I can't help but smile when I remember that I now have a Japanese tourist visa :) The dream of walking in Shibuya crossing, eating authentic ramen & sushi, seeing the Tokyo Tower and the panda in Euno Zoo
going to Japanese drama locations is now closer to reality. :)
I originally had a February flight to Osaka, which I bought for PHP6K. While researching for my itinerary, I realized that it will cost at least PHP12K to go from Osaka -> Tokyo ->Osaka. Back in November, Cebu Pacific launched their Manila-Tokyo direct flights and it was just a leap of faith when I bought my PHP10K round-trip airfare tickets. To make the long story short, I saved PHP2K and the hassle of round-trip long train rides to go to the capital city.
It took me at least 2 weeks to prepare and complete the requirements. The Japanese Embassy in the Philippines has a list of accredited agencies which handle the visa applications so I didn't have a direct contact or even an interview with them.
A friend recommended Reli Tours and Travel Agency, good thing that they have a branch in SM Megamall. It was a Saturday afternoon
after yoga class when I went to their office and there's a short line when I arrived. When it was my turn, the lady in charge double checked my requirements before I was ushered to the cashier where I paid PHP1,200 for the processing fee. It took me at least an hour to complete the whole process.
Requirements for Tourist Visa (without invitation)
1) Philippine passport - valid at least 6 months
2) Visa Application Form - download here
3) Japan Visa photo - 2x2, white background
4) NSO Birth Certificate - issued within 1 year
5) Taizai Nitteihyo - Daily Schedule of Stay (English)
6) Bank Certificate - issued within 3 months
Since it's a solo backpacker trip, I also included optional documents like Certificate of Employment and my condo's Contract To Sell to prove that I will surely return to Manila :)
Four days after, I received a text message from Reli Tours that my passport is ready for pick up!
|No consideration for low EQ clients haha|
So the next day, I rushed to Megamall to claim my passport WITH JAPANESE VISA! I was actually confident that I'll be granted a tourist visa because I completed all requirements but there's a 1% worry that they might doubt me because I'm a solo backpacker! So, yay! Detailed itinerary planning, begins :)