How to Apply for a Japan Tourist Visa

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

Updated: April 14th, 2014

Japan 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.

Step 1: 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);

Step 2: 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)
15. Invitation Letter from Guarantor in Japan (Must have hand written signature)

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.

Step 3: 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.

Step 4: 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 just 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 are 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 resources: MOFA of Japan

  • Aleah |

    When can I go to Japan kaya? I find it soooo expensive there. Still your post would be a big help should I decide to go visit :)

  • Ada

    Hi Aleah! Punta na! Pero yes, very expensive talaga. Naubos talaga yung show money ko dito hehe

  • killerfillers

    nice to be back in your site..bago na pala lay out. Anyhoo thanks para dito sa guide, question meron ba silang required na amont para don sa bank certificate?

  • Ada

    Hi Killerfilers! Yes meron, it will be on my next post woot. 😀 Surprise syempre 😀

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  • Bella

    I want to erase my photo sa visa ko rin! Natawa ako dito Ada! :))

  • Ada

    AHAH! Syempre, baka manakaw identity ko eh 😛

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  • Kris


    Thanks for your helpful blog!

    May case ako though sana may idea ka about it. I transferred to another company last May and I’m planning to go Osaka for a 2-day concert. My dilemmas are: 1.) According sa requirements, needed and 2316 pero HR said they can’t give me dahil wala pa kong 6 months; 2.) Worried na dahil bago lang ako sa company, madedeny ako.

    Hope for your response! Salamat!

  • Ada

    Hi Kris,

    If wala ka ITR, kahit Bank Certificate na lang and Certificate of Employment. Wala rin akong ITR nung nagsubmit ako kasi bago lang ako, pero ayun, approved naman 😉

  • Kris

    Thanks Ada! Hmm pero ok lang din na isubmit ko ung ITR galing sa previous company ko? 😀

  • Ada

    Yup!! That’s okay!!!

  • nina

    Hi..your blog is a big help.. but sana ma answer m din ang case q.. ksi im a spouse of a filipino resident in japan.. the first apply was tourist visa and i got denied kahit complete ang papers q..I used UHI agency.. and then the second one was i have certificate of diba sabi nila malakas na ang kapit mo non? pag may hawak ka..i pass all the requirements.. then nanghingi ang embassy sakin ng marriage certificate ng mother in law q sa hapon na pinaksalan nya.. and we passed it.. but then i got denied again.. im not sure why.. now i am applying again together with our 4 month old son.. with certificate of eligibility ulit.. and now i am so worried na bka denied na naman .. ang hirap.. lalo n ngayon may baby na kami..mas mhirap malaman n denied tapos wala namang sasabihin kung bakit.tingin m ano dapat q gawin? anong tingin mong agency na ok tlga at reliable? pls answer. thank u.

  • Ada

    Hi Nina, I am not sure if UHI is still an accredited agency for Japan Visa application. Might as well try Friendship Tours or Reli Tours and Travel in SM MOA Branch. I wonder why your application keeps on getting denied. When was the last time you applied? Did you apply again after 6 months of being denied? There’s should be a 6 months period kasi.

    Since you will be applying with your baby, I guess you will have to submit the Cert of Eligibility of the baby as well. Also, what’s the job of your husband in Japan? And how long does he work there? Because if he’s really a resident there, might as well submit these:
    1) A certificate of residence (with description of his/ her family relationship with all family members),
    2) Submit a photocopy of the both sides of the valid Residence card (the Alien Registration)
    3) A photocopy of his/her passport (including the pages of status items, the record of entry etc.)
    4) Provide Photos to prove relationship.

    And since your husband is a resident in Japan, provide these additional documents from him as he will serve as your guarantor. So, you should submit these too from your husband:
    1. Letter of reason for invitation
    2. Letter of guarantee
    3. His ITR (issued by the head of administration
    local office at place of residence) and/or and Certificate of tax payment
    4. Certificate of deposit balance

    DO NOT make it look like na dun na kayo titira. There’s a different process for that. Remember, even if married na kayo, under TOURISM VISA parin ang inapplyan niyo, ang Cert of Elig (COE) is just an additional doc na titingnan ng Consul if talagang pwede kayo tumira dun, and from what I know, there’s a great chance for applicants with COE na may travel history na sa Japan. But for now, apply as TOURIST talaga muna.

    Also, do you have prior travel history? Very helpful siya, if wala pa, why not travel to Asian countries muna.

  • giselle

    hi there,,,,magtatanong lang ako about visa papuntang japan,,,,may asawa akong american citizen na nagwowork ngayun sa japan handle by us government hindi siya millitary pero sofa member din siya,,,,ano ba ang mga requirements na dapat ipasa para sure maaprobahan ang visa ko???,,,anyway,kukuha lang ako ng tourist visa para bisitahin siya dun at aasikasuhin nadin namin dun dependent id tapos sofa stamp ko para no worries na ako pag dating sa visa sa susunod na magpunta akong japan at para makasama ko siya dun ng matagal…. hindi ba pwedeng type written ang invitation at guarantor letter niya?pero ang pirma niya is his own signature talaga….sa mga reasons lang niya ang type written,,,,pwede kaya yun?

    hope u can give me some advices,,,thank u

  • Ada

    Hi Giselle, If SOFA but not Military, your application would still fall under Tourist Visa for friends/relative/tourism.

    You have to print out the Format first for Invitation and Guarantor letters, then fill up handwritten by your asawa :D. You can download the format above for your convenience: Download here. Kelangan ipadala yun ng asawa mo via Express Mail para makuha mo agad 😉

    Also, he needs to mail his ITR and/or Foreign Registration Certificate from City Hall. Just all the requirements which falls under 1 – 13 (Tourist Visa with guarantor). Just remember, items 1-9 from you yung documents, then 10-13 sa from your asawa :D. I believe it will give you great chance of getting approved.

    Just a tip: When filling up your application form, under Reason of Travel, just write: TOURISM and will visit my Husband/Wife. Make it clear, make it simple :) Wag mo na lagay yung buong reason na kelangan niyo kuha ng dependent ID, baka kasi isipin ng consul, may balak ka talaga mag-tagal dun unang apply palang.

  • giselle

    thank u sa tips ms ada…actually rajah travel agency already gave me the list for tourist visa were now preparing the documents to give to them i dont know if ITR or foreign registration certificate is needed cause it doesn’t have on their list?…
    if my visa will get approve do i needed to go to the CFO seminar ?

  • Ada

    Hi Giselle, then those documents that Rajah indicated would be okay 😉 No need to attend seminar, it’s only for OFWs working in Japan 😉

  • giselle

    hindi ba ako hahanapan ng immigration ng CFO certificate ms ada kung nandun na ku sa airport?

    thank u for keeping responding me,,,,,

  • Ada

    Nagtataka ko Miss Giselle kung san info niyo po nakuha yung CFO Certificate. HEHE. Wala naman pong ganun sa Tourist Visa. Meron bang nakaindicate na ganung requirements sa Raja??

    I been to Japan na under Tourist Visa, hindi naman ako hinanapan nun. CFO is only for Filipino fiancees/spouses who will migrate abroad.

    Pero since first apply mo palang, it SHOULD be under tourist visa muna. Then kapag okay na documents mo to migrate to Japan, dun na siguro magfafall ang CFO for your next application.

  • annemometer

    Thank you so much sa tips mo.. Nagpasa ako nitong sunday (Oct21) lang sa Reli Tours kasi yun na yung malapit samin then yesterday (Oct23) I got a text na ready for pick-up na raw passport ko pero upon pick-up ko pa malaman if may Visa na ko. Kinuha ko na kanina then pagbigay sakin meron nga ko Visa.. I’m so happy.. Kumuha na rin ako agad ng ticket.hehe.. I’ll be visiting my hubby na pinadala ng company nila dun for two months. sabay na kami uuwi.
    Again, thanks sa tips mo.. God Bless..

  • yra

    hello po!! i just want to ask kun ano po ba magandang ireason para makuha ko yung brother ko from philippines

  • Kaye

    Congrats :) Can I ask what documents you submitted? Thanks :)

  • Yuna

    Hello~ I would like to ask about the documents you submitted to prove your relationship with your guarantor. I have lots of emails and letters and I wonder if taking a photo of those would be enough or should I bring the original ones? :)

  • Ada

    Hi! It’s should be Photos, not letter and emails. 😉

  • Yuna

    Thanks for your reply. :) I also have photos. I read that some also submit emails and letters. Did you also submit those? :)

  • Ada

    You’re welcome Yuna 😀 No, I didn’t submit them. Based on the requirements on the Main Japanese Emabssy Manila website, it’s only photos. Where you did you read about the emails? I think it’s not necessary since it’s not primary proof of relationship. Photos would be great! 😀

  • annemometer

    I applied for tourist visa w/o guarantor. kung ano lang din asa list nila pinasa ko except yung photo kasi nilagay ko sa purpose na sightseeing & shopping lang gawin ko dun. tapos nagsubmit ako ng certificate of employment na inallow ako magleave w/ pay. yung NSO birth certificate, marriage contract & bank certificate meron naka attached na receipt.Ü
    I asked the lady na taga Reli Tours kasi nagpabook na ko ng ticket kung bakit ang bilis ng Visa ko. sabi nya baka dahil wala ng need pang i-verify sa japan mismo like yung papers na need mo isubmit if you’ll visit a relative or if may guarantor ka. Tsaka nagsubmit talaga ako ng daily schedule in japan kahit di pa sure kung san ako punta.Ü

  • Kaye

    Thanks for your reply. May guarantor kasi ako so sabi mo nga bka medyo mas matagalan ng kaunti. Pero ang galing at nakuha mo yung sayo kagad. Nakakakaba naman kasi. Enjoy sa trip mo!! :)

  • Yuna

    Like you, I read the post of magnetic rose along with those of applicants who shared their experiences. They mentioned that they submitted letters and even emails. I guess those are supporting documents. Their guarantor is a Japanese so probably the pictures may not be enough. My guarantor is a Japanese too so I thought I needed to submit those, just in case. :)

  • Ada

    Cool! Let me know how it goes. 😉

  • giselle

    maam ada,, i have a question regarding to my marriage contract.. nagkamali kasi ako ng fill up sa address kung saan ako ipinanganak it should be AROROY,MASBATE city pero nailagay ko sa original Marriage contract namin is AROROY,CAWAYAN MASBATE CITY,, manonotice ba ng taga immigration yang adress na yan at pwedeng maging dahilan kung bakit di maaprove visa ko?

    i need ur reply ms ada…

  • Ada

    Hi Giselle, not really sure about it the location is almost the same, I don’t see any problem about that. So have you submitted your requirements already?

  • giselle

    wala pa ms ada hindi ko pa nasusubmit im planning to submit this on this weekends saturday,,sa rajah agency

  • giselle

    hello ms ada,,,hindi alam ng hubby ko kung paano o madali ba kumuha ng bank certificate niya. ok na ba ang bank statement niya? i need ur opinion ms ada

  • unknown

    hello there!
    I am married to civilian officer in japan he is american working in yokohama base now.
    we are done to submit our papers in travel agency,but i am worried if the embassy in japan will approve our papers cause some of the papers that he send me is only a copies,even his certificate of employment also is a copy cause he thought the copy is fine to submit.,,,i feel nervous now,what would be the result?is there possibilities i cannot get tourist visa?

  • Ada

    Hi, if ever there would be discrepancies on the documents you’ve submitted, I am sure the agency will contact you to submit more documents. Please do not worry and just pray that it will be approved.

  • cristina

    Im Cristina a OFW in Taiwan. I have a relatives in Japan my auntie ask me to visit her. What im going supposed to do. Balak ko po kasi this coming April 2013 ako mag babasyon dun para ksabay na ng anak nya pu2nta din dun sa japan dito nga lang po ako mag eexit sa taiwan. Mag pa2alam po ako sa boss nmin na mag ba2syon ako sa japan.
    Ano po ba ang dapat ko i produced para po makarating ako dun. at nakahanda nman po ang tita ko na ibigay ang lahat ng requirements. San po ba ako d2 sa taiwan dapat pumunta at anong adress po. Maraming salamat and more power

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  • Pam

    Hi I also have a US Navy bf in Japan. Did you get married already? We are planning to get married in Japan next year.

  • Ada

    Hi Pam. No we’re not married yet. Everytime I go to Japan it’s always under tourist Visa parin and so far di pa naman ako nadeny. We’re planning to get married in the US first.

  • Pam

    Yeah having problems kasi pano pakasal dun just with a Tourist visa kasi 15 days lang. :-( Anyway it’s hard having an LDR

  • Ada

    Is he American US Navy? If yes, you can request up to 30-60 days of stay in Japan. Put mo lang sa application form intended length of stay 60 days. Then sa reason, getting married with a US Navy 😉

  • Pam

    Yes American US Navy. Really? I could do that? Under SOFA Status? Pero hindi ba kelangan ng mas malakeng amount ng money?

  • Pam

    Really? Under SOFA Status? I could do that? Hmmmmm may kakilala ka ba na nagtry na nito?

  • Ada

    Hi Pam, yes kahit di ganon kalaki money sa account mo kasi siya naman talaga magsshoulder. Alam na nila yon 😉 Yung aken 35K lang for 15 days naapprove siya

  • Pam

    Tlga? Risky yun ah… 2x nako as tourist visa and 1x as student visa. Nagapply ako dati ng 20 days itinerary nadeny kaya maingat na talaga ako ngayon pero try ko yung sinabi mo.

  • janrock

    Hi ada! my husband just recently got a new job in japan, he is a filipino. He wants me to visit him sometime, like maybe after a year or so. do u think I have a chance to get a visa? if so, what will be the best documents to present? Im not sure if I can provide my itr since i just recently got a new job. please advise. thanks

  • KAren

    Nag apply me ng tourist visa sa universal holidays in makati very friendly and accommodating lhat ng staff kya nging madali ang pag aayos ng Mga papers nmin. Ngpunta me lastwk it was Thursday submit all the recquirements needed . We avail the package tour in Tokyo for 4 nights and 5 days.since wala us itr ng mami ko pinagawa Nila me ng explanation letter reason Kung Bkit wala us itr kaya LNG nkalimutan me gawan ung mami me kaya bumalik ulet me sa Uhi to submit that letter since Friday is holiday bumalik me sa knila ng sat morning. Sbi ng staff sun Monday p dw maipapasa sa Japan embassy ung papers us and ang Sabi nila it’s Takes 5 to 10 days to get the result, I received a call from them saying that are Japan visa was granted, I was suprised kc ang bilis Nya Monday cia pinasok kinabukasan may result na I ask them bt ang bilis ng process sbi Nila ok dw lahat ung Mga pinasa me na documents.kasama me mami ko at anak ko we’re leaving on dec 26 , 2012 for tokyo.cguro nkatulong ung us visa ng mami me multiple visa Atsak nkapag work me sa Japan before as trainee for 3 years ntapos me contract me. And nag tour us sa hongkong last July this year.i recommend universal holidays in makati ok lhat ng staff feel at home ka sa company na toh for sure.