Japan 2017: How to Apply for Japan Visa

One look at the requirements for Japan visa and you’ll start to think twice about going. But do not get too overwhelmed with the requirements, it’s actually pretty easy to apply for a Japan visa.

First, you need to find an accredited agency who processes Japan visa. In the Embassy of Japan website, they have indicated the following agencies:

For our visa, we went to Rajah Travel Corporation. I have a friend working there and she advised me to wait for the Travel Expo to pay for the visa processing fee because they will give a discounted amount. So we went to the Expo last February and pay for the visa processing fee of P450 instead of the original price of P1,500.

Then, they sent the list of requirements for the visa.

  1. Valid Passport. It must be valid 6 months from the date of travel. Bring old passports.
  2. Completed visa application form. Your agency will give you this. Or you can download it here.
  3. For those with guarantors (example, mother will shoulder the expense of the kids), a separate form needs to be filled. You can download it here.
  4. 1 recent 2×2 colored photo (or just say photo for Japan visa and photo studio will know it). Must have white background and applicant should wear a collared top. Write your name at the back of the photo before pasting it on the application form (Note: paste the photo and not staple it)
  5. Original NSO Birth Certificate. Must be issued 1 year from filing. You can order it here for P350.
  6. If married, NSO-issued marriage certificate.
  7. Certificate of employment stating position, tenure of service and with gross annual income. You can also include your ITR or anything that will prove your employment.
  8. For Self-employed, DTI Business Name Registration or SEC Registration Certificate
  9. Original bank certificate. Must be issued within 3 months from filing.
  10. Daily schedule/itinerary in Japan. Here’s our daily itinerary. You can use it as a sample.

Sample Itinerary

 

 

* It doesn’t have to be super detailed. Just give them an idea where you’ll be going during your stay. I personally believe the itinerary will be considered when they check your bank certificate.

We were a group of 6 where 1 was a guarantor, 2 were under the guarantor, 2 students w/o guarantor and 1 self employed. Since I think better when I create lists, I came up with this checklist. Please see the requirements below based on which category you fall in.

Visa Checklist 2

* Feel free to copy my checklist or comment below/send me a message, I can send you the template.

Once you submit everything, the agency personnel will go through your documents and make sure you have complete requirements. Afterwards, just wait and pray that you’ll get approved. Usual turnaround time is 3 – 5 business days.

And after few days of waiting… are you ready to see this in your passport? 🙂

JPN Visa.png

That’s it! Goodluck!

 

Japan 2017: Pre-planning + P40,000 All-in expense for 7 days.

Our Japan trip, which happened last June 6 – 12, is by far the most special trip I’ve had. I knew everything by heart because I carefully planned and researched our itinerary and budget. They say travelling to Japan is expensive, but with thorough planning I would say it is not as expensive as other people think. If you are in my page because you also want to go to Japan without having to burn your wallet, you’ve come to the right page. We are a group of 6 who travelled to 3 cities: Tokyo – Osaka – Kyoto (well, plus Nagoya because that’s where we flew out of Japan) for P40,000 and some change. Below I will share how I planned our trip.

Before I start, I just want to share that my budget was divided into two. Pre-trip expenses and During trip expenses. The Pre-trip expenses include airfare, accommodation and booked tickets. Basically, anything that has to be pre-booked was under Pre-trip expenses. During trip expenses cover food and transportation within Japan. In other terms, this is my ‘pocket money’.

Alright, so let’s begin. Below would be an overview of my expenses and I will create a separate post to further discuss each.

*For conversion purposes: 1JPY = 0.45PHP

I.

JAPAN VISA

JPN Visa

In order to obtain a Japan visa, you have to submit your requirements to an accredited agency. For the list of agencies, you can check it here.  In our case, we went to Rajah Travel Corporation. They have a branch in Makati and Manila. Visa processing costs P1200. And the turnaround time is 3-5 business days.

Tip: Pay for the visa processing fee during Travel Expo. Agencies offer a discounted price. We paid P450 for the visa processing.

Budget allotted: P450

II.

AIRFARE

DSCF2551

This is the most expensive portion of my pre-trip expense. If you are good at snagging seat sales then you can make your budget less than P40,000.

A little back story… We never planned on going to Japan. We were actually thinking of Korea or Bali. But during one seat sale of Jetstar last December 2016. I noticed a super cheap fare from Manila to Japan. Immediately, I booked a one-way ticket MNL to JPN. I didn’t have any plans then on how long we’d want to stay in Japan and where we want to go, so I kept my options open and did not purchase a return ticket. WRONG MOVE. For months, I have to check Jetstar website to see if there’s a cheap flight from Japan to Manila. We ended up buying Nagoya to Manila, because that’s the cheapest ticket we can find. (Note: we were able to buy the return ticket 1 month before our trip. Hassle!)

Tip: If you really want to go to Japan, decide early if you want to go on multiple cities or focus on one area only. This will give you a non-hassle booking experience.

Regarding baggages, I don’t normally give much importance to adding a baggage. Often I would pick the smallest baggage allowance. So when I booked the MNL to JPN flight, I only alloted 20kg for my mom, sister and I. And 15kg for my 3 friends. With teamwork and strategic planning, we were able to fit everything in the allotted baggage allowance. Thanks to the 7kg hand carry allowance! Yay!

Manila to Tokyo: P3,500
Nagoya to Manila: P6,373
Budget Allotted: P9,873

III.

ACCOMMODATION

Accom

There are plenty of accommodation to choose from in Japan. There are hotels, capsule hostels and AirBnB rooms. Choose depending on the people you are with. In my case, I was with my mom and so I opted for an entire room in AirBnb. But if I were alone or with a friend, maybe I’d try the capsule hostels.

Anyway, it was my first time to try AirBnB. I usually book through Agoda or Booking.com. I was happy with my experience with AirBnB. There were many options and you can get to chat with the host of the place. I will create a separate entry for the two AirBnBs that we rented.

Initially, we booked 1 night in Tokyo and 3 nights in Osaka. But after we booked our roundtrip ticket, we adjusted it to 2 nights in Tokyo and 3 nights in Osaka. I wanted to book ryokan (ancient type of house in Japan) in Kyoto, but I realized it would be hassle to transfer from one place to another with our luggages.

Tip: Book a place near the subway and probably near the tourist sites. Example: Shibuya, Shinjuku, Asakusa. Book a place depending on your itinerary.

In Tokyo, I booked a room in Shibuya. It was walking distance from Shibuya Crossing and there were convenience stores, restaurants and shopping centers around.
Price: P1,976/head

In Osaka, our main agenda was to visit USJ and to explore Dotonbori. So we booked a room near Dotonbori.
Price: P2,927/head

I find our accommodation cheap for our entire stay in Japan.

Note: Check in time is usually 3PM.

Budget Allotted: P4,903

IV.

TOKYO TO OSAKA TRANSFER

Eagle bu

There were 3 ways to get to Osaka from Tokyo.

  1. Airplane
  2. Shinkansen (bullet train)
  3. Highway Bus

Since I wanted this trip to be as cheap as possible, I considered a sleeper bus. Why? You get to save 1 night of accommodation. The only catch is, travel time is 9-10 hours. But if you’ll think about it, you wouldn’t even notice the time because you are sleeping. I actually slept the entire bus ride.

I checked two websites for the buses. The more famous one is the Willer Express Company and the other one is Kosoku Bus, which is a group of Japanese highway bus managed by Keio Bus.

From several options, I narrowed down my choices based on my preferences. It must be a sleeper bus with a comfort room and reclining seat. Finally, I found Eagle Bus. We departed from Shinjuku Expressway Bus terminal at 10:10PM and arrived at Osaka 7:30AM.

Budget allotted: P2,637 (6000 JPY)

V.

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS JAPAN

DSCF1899

If Universal Studios is one of the reasons you want to go to Japan make sure you book a ticket beforehand. This will save you a lot of time from queueing. Though, even if you have a ticket you still have to go there early because there is a line going inside the amusement park.

I booked our USJ admission ticket via Klook, my ever trusted travel app. Despite being advised of buying two tickets: Admission ticket and Express pass, I only bought the admission ticket.

Admission ticket – is the ticket for you to get in USJ
Express Pass – is a ticket you show to skip the lines to the rides

I am not an amusement park enthusiast. I don’t ride rollercoasters. I don’t see myself riding all the rides in USJ. Basically my main purpose in visiting USJ was the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. So, with that in mind, I did not buy an Express Pass.

Tip: If you like rides and you want to try as many rides as you can, you should buy an Express Pass, especially if your visit will fall on weekends or holidays.

During our stay in USJ, we went to WWOHP, rode Jaws and Jurassic Park – The Ride and my sister and friends tried the Flying Dinosaur.

Because I was a user of Klook since December 2016, I was able to earn quite a number of credits and promo codes, so when we booked our USJ tickets, we used those. Plus, I took advantage of Klook’s summer promo where I got P1,500 off.

Budget allotted: P3,175

VI.

WI-FI ROUTER

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In this digital era, I cannot imagine myself not having an internet. For my past travels, I would rely mostly on free wi-fi or as ask people for directions if I get lost. But I really want to be prepared for our Japan trip. There’s no room for us to get lost. So I booked us a wi-fi router so that as soon as we get to Japan we can easily navigate around and use the internet if ever we need to.

We booked our wi-fi router through Flytpack. It was delivered to us 2 days before our departure. Another option would be 3G/4G sim cards you can purchase through Klook or in Japan airports.

Our Flytpack router also acts as a powerbank, which was helpful because I don’t have a powerbank. Also, it was fast even if there were 5 of us connected to it. It has a limit of 1GB per day.

One router costs P1,960 but there is a deposit of P2,800, which will be refunded once we return the unit.

Budget allotted: P327 (deposit not included)

 

VII.

POCKET MONEY

After I booked all the neccessities, I have to plan how much I would have to carry with me. Total pocket money was P18,000 (40,000 JPY) converted at Nikko Money Exchange, Malate)

The travel tax was excluded from the P18,000 pocket money. We paid P1,620/person at the airport.

Next, I allotted a daily food allowance, which was 1,750JPY or P780. Was it enough? Yes, it was more than enough for me. I did not starve myself. I actually ate a lot in Japan. Most food in the convenience stores are around 150JPY to 500JPY. And the restaurants we have eaten, we’ve normally pay less than a thousand yen.

Allotted budget: 12,250 JPY (1,500 x 7 days)

Another one I considered was the transportation budget. We took advantage of the 1 day passes because it offers unlimited subway rides. Also, we wanted to experience the bullet train. It was quite expensive, but we made it part of our budget.

Break down:
Tokyo Shuttle + 3 day pass = 2,400 JPY
Bullet train (non-reserved seat) = 5,830 JPY
Kyoto 1 day pass = 1,200 JPY
Estimate for Osaka transportation = 2,000 JPY

Allotted budget: 11,430 JPY

I also considered possible entrance fees at other tourist sites that we will visit, especially in Kyoto. I read that there were some temples that has admission fee. To be safe, I allotted 2,000 JPY.

Of course I also had to set a budget for my souvenirs which was P5,500 or 2,475 JPY.

And the remaining from P18,000 was Contingency funds: 11,845 JPY or P5,330

Total pocket money: 40,000 JPY or P18,000

Note: The allocation of the pocket money didn’t go exactly as planned. Like, there were times I only spent 1500 JPY for food. And we didn’t pay 2,000 JPY for entrance fees. This was my anticipated budget allocation before our trip. The important thing is I did not exceed my limit of 40,000 JPY.

Expense Summary

Visa processing – P450
Airfare – P9873
Accommodation – P4,903
Bus from Tokyo to Osaka – P2,637
Universal Studios – P3,175
Flytpack – P327
Travel tax – P1,620
Pocket Money – P18,000

Total: P40,985

That’s it! Watch out for my next posts. I will share detailed information about the topics above. As well as our daily activities in Japan.

Love,

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5 Suggested OOTD Spots in Taipei

Alright, I am one of the guilty users of #OOTD. Hahaha! I love seeing photos of my outfits and I enjoy posing for my OOTDs  (I even have my own trademark OOTD pose lol). So far, the place where I have the most number of OOTDs is in Taipei. And I would share below the best places to take your OOTDs when in Taipei. (Jeez, I just used the word OOTD five times.)

DISCLAIMER: You will see my face in almost all the photos. So unless you can take it, you can press the back button NOW. :p

Continue reading “5 Suggested OOTD Spots in Taipei”

Travel Guide: 3 days in Taipei

Travel date: July 29 – August 2 (midnight) 2016

Finally! I found the time to share my Taipei itinerary.

Few months back, Taiwan remained to be just another country for me. I didn’t know a lot of people who have visited Taiwan, compared to those who have gone to Japan or Korea. But what convinced us to book a trip to Taiwan? What did we do there? Where did we eat? What are my tips to those who will be visiting Taiwan soon? I will answer everything below. 🙂

Continue reading “Travel Guide: 3 days in Taipei”

Taipei: Itinerary and Expense

taipei itinerary 1taipei-itinerary-2

Few notes:

  • The budget shown above doesn’t include the total amount we loaded in our Easy Card (MRT Pass). We bought the Easy Card in 7-11 and it can be used to purchase food and other stuff. Getting an Easy Card costs 100 NTD, then you can reload it for another 100. In total, I think I have spent 500 NTD for the card and the load.
  • The hours specified above includes the travel time and queuing time (if applicable).
  • Approximately, I have spent more of less 12k for the entire trip (minus the airfare), with the airfare, probably around 15k.

Will post more about our Taipei trip.

Love, Andrea

My Klook Experience

My friends know how fond I am of creating itineraries and researching activities for my trips. Recently, we flew to Hong Kong, and I promised myself that I would do the things I did not do during my first visit. (Back story: My first trip to HK was in 2013, and we availed a packaged tour: HK Disneyland + Shenzhen + jewelry shop and other places I am not interested in).

This time, I wanted to go to The Peak and try the Ngong Ping cable car. Luckily, I found an app where I can book these activities at a discounted price: Klook. I learned about Klook while I was browsing posts in DIY Travel Pilipinas (posted by Mr. Richmond Difuntorum Cruz). I was curious, so I downloaded it and gave it a shot. I was hesitant at first, because I never heard of it before. But then, it turns out to be a really good app and I can’t stop recommending it to people, who just like me, like to customize their itinerary.

Here’s what I booked:

klook-bookings

  1. This is the activity that you booked.
  2. Number of tickets you bought
  3. Total amount of the activity.
  4. Discounted amount because I have a referral code. You can use mine to get a discount for your 1st purchase: ZLI88
  5. The new amount of the activity
  6. This is where you can see the voucher. It will also be sent via email

The usual round trip ticket to the Peak is 88HKD (545Php). But you have to fall in line for about 2 hours. The one I purchased through Klook was a Fast Track, meaning we got to skip the 2 hour queue and went straight to the tram. And that is only for 508.50Php. HOW.AWESOME.IS.THAT?

Overall, I really love my experience with Klook. That’s why I am sharing it to you. I can’t wait for my next travel, just so I can book with them again.

Download the app and see it for your self (this is not a sponsored post, haha!) They currently have vouchers for Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Seoul, Taipei, Bangkok, Phuket, Bali and even Boracay.

Don’t forget to use my referral code: ZLI88 for you to get a discounted price on your first purchase! 🙂

With love,

Andrea

Itinerary: Sagada

MAY 2015

Duration: 2 days , 2 nights

Day 0

11:00PM – Left Manila to Sagada

8:00AM – Side trip to Banaue Rice Terraces and breakfast at Point Valley Inn Restaurant

10:00AM – Arrival in Sagada; Tourist Registration

10:30: Settled in George Guest House

Afternoon: City Tour

•Echo Valley Hanging Coffins
•Sagada Underground River Entrance
•St. Mary’s Church
•Bokong falls
•Valley Rice Fields

7:00PM – dinner at the Yoghurt House

Day 2:

3:00AM – Wake Up

4:00AM – On the Way to Kiltepan

4:30AM – Waiting for the Kiltepan Sunrise

6:00AM – Toploading back to the house

7:00AM – Breakfast at Sagada Brew

9:00AM – 5 hours Spelunking (Caving from Lumiang cave to Sumaguing Cave)

3:00PM – Head back to house to rest

7:00PM – Dinner at  Lemon House

Day 3:

4:00AM – Check out at George Guest House

9:00AM – Breakfast at Good Taste, Baguio City

10:00AM – Left for Manila to celebrate Father’s day with the family.

3:00PM – Arrived in QC

In Transit: Vietnam to Cambodia

When we booked our tickets for our Vietnam – Cambodia trip, we already decided that we were doing a cross-country trip. We booked a ticket from Manila to Ho Chih Minh then Siem Reap to Manila. We had no choice but to do our research on how to get from Ho Chih Minh to Siem Reap. You are probably reading this because you, too, are planning to do a cross-country trip from Vietnam to Cambodia.

It is very easy, actually.

Continue reading “In Transit: Vietnam to Cambodia”

TravelBook.ph: My Go-To Travel Buddy

One crucial factor of creating my travel itinerary is choosing the accommodation. Last December, my family decided to spend the holidays in Baguio. This is something big for me because we never go out during Christmas. My dad always prefers to spend the holidays at home. So when I learned about our first Christmas vacation out of town, being the lakwatsera that I am, I took care of planning the itinerary and booking the accommodation.

Good thing, I stumbled upon TravelBook.ph when I was looking a good yet affordable hotel in Baguio City. After looking at a lot of options, we finally decided to book Albergo Hotel. We made the payment at SM Payment Center, after which we received the hotel voucher. It was a smooth transaction.

My life has changed since then. Whether it is for a staycation in the city or an out of town, I always use TravelBook.ph for booking my accommodation.

Get to know my go-to travel buddy!

Continue reading “TravelBook.ph: My Go-To Travel Buddy”

Travel Diary: Vietnam

I received a lot of questions via email and comments regarding my VietCam trip last year. The Rappler article really helped to spread my article! I think it is now time to write about our trip in detail.

Date: July 24 – July 31 | Group of 3: Me, Krissy and Bea | Budget: P25,000/pax

Continue reading “Travel Diary: Vietnam”

Preparing Your Taiwan Tourist Visa – For Filipinos

And it’s legit, I am flying to Taiwaaaan!

We booked our flight to Taipei last December to fly in July. Since there is a visa for entering Taiwan, there was a risk when we booked our tickets. But I just did my research and prepared the requirements, then prayed that I hopefully pass the application.

I actually am late in processing my visa. My target was early June (You can start processing your visa 3 months prior to your trip). But it’s hard to complete my requirements especially I just transferred to my new work. So, with only 3 weeks before our flight, I went to Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in RCBC Plaza and submitted my requirements. I am so happy because when they checked my documents, they did not ask me anything, so I take it as I submitted all the needed documents. And then after 3 days, I went back to RCBC and ta-da, I got back my passport with this!

Continue reading “Preparing Your Taiwan Tourist Visa – For Filipinos”

A Response to the Comments on my Rappler Article – Budget Itinerary: 6 days in Vietnam, Cambodia for 25,000.

You can read the Rappler article here.

I would like to go through some common points mentioned in the comments of my article:

Point # 1: 25,000 is expensive for a 6-day trip to 2 cities.

The article I shared was the itinerary we (my friends and I) created which suits our preferences. We are NOT backpackers but we don’t want to travel luxuriously as well. We want to travel within our budget, which is 25,000.

Our itinerary can serve as a sample itinerary or a guide to those who want to do DIY itinerary. I am not saying that you do all the activities we did or visit all the places we went to. I broke down all my expenses, so it’s easier for the readers to determine what they can adjust to fit their budget.

So, if you are asking, “Is it possible to travel to Vietnam and Cambodia with less than 25,000?” – the answer is YES.

How?

Continue reading “A Response to the Comments on my Rappler Article – Budget Itinerary: 6 days in Vietnam, Cambodia for 25,000.”

How to be Pretentiously Artsy in Pinto Art Museum

I didn’t know that we have a Museum Month here in the Philippines. But in time for that celebration, I would like to share some photos from my favorite museum: Pinto Art Museum.

I have always enjoyed going to museums. I’ve been to Negros Museum, Metropolitan Museum, National Museum and War Remnants Museum in Vietnam to name some. But Pinto Art Museum is my favorite so far. I first saw it from Tracy Ayson’s blog early this year then it has been all over my feeds since then. So last April, I went to see it for myself. And I was not disappointed.

Here, let me share some of my photos…

Continue reading “How to be Pretentiously Artsy in Pinto Art Museum”

Things to do in Bacolod City

 

Yes, I am bitter over the fact that Masskara Festival just happened there in Bacolod and I was here (in Manila), stuck behind my laptop, finishing my deliverables and strolling through my feeds seeing people enjoying the festival. As much as I would like to be there and celebrate my favorite festival, I cannot do anything but reminisce some good ‘ol memories from the City of Smiles.

I didn’t really know what is in Bacolod until I was lucky enough to be asked by my sister to come with her last October 2013. It was on time for the Masskara festival and after our 1 week stay in the province of Negros, I was more than glad to return anytime soon. So if you find yourself booking a ticket down the South, try to put Bacolod in your to-go list, too.

Here are some of the things you could do to maximize your stay in Bacolod:

Continue reading “Things to do in Bacolod City”

Photo Blog: Flotsam and Jetsam

There are times when you just want to get away from the city and take a break from the hustle and bustle of Manila, but you don’t have time to book tickets or plan your itinerary. Good thing, we have nearby provinces that you can go to by bus and just be spontaneous: no itineraries, no plans. That is what we did exactly on that weekend in La Union.

Me and my friend, Krissy, like artsy stuff. So when we saw Flotsam and Jetsam in our Instagram feeds, we both knew we have to go there. So let me take you to that one weekend getaway to La Union’s Flotsam and Jetsam.

Continue reading “Photo Blog: Flotsam and Jetsam”