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How to Apply for a Japan Visa [for Filipinos with no ITR and no guarantor]


Japan, you were once a dream destination, but in a few months’ time, that dream will turn to reality.

Japan has always been on top my destination list. Sushi, Ramen, tempura, food and more food are my main reasons to go. Who doesn’t love Japanese food? If there is such a person, you are missing a lot!

But before I get too excited, there’s still one hurdle that I need to overcome — obtaining a visa.

It is a well-known fact that Philippine passport holders are required to obtain a Japan visa. But don’t be intimidated, the application process is easy.

Before I get into the step-by-step guide, please note the following:

  • Japan is not my first out of the country trip
  • I have been to Korea and other countries that require a visa
  • I don’t know anyone who is living or working in Japan, thus, no guarantor to help with my application
  • I only started working again in March 2017 so I don’t have an ITR yet

It’s important to note all these because the requirements I prepared were dependent on these factors.

Moving on, here’s how I applied for a Japan visa:

1. Identify the type of visa you are applying for.

In my case, I applied for a tourist visa. If you have other reasons for your visit to Japan, I suggest you visit Embassy of Japan in the Philippines website for more information.

2. Prepare the necessary documents
  • Application form, which can be downloaded here.
  • Passport with more than 6 months validity
  • NSO Birth Certificate that has been issued within a year. [Note: you can easily apply for a birth certificate online and have it delivered to your home or office within 3 days. To know more, click here.]
  • Bank certificate that has been issued within 3 months.
  • 4.5cm x 4.5cm photo with white background, and with your name and birth date written at the back [Note: DO NOT STAPLE]
  • ITR [in my case, I submitted a letter of explanation for not having an ITR]
  • Certificate of Employment [optional]
  • Daily schedule in Japan


Letter of explanation for not having an ITR

I didn’t have an ITR because I just started working again last March 2017 and since ITR is one of the major requirements, I have to look for other ways. I’ve read stories about submitting a letter of explanation and I did just the same. However, submitting a letter of explanation does not guarantee visa approval.

Here’s a sample for your reference:


Embassy of Japan in the Republic of the Philippines

2627, Roxas Blvd,

Pasay, 1300 Metro Manila

Dear Sir / Madam:

1st paragraph: I am personally writing this letter to explain why I failed to present an Income Tax Return (ITR) as part of my requirements to obtain a Tourist Visa to Japan.

2nd paragraph: explain why you don’t have an ITR.

3rd paragraph: brief background of your travel experiences in other countries

4th paragraph: explain why you want to visit Japan [Japan has always been on top of my list mainly because of the food and awesome theme parks. I plan to stay 14 days maximum (going around Tokyo and Osaka) to give me enough time to experience and embrace the local culture.]

5th paragraph: closing statement

Best regards,


Keep this letter of explanation in just under one page.

Daily schedule in Japan

Schedule of Stay (14-day Itinerary in Japan)
The schedules of stay in Japan of the visa applicant are as follows:
Day 13-26-2018Arrival in Tokyo+81 3-3847-8111Sakura Hostel Asakusa
2-24-2 Asakusa, Taito-Ku, Tokyo, Japan
Day 23-27-2018Explore Tokyo – electrical city of Akihabara and the famous Sensoji Temple in Asakusasame as abovesame as above
Itsukushima Shrine with the Floating Great Torii
same as abovesame as above
Day 43-29-2018Bound for Osaka
Stop in Bunny Island
+ 81 6-6167-6580Hostel Bushi
1-3-6 Gamou, Jyoto-ku, Osaka city, Osaka
Day 53-30-2018Explore Osaka
Dotonbori with the famous Glico light commercial and the huge Crab of the Kani Doraku restaurant.
– Namba
– Shinsekai and the Tsūtenkaku tower
– Osaka Castle
same as abovesame as above
Day 63-31-2018DAY TRIP TO HIMEJIsame as abovesame as above
Day 74-1-2018Bound for Kyoto+81 7-5342-2444Backpackers Hostel K’s House Kyoto
418 Nayachou, Shichijo-agaru, Dotemachi-dori, Shimogyo-ku
Day 84-2-2018Explore Kyoto
– Fushimi Inari Shrine with the hike to the top and back under the big red torii gates
– Kiyomizu-dera temple
same as abovesame as above
Day 94-3-2018– Arashiyama with the Bamboo Forest and the Togetsukyo Bridge
– Golden Temple Kinkakuji and Silver Pavilion Ginkakuji
same as abovesame as above
Day 104-4-2018– Nijo Castle: an UNESCO flatland castle site
– Gion District: it is the geisha district where you will find geisha houses, tea houses and all kinds of sweets to buy. If you want to see a live geisha perform, you can check out the Gion Corner for daily performances.
same as abovesame as above
Day 114-5-2018DAY TRIP TO NARAsame as abovesame as above
Day 124-6-2018KANAZAWA
– Higashi Chaya Gai
– the Nagamachi samurai district with the Nomura family famous samurai house and garden.
– the ninja temple Myoryuji
– the Sakurabashi pink bridge
– the Kanazawa Castle and Kenrokuen landscape garden
same as abovesame as above
Day 134-7-2018Shibu Onsen and Snow Monkeyssame as abovesame as above
Day 144-8-2018Sendai / Back to Tokyo+81 3-3847-8111Sakura Hostel Asakusa
2-24-2 Asakusa, Taito-Ku, Tokyo, Japan
Day 154-9-2018Flight back to Manilasame as abovesame as above

Note: the addresses and contact info stated in the schedule are addresses of hotels where I would be staying in case my trip to Japan pushes through

3. Submit your application form and requirements to an accredited travel agency

Once you have completed all the documents, proceed to an accredited travel agency for processing. In my case, I went to Reli Tours in SM Megamall as it was the one closest to me.

Here’s a complete list of accredited agencies, with their corresponding processing fees:

When I arrived at Reli Tours, someone checked my application form to see if it was completely filled out. After which, I was given a number and waited until my number was called.

Once my number was called, the girl on the counter asked the purpose of my visit and if it’s my first time to go to Japan, then asked for the documents needed. She, then, carefully reviewed all my documents, especially my letter of explanation for not having an ITR. And since I have that letter, she also asked for my COE. Normally, an ITR would have sufficed but since I don’t have one, a COE was also necessary.

She also checked my daily schedule. She was a bit surprised that I made a 15-day schedule because only 15 days are given to first-timers, and I intended to stay for that long. It concerned me a bit as it might affect my application.

After reviewing, I was given a piece of paper and proceeded with the payment. This piece of paper, together with the receipt, will be used to claim your passport. DO NOT LOSE THIS PAPER.

Note: Reli Tours have a cutoff period for accepting applications. They accept applications from 10am until 6pm but if you want to be included in the pile of next day’s submission, you have to be at Reli Tours before 3pm.

In my case, for instance, I got to Reli Tours at around 4pm on a Wednesday. That means my passport will be submitted to Japan embassy on Friday and not the next day (Thursday) because I missed the cutoff period. But if I were able to pass my application before 3pm, then my application will be submitted to Japan embassy the next day.

4. Pay the processing fee. 

Processing fee costs Php 950.00.  After paying, I will just have to wait for their text or call once my passport is ready for pickup.

Note: If your Japan visa is denied, processing fee is non-refundable.

7. Play the waiting game.

I was advised that processing can take 7-10 working days. You start counting once it has been submitted to Japan embassy. In my case, my application was submitted on a Friday (Jan 19), so the 7th working day would fall on the 29th. If you haven’t received any call or text from the agency within those 7 days, it is best to follow up with the agency.

I thought it was a long wait considering Korean visa only takes 5 working days. But to my surprise, I got a text from Reli Tours just last Monday (Jan. 22) informing me that my passport is ready for pickup. It only took a day to process my visa. That was fast!

However, the message I received didn’t include the information of whether my visa was approved or denied. I will only know once I got to the agency.

8. Pick up your passport from the agency.

I went back to Reli Tours in the morning, gave that piece of paper to claim my passport, and waited for them to call my name.

I waited for 7 mins. I already detached myself from the outcome because I didn’t want to be disappointed in case my visa got denied.

My name was called, I was asked to sign the claiming sheet.

Lo and behold, my visa application was approved. End of story.


Important things to note:

  • Visa application has to go through an accredited travel agency. You cannot go directly to Japan embassy.
  • No one knows how much money you should have in your bank certificate to guarantee visa approval. In my case, I have more than a Php 100,000.00.
  • Print everything in A4 paper.
  • Your visa has a 3-month validity, which means you have 3 months to enter Japan before it expires.
  • If you already have a date in mind, apply for a visa not earlier than 3 months from your intended date of departure.
  • In my experience, those who will apply for Japan visa for the first time will be given a single entry visa and good for 15 days. You can request for a multiple entry visa but it is subject for approval. Reli tours have that request form just in case you are interested.
  • You don’t have to book your flight and hotel prior to visa application. You just need a flight reference number and hotel address and contact info for the application form.
  • If your visa got denied, you can re-apply after 6 months.

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