I’ve always dreamt of going to Japan. This desire was basically fueled by a childhood revolving around anime, manga and video games. Japan was my Paris, my Italy, my one true dream destination.
For a while, I collected Ranma 1/2 and Ayashi No Ceres comics. My sister and I would collect Sailormoon stickers and even draw our own comic books, taking inspiration from the sailor soldier storyline. As I grew older, I would embrace the food and culture as well, reading Arthur Golden’s Memoirs of a Geisha and watching every single one of those NHK reruns on a local channel.
The thought of actually traveling to Japan had always been at the back of my mind, but I had always been mostly concerned about the expenses and the acquisition of a VISA. In fact, there were many times I hesitated pursuing the trip because I was worried about the budget.
When I found out that my boyfriend and former officemates would be going to Tokyo in late October for a business trip, I started doing my research.
Apparently in the Philippines, you no longer need to make an appearance at the Embassy of Japan. They have several accredited agencies which can receive your VISA application documents and forward these to the embassy.
I chose to submit the VISA requirements to Reli Tours & Travel, located in SM Megamall. Since I was applying for a tourist VISA with no guarantor, I submitted the following items:
- Philippine passport
- Accomplished VISA application form (Note: You need to be sure of your final travel dates and accommodation arrangements as these have to be indicated in the form.)
- 4.5cm x 4.5 cm photo (Make sure it’s a nice photo as they’ll use it for the VISA, if granted.)
- NSO-certified birth certificate
- Daily schedule in Japan (This took me a lot of time because I planned the whole itinerary myself and I had to dig up information first.)
- Original bank certificate (This involves the critical “show money.” I would suggest you to have at least P70,000-P80,000 in your account.)
- Income Tax Return (BIR Form 2316) – You should be able to easily request this from your company’s HR or payroll department.
According to their website, the handling fee is P950, but if I recall correctly, it was around P1,200. I submitted everything on a Sunday and it was submitted to the embassy the following Tuesday, and I got the VISA in three days.
As long as all the documents are in order (and nothing’s dubious-looking), you should be very well on your way to Japan!
I’ll be posting about my experience and tips on booking flights to Japan next. See you then!