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HOW TO APPLY FOR A JAPAN VISA FROM MANILA

After sharing my experience on how I obtained my Japan Visa from Singapore, I realized that most of my readers are from Manila, so I am sharing as well how my husband applied for his visa in Manila.


Unlike in Singapore, applying visa from the Japan Embassy in the Philippines must be coursed through a travel agency. My husband picked Voyager Travel and Tours Inc to process his visa application, since they also processed his visa the last time he went there.

Here are the requirements for employees applying for a Japan tourist visa, that my husband prepared and submitted:

  • Original Passport
  • Visa Application Form (http://www.ph.emb-japan.go.jp/files/000163096.pdf)
  • Two pieces. 2”x 2” picture with white background
  • Birth Certificate - Original NSO copy (latest)
  • Marriage Contract - Original NSO copy (if applicable)
  • Daily schedule in Japan (this was provided by the travel agency)
  • Original Bank Certificate
  • Photocopy of Income Tax Return (BIR Form 2316)
  • Original Employment Certificate
  • Payment of PhP1800 for visa processing to the travel agency

It took only five days for my husband’s visa to be processed, and the embassy was kind enough to grant him one good for multiple entry within five years.

HOW TO APPLY FOR A JAPAN VISA FROM SINGAPORE

Having a Filipino passport requires me to apply for a visa before I can set foot in the land of the rising sun. If you are like me, who is residing and working in Singapore then the visa must be applied for here. 

The good news is that acquiring a Japanese visa here is easier compared to Manila.

Visa application is available Mondays to Fridays 8:30am to 12pm, while visa collection is at 1:30pm to 4pm.

There is no reservation needed for the visa application, but it’s better to arrive at the embassy early in the morning so that you can finish early, too. 

I arrived at the embassy around eight in the morning. The guards will only allow people to enter the embassy at exactly 8:30am, so we had to queue outside the embassy and I was fourth in line.

When it was my turn to face the consul, she just checked my documents and gave me a slip with the collection date of my passport and visa. Visa fee is free for Filipinos so no payment needed.

After four working days, I was able to collect my passport and my approved visa. 

It was a happy day indeed.

Here are the documents that I prepared prior to my trip to the embassy:

  • Valid passport with 2 blank pages
  • Visa application form (http://www.sg.emb-japan.go.jp/apply-form-2Apr2013.pdf)
    • You can download the form from the Japan embassy website. Fill it out, print and sign it. 
    • Paste your colored photo following the format from the embassy.
  • Recent color photo taken within 6 months (Original)
    • I had my 2” x 2” photo taken at Fujifilm at the mall near us. 
  • Certificate of Employment 
    • Get this from your HR following the sample format from the embassy.
  • Bank Statement
    • I just printed out my latest eStatement from DBS. Make sure your account name and balance are on the same page. 
    • They say that there is no minimum maintaining balance, and the consul just needs to see that your salary is being credited in that account. To be on the safe side, it is recommended that you have at least SGD3000 to cover your expenses in Japan.
  • Flight booking
    • Since I will be coming from Manila before heading to Japan, aside from my Manila-Tokyo-Manila ticket, I needed to provide my Singapore-Manila-Singapore booking as well.
  • Identity card issued by Singapore government (Photocopy)
    • Photocopy of my employment pass (front and back)
That’s it! Just make sure that you have completed all requirements and arranged them accordingly, and you are good to go. 

Good luck on your application! 

Embassy of Japan in Singapore
16 Nassim Road, 258390
Tel (+65) 6235-8855
Fax (+65) 6733-5612
Email: ryoji@sn.mofa.go.jp

TRAVEL DIARY: MINATO MIRAI, YOKOHAMA

We were initially planning to visit Tokyo Disney Sea or Tokyo Disneyland, but since it was too cold and I did not want to queue for rides, we looked for alternatives to do on our last full day in Japan, which happened to be my husband’s birthday.

My friend suggested we visit Minato Mirai 21, which is situated in Yokohama and a 40-minute train ride from Tokyo. We were glad that we did as we really enjoyed there. It was a different atmosphere compared to Tokyo’s busy streets and we were able to walk and enjoy the sight.

Minato Mirai 21, or simply Minato Mirai, translates to “Port of the Future in the 21st Century”. My guess is that when they started construction in 1983, this was how the Japanese people saw what Japan would look like in the 21st Century.









The funny thing is that for me, it looked very much different from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. It has more of an old-city vibe for me, which I very much liked.

Upon exiting the train station, we walked towards the Cup Noodles Museum, letting you adore the magnificent skyline of Minato Mirai along the way. We also passed by Yokohama Cosmoworld, which has a giant Ferris Wheel. We were not able to ride any attractions though.


CUP NOODLES MUSEUM

Right beside Cosmoworld is the Cup Noodles Museum. Entrance is at 500 yen each, and there is a separate payment if you want to create your own cup noodles. We were not able to make our own cup noodles, as the next available slot was at 4pm which was too late for us. If you want to create your own cup noodles, better to reserve a slot in advance.




We spent an hour or so looking through the display at the Cup Noodles Museum. They also have a theater where they’ll show you the history of cup noodles. 

We learned that the founder, Momofuku Ando, wanted to address the food shortage in post-World War II Japan. He created ramen that could be cooked at home by only adding hot water. It took him a year to finally create the very first instant Chicken Ramen. It was only when he went to America when he noticed that people ate his instant ramen by breaking them, putting them in a cup and eating it with a fork. This gave him the idea to create the very first Cup Noodles - and as they say the rest was history. 

After the tour, we decided to have dinner and it was time to go back to our hotel and pack our things as we will be leaving early the next day to catch our flight.

Minato Mirai is probably my favorite part of our Japan adventure.

Hoping to be back soon to see more of what Japan could offer.


Have you been Minato Mirai? Let me know what you think of this little gem away from Tokyo.

TRAVEL DIARY: TSUKIJI FISH MARKET AND MEIJI SHRINE

Tsukiji Fish Market is the creme de la creme of palengkes (markets). They are known for their early morning seafood auctions, and tourists line up for hours to eat in the famous sushi restaurant there. However, JM and I were not ready to wake up in the wee hours of the morning to eat sushi so we settled for having lunch there instead.

You can easily get lost inside the market as there are a lot of things to see. We settled for a small sushi shop along the alley to have our lunch. We had some salmon, tuna and a platter of mixed sashimi. Everything tasted really good; I may be biased, as I really like eating sashimi.


Tsukiji Fish Market

Tsukiji Fish Market

Tsukiji Fish Market

Tsukiji Fish Market

Tsukiji Fish Market

Tsukiji Fish Market

Tsukiji Fish Market

Tsukiji Fish Market

Tsukiji Fish Market

After lunch, we decided to try our luck again by visiting the Meiji Shrine so we hopped on the train to Harajuku.

Upon reaching the station, we realized that it was already near the entrance of the Meiji Shrine compared to the route that we took on Day 2.

It was a very cold day and it started to snow a little; coming from a tropical country, seeing ice fall from the sky is truly magical.

Meiji Shrine 

Dedicated to the late Emperor Meiji and his wife. It was quite a walk from the entrance to the actual shrine but there will be a lot of photo opportunities for you while walking, one of which is the famous barrels of sake. I tried to search a little and found out that the decoration of barrels (kazaridaru) signifies connection between gods and people in Japan.


There is no entrance fee to get to the shrine and it is open from sunrise to sunset with no closing days.

We spent a few hours looking around the complex and taking in the sights. We left just before dark and went back to Takeshita Street for some shopping.

Meiji Shrine Entrance

Meiji Shrine Entrance

Meiji Shrine Entrance

Meiji Shrine Entrance

Meiji Shrine Sake Barrels

Meiji Shrine Sake Barrels

Meiji Shrine Tokyo

Meiji Shrine Tokyo

Meiji Shrine Tokyo

Meiji Shrine Tokyo

Have you visited Tsukiji Market during the wee hours for the auction? I would love to hear your stories.

TRAVEL DIARY: ASAKUSA AND ODAIBA

During our walks from the hotel to Kamata station, we always pass by the Ota City office which has a huge digital thermometer outside. Day four was the coldest day that we experienced in Tokyo. 

The temperature when we went out in the morning was 2.7 degrees Celsius, dropping to 1.5 degrees Celsius on our way back to the hotel. 

We experienced sleet (rain with snow) while we were in Asakusa and it was raining hard while we were in Odaiba.

Ota City

This did not stop us from pursuing our planned itinerary though. With multiple layers of clothes and jackets, we braved the cold and hopped on the train towards Asakusa.

Tokyo Subway
Train's here

ASAKUSA 

Home of the famous Senso-ji temple, which is a popular Buddhist temple. It is also the oldest temple in Tokyo, built in 645 AD.

Asakusa


Asakusa

In front of the temple are rows of shops selling food and souvenir items.

We got a geisha doll and Japanese art for a reasonable price.


We found another branch of Ichiran ramen on our way to the train station. Since we loved it the first time we tried it in Shinjuku, we queued up in a heartbeat and slurped our hot bowls of ramen on this very cold day.

Ichiran Ramen
A bowl of hot ramen on a very cold day

ODAIBA 

We took the Yurikamome monorail train line from Shimbashi to Daiba. Odaiba is an artificial island connecting to Tokyo via the Rainbow Bridge

Odaiba-Rainbow-Bridge
Rainbow bridge as seen from the monorail
It was still raining when we reached Odaiba, so we were unable to explore the outside area. We headed to the Diver City mall for the famous life-size RX-78-2 Gundam.

Good thing I was able to see the eighteen-meter-tall Gundam before they took it down last March.

Odaiba-Gundam
Me, gundam and my pink payong
RX-78-2 Gundam
RX-78-2 Gundam at night


TOYOTA MEGA WEB

JM, being a car guy ever since, will not miss the opportunity to visit Toyota MegaWeb - dubbed as the car theme park to ‘Look’, ‘Ride’ and ‘Feel’ automobiles. So we braved the rain and walked over to the opposite building. It was funny though that Google Maps pointed us to a long route going to the MegaWeb building when it was just right behind Diver City.

We started the tour at the History Garage before heading down to the Toyota City Showcase. Surprisingly, I did enjoy the tour but my husband delighted in all the cars on display.




Toyota-Megaweb
My husband at one of displayed cars

Toyota-Megaweb-FJ-Cruiser
Feeling the vibes of the FJ Cruiser

Were you able to get your photos taken with famous life-size RX-78-2 Gundam? 

If not, don't fret because a new Gundam is unveiling soon.