How to Apply for a Japan Tourist Visa

Note: This guide only applies to Philippine residents. For other nationalities, visit MOFA.

Tips and Steps on Getting a Japan Visa by Ada Wilkinson © 2014 | Source:

JUNE 18, 2014 UPDATE: Filipinos still need to apply for Japan Tourist Visa. Read the details here.

How to Apply for a Japan Tourist Visa: I updated this post into a simple outline so that first time applicants of Japan Tourist Visa can fully understand the process and the required documents more.

If you think applying for a Japan Tourist is a grueling process, perhaps after reading my guide, it will give you an idea that applying is as easy as 1, 2, 3 when you know exactly what you’re doing.

Go to PH Embassy of Japan website and look for the type of Visa that best suits you.

Click here  to visit the website of Embassy of Japan in the Philippines and from there look for Types of Visa. For Tourism purposes, you will see there are 3 types of Visa:

1) Visa for Tourism/Visit Friends or Distant Relatives (with or without sponsor);
2) Visa for Visiting Relatives (with sponsor)
3) Visit Relatives/Friends Invited by US Military Personnel (SOFA Status);

Gather and prepare the required documents.

Now that you know which type of Visa that you will be applying for, gather all the required documents listed from the PH Embassy of Japan website. It stated there, ALL documents must be ORIGINAL unless otherwise stated.

Required documents for applicants without sponsor are the following:

1. Philippine Passport. Must have signature and at least 2 blank pages
2. Visa Application Form (Download)
3. Photo (4.5cm x 4.5cm, white background)
4. NSO Birth Certificate
5. NSO Marriage Contract (if the applicant is married)
6. Daily Schedule in Japan (Download)
7. Documents or photos etc. to prove relationship
8. Bank Certificate. Read here on how much show money.
9. Income Tax Return (Form 2316) original and photocopy.

However, you MUST submit these additional documents if applying with sponsor (Relatives, friends, or Boyfriend/Girlfriend, Fiance/Fiancee):

10. Invitation Letter from the Sponsor (Must have handwritten signature. ORIGINAL) (Download)
11. Guarantee Letter from the Sponsor (Must have handwritten signature. ORIGINAL) (Download)
12. Most Recent Income Tax Return Copy (Form 1040 and Form W-2)
13. Residence Certificate (if Guarantor is a Japanese) or Foreign Registration Certificate from City Hall (if Guarantor is not a Japanese)

Additional requirements if Invited by US Military Personnel:

14. Statement of Service (With e-mail address of attestant if possible)

USEFUL TIP #1: Not listed on the website but I recommend sending a copy of your Certificate of Employment or COE if you’re applying without a sponsor.

USEFUL TIP #2: Applicant’s Bank Certificate is not required if you have a guarantor. Alternatively, you should submit your guarantor’s Bank Certificate.

USEFUL TIP #3: If you lack 1 or 2 document because it’s impossible for you to obtain it, you may write a Letter of Explanation addressed to the Consulate-General of Japan why you are unable to submit the said document.

Choose your desired accredited agency, submit the documents, and pay the Visa Application Fee.

You CANNOT directly apply at the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines; instead, you MUST apply through the agencies accredited by the Embassy of Japan. Appointments when submitting documents is typically not necessary. You can just walk-in during their business hours.

Click here to view the list of Accredited Travel Agency for Japan Visa Application.

Wait for the call.

It usually takes 2 to 3 business days to process the application if documentation is complete and in order. If you a receive a call from them, it’s either you’re lacking a document or your passport is ready for pickup.

For some reason, some agencies do not disclose information whether you were granted Japan Visa or Denied over the phone. You will just find out upon passport pickup which is the most thrilling part.

They can only tell you whether you were granted a visa or not upon passport pick up. In some agencies, a white sticker at the back of your passport, it’s Granted! Congratulations! While red sticker denotes Visa Denial.

For denied applications, you may apply again after 6 months.

Downloadable templates for your Japan Visa Application

Or visit. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan website for templates in other language.

My personal experience

In my case, I chose Reli Tours & Travel Agency (SM Megamall) to process my application. My overall experience with them was OK. I had an unpleasant experience during my first time as their staff were very unfriendly. Especially the front desk. But during my second time (2nd Japan Visa application), those irate staff were no longer there and served me better.

I got my Japan Tourist Visa 2 days after I submitted my documents. The Visa Type I applied for was the Invited by US Military Personnel (SOFA Status). It was a breeze!

Other helpful resources:
Japan Tourist Visa Frequently Asked Questions
Increase the chance of getting your Japan Tourist Visa approved

Bonus! USEFUL Sample Templates

Let me show you how I did my Schedule of Stay (Itinerary) and how I write my Letter of Explanation whenever I lack documents. If your sponsor is confused on what to write on the Invitation Letter, I also provided a sample template for that.

IMPORTANT: Please be informed that this will NOT guarantee your Visa Approval! I DO NOT work with Embassy of Japan nor affiliated with the government! These are just sample templates to guide you further on the process.

To see the Sample Templates, Share the content by using one of the buttons below.

Author: Ada Wilkinson

A navy wife and blogger, always equip with scarf, messenger bag, camera, and boots. Currently learning and loving Japan.

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  • Myla Carmelli Cruz

    Hello Ms. Ada Can i see the visit Letter Sample Template for Japan Visa Application

  • monic m banjao

    hello to my only one sister. melanie banjao rendon. i like invite you come in japan.

  • Arl Otod

    This is really helpful. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this entry. :)

    • travelinboots

      You’re welcome Arl. ;-)

  • wanderlustre

    I was reading your blog and others an hour before I received a message from Reli tours, asking me to come over and pick up my passport. I was granted a Japanese single-entry tourist visa! yay!!

    I know exactly how the others felt. I thought I didn’t have enough funds. I just have around 11x, xxx in the bank and I’m going to Osaka and Kyoto for 12 days. I thought there was no chance.

    I’ve only been with my current company for a little over a year but I have all the requirements. COE, ITR, leave of absence, round-trip tickets, hostel reservations from hostelbookers, birth certificate, bank certificate and itinerary. I spent a lot of time on the fake itinerary and made sure it will not exceed my budget for sightseeing. I even had a walking itinerary. It has the amount I’m going to spend at each tourist destination like entrance fees and stuff. It’s fake since I won’t be following any of it. I’m going with my boyfriend and we planned to do other things like whitewater rafting, canyoning and hiking since we are both adventurous. But he’s a privileged one for having an Australian passport.

    Prior to this trip, I went to Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia and Hong Kong. I started going out of the country since March. Then, sort of became a monthly thing. I was making ipon of the stamps. Too bad HK don’t stamp the passports anymore.

    Anyways, I submitted my application last Thursday. the visa was granted on Friday and I received my passport today, Tuesday. To those who are reluctant, if you have all the documents, there’s no reason to get denied. Best of Luck!

    • travelinboots

      Congratulations!! Thank you for sharing your experience here. I hope others read your comment to encourage them that applying for a Japan Visa is now a breeze.

  • Randy Pentecostes


    are in the process of completing our requirements for the visa. We just found
    out though that I have two registrations with NSO under two completely
    different names so I’m unable to get the birth certificate that matches my
    passport and all my ids etc. We are not aware of the first registration which
    has me carrying the name of my absentee father hence all my life i carried
    another name and my mom’s surname (I’m proud to say I was raised by a single
    mom). We’ve consulted a lawyer already, and I will need to have the first
    registration canceled which takes about a year since it’ll need to thru the
    courts. Since our trip is in November already, here are the items I plan to

    – passport

    – birth certificate from NSO dated 2011 with receipt (late registered
    – I was born 1983 and was late registered 1988).

    – school form 137
baptismal certificate
    – all govt ids, etc that will show that I did not use any other
    name in my lifetime .
    – letter explaining the reason behind the NSO issue which will
    hopefully include a petition already to cancel my first registration

    – ITR
    – COE

    – bank certificates (substantial amount from several banks if
Sunlife MF investment
    – Manulife Investment
    – Philamlife Investment
    – property title
    – plane tickets (piso fare, hehe)
    – Itinerary

    Have traveled to several Asian countries/cities already, HK, Sing, Taipei, Cambodia,
    Vietnam, Korea, Mumbai, Bangkok and Malaysia.

    Any thoughts on the items I plan on submitting? Really worried with the NSO issue,
    funny enough I can’t seem to find anyone similar to my situation.

    We are traveling as a family as well, my mom, sister and GF. It’ my graduation
    gift to my sister who’s graduating in a couple of weeks.

    Hope someone can help..

    Thank you.

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