I will not make my usual Wikipedia introduction of this country coz i bet you already knew something about this place. And yeah, i know it’s boring to read those “natgeo styled intros!” 😂
Anyway, Japan is one of the hardest itineraries i’ve ever made. Lots of interesting places to visit, each has its own character and “damn” this country has the craziest transport system in the entire planet. 😂
So how did i manage to put down the key points for first timer like me? The answer is research and yes, PLANNING! multiple times! Hahaha
I’ve been eyeing this place for quite a long time. Been hesitant for a while since its reputation for being notoriously expensive hid me from pushing through. See i’m not as rich as other people thought i am (probably because of my travel history). But nahhh, i’m not! I just believe that life is meant to explore and one just need to balance everything. Don’t go if your not yet ready! Because in this country, you need to be quite ready, both financially and intellectually (research-wise).
Moving forward… your first step is to obtain your japanese visa. I will list down all the requirements and the procedures below:
How to apply for Japan Visa (for Filipinos)
Requirements are listed here: Japan Consular Services PH
For tourism purposes: Japan Visa Tourist
After gathering all the requirements you need to place your application thru an accredited Japan Agencies:
査証代理申請機関一覧 - List of accredited agencies
A. For ANY visa application
COMPANY NAME 会社名
PHONE # 電話
Ground Floor – Receiving
4th Floor- Releasing
Dusit Thani Manila Hotel,
Ayala Center,1223 Makati City
DISCOVERY TOUR INC
Unit301G/Floor Sagittarius Building,H.V.Dela Costa Street,
Salcedo Village,Makati City.
Door No.203-A1 2nd Flr.Northgate Center,
Don Manuel Gotianuy Complex, Gov.Cuenco Ave.,
Banilad City, Cebu ( Beside UC-Banilad Campus)
Door 109 G/F Court View Inn Bldg.
Quimpo Blvd. Cor. Sandawa Road,
Davao City （ Beside Ice Giants）
RAJAH TRAVEL CORPORATION
3/F 331 Building, 331 Senator Gil Puyat Ave., Makati City
Ground Flr., GLC Bldg.,
A. Mabini cor. T.M. Kalaw St. Ermita, Manila
0632-523-8801 to 07
RELI TOURS & TRAVEL AGENCY
Dusit Thani Hotel
3rd Floor, Dusit Thani Hotel,
Ayala Center,Makati City
SM Mall of Asia
South Park 123,
SM Mall of Asia, Bay City, Pasay City
5th Floor, Bridge way, SM MEGAMALL,
SM MEGAMALL,EDSA, Mandaluyong City
02-637-4694 to 96
0089-A, Ground Floor, SM SOUTHMALL
Almanza Dos, Las Pinas City
02-800-4948 to 50
Lucky China Town Mall Branch
FS414, 4th Floor, Lucky China Town Mall,
Calle Felipe 2 Corner Lachambre Street, Brgy 293,
Zone 028, Binondo, Manila City
ATTIC TOURS PHILS.,INC
Unit 202 Coko Bldg.1,Patio Madrigal Compound,
2550 Roxas Blvd.,Pasay City 1302
02-556-6301 to 6305
Hotel Jen Branch
Ground Floor,Hotel Jen Manila,
3001 Roxas Blvd.,PsayCity 1305
SM CITY NORTH EDSA Branch
G/F The Block, SM CITY NORTH EDSA,
SM CITY NORTH EDSA Complex, Quezon City
Cebu Waterfront Airport Hotel Branch
Lobby,Waterfront Airport Hotel 1 Airport Road,
Lapu-lapu City,Mactan Island,Cebu
Cebu Shangri-la’s Mactan Resort & Spa Branch
Lobby, Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa,
Punta Engano Road, Lapu-lapu CEBU
FRIENDSHIP TOURS AND RESORTS CORPORATION
3rd. Fllr., Dusit Thani Manila,
Ayala Center, Makati City
Unit 2-508, 5th Floor, OITC 2 Building, Oakridge Business Park, A.S. Fortune Street, Banilad, Mandaue City, Cebu
B. For application WITHOUT documents written in Japanese
COMPANY NAME 会社名
PHONE # 電話
PAN PACIFIC TRAVEL CORPORATION
353 E.T. Yuchengco St., Binondo, Manila
Space A, Ground Flr. & 2nd. Flr., Pacific Pace Apartelle suite,
539 Arquiza St., Ermita, Manila
02-521-3141 to 46
LG01, Herrera Tower Condo, 98 V.A. Rufino St. (Herrera St.) cor. Valero St., Salcedo Vil., Makati City
02-810-8551 to 56
Diplomat Hotel, 90 F. Ramos St. Cebu City
We lodged our application thru Reli Tours in SM Megamall and got our visas 3-4 days after! 👍🏻
1. Make sure you accomplished all the requirements before proceeding to the agency.
2. Your photos must be correct in size, clear and studio shot. They will not accept printed selfie photos. 😝
3. For first time applicants, your birth certificate and marriage certificate must be valid within 1 year.
4. Applications, letters (guarantee, sample itinerary etc) are downloadable at Japan website, pls dont make your own.
5. Bank Certificate/s, Employment certificate must be recent. There’s no definite amount stated in the embassy website, but make sure your money is enough to pull you in your entire journey.
6. For people without an ITR, do not be discourage, all you need to do is to write a letter of explanation and submit that together with your other requirements.
7. You dont need to book for flight tickets tho’ you need to input your prospective accomodation in your itinerary. So its better to book a reservation with free cancellation. I did this thru AGODA with their booked now pay later / free cancellation promo.
*If you have questions, feel free to contact the agencies or me (for simple questions! Hahaha)
Getting Around Japan
There’s a lot of transportation mode to Japan. Taxi, buses, ferries but the most famous is via Train.
The train system here is crazy and literally extensive! It can be compare to a girl’s brain waves! 😂
It’s kinda difficult to understand it at first, every now and then you feel lost even if you packed yourself with intensive researches. But once you get the beat, you will definitely sway with its flow.
To get you started, you must understand that Japan’s train system is primarily run by the Japan Railways or simply JR and dozens of private company that manages the subway or Metro line, etc.
Types of Train
Shinkansen – This is the famous Japan bullet train. Stops at MAIN stations
Local Train – Stops at every station.
Rapid – Skips some stations.
Express – Skips a lot more stations.
Limited Express – Stops at major stations.
So how would you know if you’re riding the correct train? The answer is SIGNS, signs, and more SIGNS! They’re everywhere, written in both Japanese and English.
Looking at Japan Railway Map might be confusing, mind bloggling and exhausting but if you prepare your itinerary well, everything will run according to plan.
How to ride a train in Japan?
1. Know the place and the train lines. The train lines are color coded. In some instances you might combine JR lines and subway lines. That’s why having a pre-made itinerary is important. But don’t rely on the color alone coz as you see Japan train lines colors are also confusing. You might mix up the red, the bright red, and the not so red color! 😂
2. Get your tickets at the ticket booth located outside the boarding gate. It has english menu so don’t worry. Shinkansen and the regular trains have separate gates and have separate ticket vendo machines.
Tokyo Japan Rail (JR) Train Map
Tokyo Metro Subway Map
Osaka Japan Rail (JR) Train Map
Osaka Subway Map
How to get Tickets using Vendo Machine?
a. Check your destination fare by looking at the map located above the vending machine, your departure station is usually bolder and bigger than other stations. Once you located your destination in the map, there’s a corresponding amount located beside each station. Remember the amount because that will be your fare!
b. Insert your money at the counter, select the number of tickets (located at the left side of the machine). If your desire destination shows up, select it tho’ most of the time it will only show the fare amount. If that’s the case then choose the fare amount that you saw in the map.
c. Get your tickets and your change if there’s any.
3. Once you have your ticket, you can now go to the gate. Insert your ticket at the ticket slot, if you have 2 or more tickets, you can place them altogether. Do note that entering is per person only.
4. So you’re already inside, what now? Inside the station are numerous kiosks, food stalls, restaurants, shops, etc. And soooo many Tracks! To know what track to take. Simply locate your arrival station at the map posted at the pillars, do take note of the train line color. Then look at the monitor to see what track to take. Usually the last station is what posted in the monitor but not all the time. So be vigilant. If that’s the case, all you need is to locate that station, whether its on the same way as your destination or the opposite.
5. Once you get your track number, all you need is to follow the signs. The schedule of their trains is efficient so you need to synchronise your time, to avoid missing your train.
6. Like what i’ve mentioned earlier they have several types of train, so to avoid confusion or missing your stop, just stick to the local trains.
Alternative to Ticket Vending Machine
Japan train lines offers different types of passes depending on your itinerary. JR passes often offer a tremendous amount of savings for tourist. That’s why preparing your itinerary and estimating your train cost will give you a rough idea if you can save more by getting these passes.
You have an option to get the JR Pass (nationwide) and the Regional JR Pass. The nationwide JR Pass is available in 7, 14, 21 days and can only be bought outside Japan. This pass offers an unlimited ride to shinkansen (except for Nozomi, Mizuho, Hayabusa), All trains, buses, ferries as long as they are operated by JR.
Subway and Metro are not included in the pass, you must purchase an individual ticket or get a Suica or Pasmo card if travelling to Tokyo or Icoca card if travelling to Kansai Region.
The regional pass is of course by prefecture, so if you’re travelling in one prefecture only, then you must choose their corresponding passes.
You may visit JAPAN RAIL PASS for more infos.
Now that you’re all set, its time to get lost! 😂
Part 2 is coming… Stay tune for my crazy 9 Days Japan Itinerary. I covered Osaka, Kyoto, Niigata, Yamanashi and Tokyo. 😊