Japan Day 1 – Arrival at Kansai International Airport (KIX) and Check-in at Hotel

Despite only a 15 day difference from this post and the last… a lot has happened in that gap of time. I must say that it was something which I didn’t expect to happen so soon. If I was born in a different family, I would never be allowed to go on this trip but thankfully, the family is modern and accepting of the events. After this trip, I need to decide what to do with my future…

I booked my tickets with Cebu Pacific last March 2016 for a trip this March 1, 2017-March 9, 2017.

I left my house at 11:05am via Grab. Actually, the Grab I got was 4 stars (which was rare since I usually get 4.5-5 stars) so I was a bit worried. I mean why would this Grab get a 4, right? My flight time was 3:05pm at Terminal 3. I arrived at the airport on 12:10pm which just makes it an hour travel. Paid via debit card and used a promo code for VISA.

As usual, I paid the travel tax first via debit card priced at 1620php. Lady asked whether I checked in already, I said I’ve already web checked-in (I find it extremely pointless if I checked-in, go to travel tax and then return to the check-in counter again).

During my turn at the check-in counter, I handed the lady my booking itinerary and passport. This is the smoothest check-in I had, no questions asked expect if that was my only baggage. I saw some Departure cards at their counter and got one so I can fill it up before I go to immigration.

I went to have lunch and decided to dine at Tendon Akimitsu (the one together with Ramen Nagi) since I haven’t tried the place. (Pretty ironic that I went to eat Japanese food for a flight going to Japan…)

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EBI TEMPURA SET – 440PHP ( 473PHP with 10% Service charge)

After eating, I went to immigration and waived the departure card to the person asking me if I got a departure card and went to fall in line.

The male immigration officer asked me two questions : “When will you come back?” and “Where do you work?”

I answered March 9, 2017 and something along the lines ‘I’m looking for work but decided to take a vacation first’.

After that he was looking to stamp the departure stamp at the first page but was a bit surprised (?) that it’s full so he stamped the next page.

For me, since the Japanese embassy did give me a visa, I don’t see any reason why he shouldn’t let me out for a short vacation.

After that, final X-ray and I waited at my boarding gate. I was pretty much with my phone the whole time so my battery was draining pretty quick. 1 and 30 minutes before boarding I decided to go to National Bookstore (since it is a rare normally priced store) to buy a usb cable (since I saw a SMART and GLOBE charging stations) . My real charger was at my check-in luggage but my phone’s port have charging problems so my purchases weren’t even used.

I decided to stand-by by the gate and wait for boarding.

The plane ride was pretty smooth and I didn’t even expect that they would be giving out 1000 Get go points that day. When I heard the prize, I wanted to get all the vouchers but of course I can’t be greedy.

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First time to have a whole aisle for myself!

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Luckily rode on March 1, 2017 and they were giving away 1000 points. Unfortunately, the points still hasn’t been credited to my account. Hopefully, it’s not false advertisement.

Arrival to Japan was pretty smooth. It was the first time I passed by immigration where they have a lot of specialized machine for pictures and fingerprints. Pretty amazed since even HKIA is not like that.

It’s also the first time where I got questioned by their customs officer. I mean we had a 5 minute talk. It even had a belly inspection. I even thought that she would be inspecting my things so I was going to carry the bag at the table but she was just actually checking the weight. (I know I shouldn’t be surprised since there was a customs form given on the plane).

Since I had an evening arrival and had no idea how to go to my hotel. I went around the arrivals area for a few minutes. There were vending machines for prepaid sim card but I didn’t purchase one since it was expensive and I wasn’t sure if my Xiaomi would work since I read China made phones don’t work with the sim cards.

At NAIA 3, I was looking for ways to get to my hotel and since I wasn’t able to get Klook’s deals for this trip, the easiest and fastest way to go to Shin-Imamiya was HARUKA + ICOCA promo. But it didn’t list where exactly to buy?

I decided to go to where the train is since there was a high probability that the ticket is there.

I also did look at the Kansai Tourist desk in the arrival hall but felt that I didn’t need anything there so I left. They were selling various passes which I didn’t have a lot of time to look at. I also saw Airport bus but I didn’t have enough information about it so I still went with the HARUKA ticket.

After going out the airport, it was so damn COLD. COLD, as in COLD but in a way, comforting. Coming from a tropical country, it’s been a long time since I’ve experience a weather like this so I really wanted to go all out and not wear a jacket but I couldn’t stand it so I opened my luggage and took out my jacket. To be honest, I wasn’t prepared for the weather. The winter wear I brought in Osaka was a jacket which can heat you up in a 22 degree Celsius environment and not in a less than 10 degree Celsius. I also brought a wooled cap which somewhat protected my head from the cold. I loved the icy feeling that was passing thru my face.

I found the ticket vending machine and was amazed with the map on top of it. But I didn’t have the time to look at it since rushing to the hotel and cold weather. Around the same time I saw the HARUKA+ICOCA stall so I decided to line up there. I got the HARUKA roundtrip and ICOCA with a 1500yen balance for 4200yen.

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HARUKA ticket

I went to the train gates and luckily the HARUKA train hasn’t departed yet. It was a smooth ride and the conductor goes around to check if you have a ticket. The only thing I didn’t like at the train was the after smell of smoking. I went down to Tennouji and transferred to Shin-Imamiya.

Following my printed map, a foreigner (I think?), guided me to where my hotel was. I was actually in the correct street but I thought it was at the next.

I arrived around 10:30 pm (UTC +9) and checked-in. Paid 18,500 yen as what’s written in my booking.com itinerary. There were some reminders (paper note was also given) but I didn’t understand the first one and I’m still wondering what’s it about.

After placing my luggage, I decided to head to Family Mart for a quick evening snack. I bought Gyoza and a 2L bottled water.

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Family Mart’s Gyoza- 260 yen

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Bottled Water – 98 yen

And that ends my Day 1.

Japan Visa Preparation

Last year, I booked some almost piso fare Cebu Pacific tickets going to Japan (Well, I missed the piso fare but considering the price, it was still cheap by Philippine-Japan fare standards).

It’s been a long dream of mine but considering that at the time Japan was one of the hardest visas to get and we were not financially capable, I scrapped the idea. It was only last year, as my real graduation gift, did I have the courage to book the tickets. By the way, it was only the base fare so no luggage, meals and etc.

This would be my first time applying for a country with a Visa.

I’m scheduled to leave next month but my requirements were still not complete so it took me until this February to prepare everything (plus I was pretty uncertain whether this trip would push thru).

I applied for the Tourist 1-B without guarantor. The requirements requested by the agency/embassy were:

1) Philippine Passport

(Broken Lamination of the Photo part is not accepted)

(Must have Signature and have at least 2 blank pages)

Probably the easiest requirement to fulfill. I just had my Passport renewed last December 2015 so my passport is pretty new. I went to Hong Kong and Thailand last year so I have some stamps in my passport.

2) Visa Application Form

I actually downloaded the form the agency’s website but was asked to re-do my application because my printer didn’t print out some information. So, the agency has a lot of Visa Application Form and you can just fill up when you get there.

3) Photo 2×2

I had my picture taken when I had to get my mother’s and brother’s picture from the studio, it was 85php for 6 pieces of Japanese VISA accepted photograph.

4) NSO Birth Certificate 

The first one I got was the NSO birth certificate, the convenience of ordering online. The actual cost of the birth certificate was only 140php but the actual cost of everything was 350php. Considering that the courier was Air 21, the real cost should be way lower but it’s not like there are other convenient ways to order the birth certificate online. After paying online, it took me 2-3 days before I got it.

I got a new one since I read somewhere the birth certificate needs to be issued within one year of application.

5) Marriage Contract (if Married)

Not married so I will not be going through this section.

6) Daily Schedule in Japan

I went to look for the template at the agency’s site but I just copied how it looked like and replicated it in a word file since the spacing is small. My schedule is pretty incoherent so I will not be posting it here.

7) BANK Certificate (must be issued within 3 months) 

I went to my main BDO branch where I have an account. I requested for a bank certificate copy and I specifically remembered asking that it should be an official document with their logo. I’m not sure if the one I’ve submitted is correct since there was no format stated. I paid 200php for this because I requested for 2 of my savings account. I got it on the same day.

I’m also a bit worried about this since the bank accounts I’ve showed were newly opened (November 2016) and it’s just February 2017. Anyway, the money inside was moving and it was the accounts with actual money so no choice but to take a risk.

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The template given to me by BDO.

***Additionally, I submitted me and mom’s COL Financial Stock Certificate. It cost me 100php and was opting to get the official delivered one. The delivery charge was 200php and I can’t imagine spending an amount that high for a paper I can print (or for something I’m not sure would help my application).  I submitted this just because I have one and if it would help the visa application then all the best.

I was a worried that the money I submitted wasn’t enough so I included the stock certificate.

8) Income Tax Return Copy (Form 2316 in BIR)

The most stressful requirement out of all.

The Income Tax Return, I really wished I had one to have a better chance of getting a 15 day tourist visa but I really didn’t have one. It was the most limiting factor for me. I still took the chance and read that an letter of explanation would be accepted.

I wrote an Explanation letter (I limited it to one page and handwritten the letter) and wrote the reason why I wasn’t able to produce a ITR.

9) Guarantee Letter – Embassy Format (If Applicable)

Not Applicable.

Additional documents submitted

I also submitted a copy of my e-ticket and my booking confirmation since there wasn’t a note that didn’t allow it.

AGENCY

I chose to submit the requirement to Reli Tours at Lucky Chinatown because it was the nearest Japanese accredited agency from my house. I arrived with no line waiting for me.

There was really not much to talk about since I practically submitted “complete” documents. I just had to rewrite my visa application form because my printer didn’t print out the embassy’s address space and some important notice.

I paid 950php for the visa processing fee and was reminded of some important details. The whole process probably took me 15 minutes.

Crossing my fingers and hoping for the best result.

Why did I choose to risk it?

Simply because the total cost I’ve spent is small compared to buying a regular priced ticket to Japan.

I wasn’t even sure if I could go in the first place because what if I’m employed at that time? Being unemployed is quite disheartening but I’m just accepting it as a okay to go to Japan and take time off. My unemployment really did never give me a peace of mind like how some other people cope with it.

Total Cost:

Roundtrip ticket- 3905.79php

NSO Birth Certificate- 350php

Picture- 85php

BDO Bank Certificate- 200php (100php only but I requested for certificates for 2 bank accounts)

COL Stock Certificate- 100php

A4 paper- 20.75php I went out to buy the A4 early morning. Little did I know that I would have to rewrite my application and they had tons of visa application paper.

Visa Application fee- 950php

TOTAL DAMAGE : 5611.54php

Why was I worried?

I’m a single, unemployed, and a solo female traveler. Big x’s in their realm. I just took the risk. In fact, I wasn’t confident that I can take this trip. On the assumption that I was employed by this time, this time would be only the time when I would be finishing the 6 month probation from the company. But unfortunately or fortunately I was still not employed so I’m able to take this trip. In fact, I have 2 un-matching feelings within me. I do admit that I need to rest and relax and I hope this trip would enable me to.

Big credits to itravelrox for her tremendous help in the Japanese Visa application. Her posts were mainly my guide for the requirements in my application process. I have to thank other bloggers as well who wrote a guide since I probably took some pointers from your posts.