How to Get a Japan Tourist Visa from the Philippines

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You may probably read a lot of articles when you searched about the topic. Yet, I still like to share my version of experience from my recent trip to Japan. It went easy. I believe I was truly lucky. But before anything else, keep in mind that the approval or rejection of your application will be dependent on the consular officer who will be looking into your submitted documents. How to get approved may be subjective and reasons for rejection will be unknown.

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sorry, I was tired on this photo ^_^

Here’s what I did with my application for a Japan tourist visa:

Look for a reliable travel agency that is accredited by the Japanese embassy. I seek referral from friends who recently visited Japan. I paid Php800 for processing fee. Here are the links:

Discovery Tour Inc

List of accredited agencies

Submit the requirements to the travel agency. You can find the list of requirements from the agency’s website. The requirements depend on your purpose of visit. For tourist visa, here are the basic requirements:

  • Philippine Passport (original and at least valid for 6 months at the time of departure from Japan)
  • Visa Application Form (downloaded from the website)
  • 2pcs Visa Photo 4.5cm x 4.5cm (white background)
  • NSO Birth Certificate (recent) – In my case, I provided in addition the local civil registry certified copy because my NSO copy is blurred.
  • Tour Itinerary (Schedule of Stay) – There’s a sample from the agency website. I just copied itinerary from my friend. At least a list with contacts (for hostel) will be okay, too detailed itinerary is not required (like how to get to places and time).
  • Bank Balance Certificate (original) – Get certificate from your bank when you are ready to apply for a visa, so it will show your latest bank balance. How much is needed? Estimate the expenses that you need for your trip. That should be your minimum bank balance. If possible, double that amount to have a greater chance to get approved The purpose is to show proof that you are capable to spend for your trip. Anyway, who knows which amount is really safe?
  • BIR Form 2316 (latest)

Other points to consider when applying for a tourist visa:

Do I need to purchase a plane ticket in advance? – No. I was advised by the agency to book a flight after the visa approval.

Do I need to book a hotel in advance? No. This was my theory based on the required documents. Although the address where you will stay in Japan is being asked in the visa application form, there was no receipt needed to be submitted to verify the booking. But then, I still made a cancellable reservation in a hostel through Agoda.com. This just was a personal choice.

When is it advisable to apply for a tourist visa? I was advised to apply 3 months prior my planned departure. The validity of a tourist visa is 15 days, to be used within 3 months upon release.

When do I get the results of my application? The results will be released within 3-5 working days and to be claimed through your agent personally or through mail.

Previously approved visa

I was told that getting a Japanese visa was difficult. My sister’s friend told me I was lucky to be granted with visa. I think it’s about the timing. It was recently announced that granting Japanese Tourist Visa to Filipinos has been easier today than before. Plus, a year ago I went to South Korea. Thus, my passport has the Korean Visa in it. So my theory is that the Korean visa gave me a plus point. But then, this is not a guarantee.

Good luck!

This is just a head start to your Japan visa application. For some of you, this may not be the same case as mine. But you can always seek help from people who know better about this kind of stuffs. What I can suggest is to go through that list of accredited agencies and ask. The information is free anyway! ^_^

DIY Itinerary Guide to La Union – Baguio City, Philippines

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Here’s our actual itinerary and expenses for this trip.

Trip Duration: 2 Days, 1 Night

Month: January 2016

Total Budget: Php3,324 ($67) each, group of 2, excludes souvenirs and incidental expenses. All amounts were estimated for some may not be accurately noted.

Day 1 (Saturday) – Part1: Tangadan Falls at San Juan, La Union

00:00 AM             Departure from Cubao via Partas Bus bound to Laoag

06:00 AM             Arrival at San Juan Town Plaza

06:30 AM             Departure from town plaza via jeep bound to San Gabriel

07:00 AM             Arrival at San Gabriel. Hire a tricycle and guide going to Tangadan Falls

07:30 AM             Start 45min-1hr trek to the falls

08:30 AM             Explore Tangadan Falls

10:00 AM             Trek back to jump-off point

12:00 NN              Lunch at Kahuna Restaurant (Sea Bay)

 

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Tangadan Falls from the top

Total expenses for each person – Php1,024 ($21)

  • Bus 1-way – Php425
  • Jeep 2-way – Php32
  • Trike – Php60
  • Guide – Php200 (each, too pricey!)
  • Balsa rental – Php50
  • Lunch – Php257
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refreshing!

Travel Tips

  • Maximize time by leaving as early as 12mn from Cubao, QC. Cubao – La Union land travel time is at least 5-6 hours.
  • San Juan beach is the surfing area in La Union, which the province is known for. Tangadan Falls is actually one of the side trips you can do here.
  • Trekking to Tangadan Falls is an easy trek during summer. You can wear your daily slippers, but I always recommend to wear trekking sandals to protect your feet and also for better grip at slippery rocks. You can never tell what challenges awaits you. So it’s better to wear proper footwear. Our guide told us that during the wet season, the trekking will be more challenging.
  • The falls have several cliff jumping spots with a variety of heights to choose from. This is actually one of the activity highlights of this place. The other will be swimming and showering under the cold waterfalls.
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dive spot

  • I’m not sure about this, but I don’t think that there is a fixed rate for tricycle and guide fees. I had this opinion because we chatted with the driver of the jeepney bound to San Gabriel, while we were heading to the town. He said that some tricycles drivers and guides charge too much for their services. Anyway, always try to haggle as much as you can. But keep in mind that tourism is one of the way locals can earn a living.

Day 1 (Saturday) – Part2: Bahay na Bato at Luna, La Union

01:00 PM Departure from Sea Bay to Balaoan via bus bound to Vigan, Candog or Laoag

02:00 PM ETA Balaoan, Luna. Hire a trike going to Bahay na Bato

02:30 PM Arrival at Bahay na Bato

04:00 PM Back at Balaoan crossing. Wait for bus bound to Baguio.

04:30 PM ETD to Baguio

08:00 PM Baguio City, Check-in at Mount Crest Hotel

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Total expenses for each person – Php1,500 ($30)

  • Bus 1-way – Php30
  • Trike – Php100
  • Entrance – Php20
  • Bus 1-way – Php130
  • Hotel – Php1,122
  • Dinner – Php100
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inside the house

Travel Tips

  • Bahay na Bato is a collection of anything made of stones found on the beach. Yes the beach has stones, instead of sands. There’s nothing to do here, but taking of photos and appreciation of the scenery. For Php20 entrance fee, it’s worth it. But travelling from San Juan to Luna may be a much of effort just to see this. If you have more time, then you can also visit Occlaong Falls.
  • Getting to Baguio City may take longer than expected. Be ready to sit on a bus for more than 3 hours because of several stops and slow driving.
  • It is always better to have a reservation to a hotel or inn when arriving to Baguio late at night. It can be cold outside while looking for a room to stay at.
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beach front

Day 2 (Sunday) – Baguio City

07:45 AM Buy ticket at Victory liner bound to Cubao

08:00 AM ETD to Ben Cab Museum via taxi

08:45 AM ETA Ben Cab Museum

10:00 AM ETD to hotel

11:30 AM Check out, lunch

02:30 PM ETD to Cubao

10:00 PM ETA Cubao

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that poster photo

Total expenses for each person – Php800 ($16)

  • Bus 1-way – Php455
  • Taxi – Php60
  • Entrance – Php100
  • Jeep – Php30
  • Lunch – Php150

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Travel Tips

  • January is actually a good time to visit Baguio City. But make sure to arrange your hotel beforehand. It’s peak season. If it’s your first time to visit the place, there are plenty of interesting sites to check out here. I’d been here a couple of times but never been to Ben Cab Museum so I took this chance to visit it.
  • Taxi cars are the easiest and most convenient way to explore the city. And what’s amazing is that taxi drivers here charge as metered. When you’re living in Manila, you what this means. Anyway, there are alternatives like a jeepney ride going to Ben Cab Museum. Look for the one bound to Barangay Asin, from the town proper.

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  • Ben Cab Museum is quite pricey for me. I can’t help but compare to other museums I’d been to. I think the exhibits are few. I also read that there’s something like an eco-tour. But you will have to pay additional fee for this.
  • It is always better to reserve a seat in a bus going back to Manila. Victory Liner is the most popular and maybe the most reliable bus company to take you back to Manila. But in case you didn’t get your preferred departure time, there are several other bus companies that goes back to Manila. Just ask around, you will surely find it!

 

The Vibe at Dagsa Restobar

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Siquijor has been one of my favorite trips in 2015 (I should make a list) because of unplanned detours that turned out to be pleasantly surprising. And one of those diversions was dining at Dagsa Restobar. I bet that when your stomach is empty, it will surely lead to the right place. Continue reading

The Bruce Resort – A Peaceful Sanctuary

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Me and my friend failed to make a reservation for our stay here at Siquijor Island. We told our tricycle driver to bring us to One Sunset View, but he brought us to a different resort. He told us that a lot of tourists may have already checked in there and that we should try to look into this place instead. “Maganda rin dito (it’s also nice here).”, kuya Rio told us. We hesitated, but still gave the place a look and he didn’t fail us. It was a paradise to our eyes! Continue reading