Most people who dream of going to Japan are usually inspired by animes and jdramas.
Are you one of those people? I definitely am 😀
I loved animes since I was 10 years old. Card Captor Sakura and Yakitate Japan were my obsessions and those shows planted the idea that ‘hey, I want to visit and live in Japan when I’m older’.
Ten years later, at age 20, I finally did!
So how did a 20-year-old without a ‘traditional job’ and didn’t rely on her parents for okane (money) lived in Japan for a week?
Find out as you read the 7 things I did to prepare for my stay in Japan!
1. Just buy a ticket
I’ve been dreaming of visiting Japan since I was 10. But! I never really acted on that dream. Not until I bought sale tickets from CebuPacific. The round trip ticket cost me P5,000 (around $100 USD) and let’s just say having the ticket in my hands pushed me to really save, plan the itinerary, and process my visa.
Where did I get the money since I’m 20 years old and don’t have a ‘traditional job’, you ask? I got it from selling my digital marketing services to entrepreneurs and businesses ONLINE. Yes, online 😉 If you want to know more about this, enroll in my mentor’s FREE Monday webinars. He interviews Filipinos who, like me, have a virtual career, and teaches you how to have your own virtual career, too.
2. Fly to a non-visa country first
When I was canvassing agencies to help process my Japan visa, one agency told me that there’s a high-chance my visa will be rejected because:
- I’m young and single
- I’ve never travelled outside the country before
- The nature of my work. (See, working online or also called having a virtual career isn’t highly recognized in the Philippines yet.)
The agency suggested that I should travel to a non-visa country first. So that same month, I flew to Singapore.
3. Start saving at least 20% of your income
As a 20-year-old, it was important to show that I had the financial capacity to fund my trip. The embassy didn’t have an exact amount required but most bloggers aimed for 100K, so I did too.
I had 6 months to save for the trip so I began saving at least 20% of my income and kept it in a separate bank account. If you feel your income is not enough to fund your trip, subscribe to my blog and I’ll share future posts about how you can earn extra money.
4. Book your hoteru / accommodation
I know, I know, another unconventional advice but I believe this booking helped my visa to be approved.
I booked a traditional Japanese room in Airbnb and it was only an 8-minute walk to the train station. Super cool place and I recommend booking it if you’re planning to stay in Fukuoka, Northern Kyushu.
If you find this move risky, make sure to book an Airbnb or hotel that will give a full refund if you decide to cancel.
5. Finalize your itinerary
Applying for a Japan visa will require you to submit a daily itinerary. Being the OC person that I am, I spent almost 2 weeks creating our 7-day itinerary. Here’s how it looks.
My advice: be as detailed as you can about your whereabouts. You don’t have to follow it on the dot anyway once you’re in Japan.
6. Process your visa
For someone who has a virtual career, this is actually the scariest part!
All the required documents, were pretty easy to prepare, except for the proof of employment. The embassy needs this because it’s proof that you will come back to the Philippines.
Since I work online, I had to create my own ’employment certificate’ complete with the details of my monthly salary and client info. I’ve been working long-term with my clients anyway so it was safe to include them in the certificate 🙂
Once all documents were submitted to Reli Tours in SM Megamall (I paid P950 for the processing), I prayed hard for good news. Five days later, I picked up my passport and yes, my visa was approved!
7. Have fun!
Seriously nothing beats the feeling of making your childhood dream come true. So enjoy it, disconnect from social media while you’re there, and really savor the moment ❤
So, now that I’ve checked off Kyushu, Japan, next on my list is Tokyo, Japan by April 2018. Watch this space as I post my personal preparations for the trip and also more information to help you with your Japan travel!
Got questions about traveling to Japan? Send a message and I’ll create a blog post!