in Travel

How to obtain (short trip) visa to Japan

For me who was born in the 80’s, Japanese pop-culture has become an indispensable part of my life ever since their invasion to my book-shelves and television set. Manga collection kept piling beside my academic books and I found myself sitting in front my television every afternoon eagerly watching Japanese TV superhero series fighting creepy monsters. It’s no wonder that the culture has affected me so much that eventually I want to visit the land of rising sun and experience the atmosphere I have seen through various channels.

Having been visiting Japan for a couple of times, my friends started to ask me on how apply for visa to Japanese Embassy and obtain them without any hassle. The Japanese Embassy website has actually outlined the procedure for us on what requirements we have to submit before asking visa to them, but it seems that some details are still missing in the list that left us wondering whether we’ll be granted visa by them or not. This post is to share with you based on my experience applying visa for short visit to Japan several times and fortunately have never failed.

I think this is the first sensible steps to do, since the website has given most of the information that you need in details. There are different requirements for visa application based on your purpose visiting Japan, how long is your duration there, and where you will be staying. The one that I’m sharing here is short visit to Japan using own fund. Be sure to download and fill-in the forms as explained in the example included.

  • What if I already booked my tickets only to end up being rejected by Japanese Embassy for my visa?

It’s true that when applying for visa to Japan, the embassy requires you to attach  your return tickets (and other requirements as well), which means you have to book them before applying for visa. What I can say is generally Japanese Embassy does not strictly filter the visa applicants as other western countries do. I once met with Japanese Consulate staff (he is native Japanese) during some Japanese culture festival here in my town. He told me as long as you don’t have criminal records or shady backgrounds, you’re almost certain to get your visa approved.

  • Where should I stay there?

There are a lot of alternatives to stay in Japan if you don’t have any relatives or colleagues there to let you crash in their cribs during your visit. Google-sensei is my first savior when searching for a place to sleep during my trip. Hotels in Japan are generally costlier than here in Indonesia, but if you search for online hotel booking agents like or, you may find hotels bargain price that they even don’t publish in their official website! I stayed in hotels in downtown big cities like Osaka and Tokyo for just only about IDR 600,000 per night. If you split the expense with your traveling companions, you’ll only have to pay less!

  • How detailed should I write my itinerary?

You don’t have to put much detail in your travel itinerary. Mentioning what city or district you’ll be for the day and where you’ll be staying is already sufficient. Just make sure that your itinerary matches with the tickets and hotel bookings you have made before.

  • The visa application requires me to submit a copy of my bank account for the last three months. How much should be in there?

This is another requirement that they don’t explicitly mention the threshold for us. Speaking from my experience, having my bank account balance just slightly over IDR 10 mio was already enough for them to approve my visa. If you don’t have much saving, don’t lose heart! Just be a bit stingy and save as much as you can before submitting your application, as the threshold is quite low (^ ^’).

  • Do I need travel insurance or some sorts of it?

Japanese Embassy does not require you to have travel insurance when you apply for visa. But I was asked to submit sponsor letter from my workplace just to ensure that I’m officially employed here. I think it’s just their way to ensure I won’t be an illegal immigrant there adding their nation’s burden.

  • Is there any deadline to submit your visa?

Again, the website doesn’t specify this. The staff I asked could only suggest that you have to apply your visa before your trip. Based on my experience, submitting your visa 2 months before your trip is a safe way to do, since if they ask for more supporting documents, you still have ample time to prepare them. Submitting a month before your trip is also okay. Just make sure you have completed all the requirements before submitting to them.

  • Anything else?

Oh yeah, make sure that the photo that you submit with your visa application has white background! The website don’t mention this and the staff that I asked via telephone also didn’t inform me. My application got rejected once because my photo background was in my favorite color: blue. They didn’t even care the effort I had taken going to salon before it (-_-‘).

The visa process in Japanese Embassy normally takes about five working days since your application got accepted there. Once a week has passed, I suggest you call the embassy and ask whether your visa is ready or not. Other than that, good luck in applying for one and have a pleasant trip on the land of rising sun (as I certainly did!).


Mt Fuji