on my personal experience). Allow me to also share some snaps I took in my past 2 trips to Japan.
Note: Some details below were obtained from the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines website. The tips below apply to people who are employed in a private company. Business owners can also use the steps below but they might need to submit a few more papers related to their businesses.
Step 1: Download & fill in the application form
The first step is to visit the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines website & check on the visa application requirements. Kick start your application by downloading the application form from the website. Make sure to print this form in an A4-size paper with proper margins. Alternatively, you can ask for application forms in the embassy entrance or in the accredited travel agencies.
Write down your details neat & clear using a black or blue pen only. The accomplished application form should not have any erasure.
Tokyo DisneySea is a must-see in Tokyo; allot 1 day for this theme park~
Step 2: Gather the necessary documents
The embassy requires certain documents to be presented in order for them to decide on your application. Why is this so? It’s because they need to see that you are a registered Filipino citizen, you are qualified to go out of the country, you are capable of supporting your trip & that you will come back to the Philippines after your trip.
So what are the documents the Embassy of Japan require? Please see the not-so-long list below:
Valid Passport – Your passport must be valid for more than 6 months during your trip. The laminated part should be in perfect condition. It must have your signature & have at least 2 blank pages.
Birth Certificate & (if married) Marriage Contract – Both documents should be obtained from the National Statistics Office & must be issued within the past 12 months. You can check lower left portion of your document (near the bar code) to see the date your document was issued. If you do not have time to go to the NSO to get these documents, you can always request from the E-Census & NSO Helpline websites & they’ll have them delivered to your doorsteps.
Note: If you have a used Japan visa in your old or valid passport, you are exempted from submitting this requirement. The embassy already has a copy of your documents when you submitted them before.
Photo – The embassy website mentions that the photo should be 4.5 cm x 4.5 cm with white background. It’s best to wear something formal when having your photo taken. You only need 1 photo that you will attach in the application form.
Don’t miss the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest in Kyoto! 😍
Income Tax Return / BIR Form 2316 – You need to submit a copy of your latest income tax return. The form needs to have your signature. This will show the amount you earned for the past year as well as the amount of taxes you paid to the Philippine government.
Certificate of Employment – This is not listed in the embassy’s requirements but the agencies require this. You need to ask for this certificate from your HR officer. The certificate should contain your gross annual income, position & date when you started working for your employer. It’s best to get it on the same week of the application.
Bank Certificate – The embassy won’t tell you how much money you need to have in your account when you apply for the visa. However, the agencies require that you need to have at least ₱100,000.00 in your account. I know it’s quite a big amount of money. If you need help on how you can have that in your account at the day of getting your bank certificate, feel free to send me an email. I’ll try to help you, not monetary though. 😉
Daily Schedule in Japan / Taizai Nitteihyo – Japan is one of the very few countries that ask for the detailed itinerary of your stay. The embassy needs to see what days are you arriving & leaving Japan, where will you stay (includes physical address, email address & phone number) & which places / areas are you going to explore. The embassy DOES NOT REQUIRE confirmed airline tickets & hotel / hostel reservations; you can just indicate your intended flights & hotel accommodations in the daily schedule. If you want a sample itinerary, I can send you the one we used 2 years ago. Feel free to send me an email to request for the said copy.
Osaka’s Dōtonbori canal at night + the famous Glico Man
TIP: It is always better to apply for a visa as a tourist rather than a visitor of a friend or a relative. The latter requires additional documents (invitation letter, photo, etc) that need to be submitted together with your application.
TIP 2.0: Some people previously ask me why did I book my airline tickets without having a Japan tourist visa. I told them that I would take a risk & spend less than ₱5,000 (before) for round-trip ticket rather than spend ₱15,000 – ₱20,000 pesos on a round-trip ticket last minute. I’ve saved more which I can add up to my daily expenses in Japan. Of course, you lose ₱5,000 if you get denied. If your documents are complete, I don’t see any reason why your application will rejected.
Step 3: Apply in a Japanese Embassy accredited travel agency
Now that you already have your application form & requirements, it’s time to submit them to the relevant agency. The Embassy of Japan in the Philippines does not directly accept visa applications. The office has authorized a handful of travel agencies that can accept these visa applications with, of course, a handling fee. These applications are compiled daily & are being sent to the embassy for processing.
I personally recommend Reli Tours & Travel Agency. They have one of the cheapest visa handling fees among the agencies (only ₱950) for tourist visa applications with no guarantors. They have different branches here in Metro Manila; my last 2 applications were handled by their Dusit Thani Hotel office.
All documents will be checked before your application will be accepted. After everything has been checked & accepted, they will ask for the visa handling fee. They will give you a receipt + a stub which you will present when claiming your passport. Applications usually take 3-7 working days.
TIP: If you want Reli Tours to submit your documents next day , make sure to hand over your applications before 5:00 pm in the Dusit Thani Hotel office. Any application submitted after 5:00 will still be accepted that same day; but will be submitted 2 days after. Note that other Reli branches have different cut-off times.
USJ’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter should be in everyone’s list!
Step 4: Go back to the agency & claim your passport
The agency will normally send you a text message once your passport is ready for claiming. Note that they will not inform you if you have been granted a visa or not. You will only know if you were granted a visa when you sign the passport release sheet with a check mark in the ‘Yes‘ box.
You can either be granted a single entry visa valid for 3 months from the date of issue & is valid for a 15-day stay in Japan or a multiple entry visa valid for x years (can be 1, 2 or up to 5 years) from the date of issue & is valid for a 30-day stay per entry.
TIP: Passports can only be claimed in the afternoon from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Make sure to go there on time.
The list of requirements might be a little intimidating; but I tell you, once you are done gathering all the necessary requirements, the visa application process will be as easy as these 4 steps! So what are you waiting for? Book your plane tickets, gather all the needed documents & apply for your Japan visa as soon as possible. A trip to Japan is something you won’t regret. 😉
My 5-year multiple entry Japan tourist visa issued last year 😏
Have you encountered any problem when you applied for your Japan visa? Did the agency require additional documents from you? Do you have any questions or clarifications with the things mentioned above? Feel free to post them in the comments – it’s always nice to hear from you guys.