Korean Tourist Visa from Tokyo

October 21, 2019

For tourist visas, it is valid 3 months from issuance, so ensure that you apply 3 months at most before your flight.

The consular for visa is right next to Olympic Inn Azabu, Namboku Line, exit 2. Visa applications are accepted from 9am to 11am, reservations are only needed for groups bigger than 20pax). You submit the requirements below, get the claim stub, go back  on the assigned date (2pm to 4pm timeslot), and claim your passport (no fees at all!)

Requirements:

  1. (per Embassy’s website) Passport that is valid for at least 6 months remaining.
  2. (per Embassy’s website) Resident’s card valid for at least 3 months remaining.
  3. (not in website) Application form. It is available at the embassy, or to save time, download and fill it up before coming. Here’s the application form.
  4. (not in website) Passport photo, attach to the application form. There’s a photo machine in the consular, so you can also do it there.

This is valid for everyone who:

  1. Is a resident of Japan
  2. Needs a tourist visa for South Korea

I’m a Filipino and meet those, and I got my visa within 3 business days. 🙂

Japan’s Bus Pass

Japan is not cheap. Generally. But Japan also offers quite a lot of packages – so if you do know where to go, you’ll find plenty of deals.

My current favorite? The bus pass. JPY18,000 for 5 days of travel.

The 5 days need not be consecutive, and they can all be booked online (all cancellable up til before departure I think). That makes it JPY3,600 per day. In one day, you can book up to two buses. (I usually use the bus for a >5 hour bus ride, and nobody wants to spend an entire day in the bus. Hence I usually just book one bus ride per day.)

Now, is it cheap? Depends on the route you wanna take. For example, I took the bus to Hiroshima – normal price  is JPY21,000ish one way. But I just used one day’s slot from my pass. Pretty good deal, right?

How to’s:

  1. Buy the pass online. You have a couple of options on what to buy (links at the end of the site)
  2. You’ll make your account when you buy the pass, and just go to “My Page” at the upper right. You’ll then see the screen below. Just click “BusPass Management”.

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3. Your bus pass will then be on the screen. Select “Search the target routes” and I think it should be pretty straightforward from there. DO NOT ENTER YOUR CREDIT CARD INFORMATION. If you get asked to pay, highly likely that you are booking from a different part of the site, in which case you are not using your bus pass.

4. You will receive an email confirmation. Scroll to the bottom of that message – that Japanese message is what you will show to the bus driver.

Notes:

  • They say this is limited to non-Japanese passport holders, but it’s not like they ever checked. The website is not available in Japanese though, so maybe that is their filter?
  • Willer vs JBL bus pass: The main difference is that JBL covers way more companies and thus more routes and bus types. I definitely think that JBL is better than the Willer pass. However, the Willer pass is cheaper AND valid for 3 months. The JBL is only valid for one.

Links:

For Willer Relax Buses:

http://willerexpress.com/st/3/en/pc/buspass/

For Takayama Lines and to have access to different bus types

http://japanbuslines.com/en/buspass/

 

 

Credit Card in Japan in Less than a Week

A, the dreaded application. Everytime I google they say that for foreigners, credit card applications are painful and usually met with failure. Hence I procrastinated. Plus I had my prepaid card so I figured I should be ok. But since I am encountering some problems lately with a prepaid card, I figured I might as well try.

ANA Mileage. I applied online and got the results within an hour. Guess what – it’s a no.

This Sunday I decided to apply again. To Amazon.co.jp. I received an email in Japanese on Monday that I wasn’t approved. Oh well.

Come Tuesday I received another email saying they’ve linked my credit card to my Amazon account. True enough when I checked amazon I do have a new credit card in my payment method. Oh and that they’re sending my credit card to my house. Eh. Must have read the other email wrong.

So. Profile time (so you can compare).

1. I’ve been in my company 1 year and 14 days as of application. I earn a bit more than the average annual rate based on the articles I’ve read. But those averages are too low based on my friends’ salaries haha.

2. I’ve been in my apartment 1 year and a month.

3. I successfully linked the application to my JP Post Bank account, with about two rent’s worth of cash deposit on it.

4. I did not submit any documents.

And that’s it.

Getting a Schengen Tourist Visa from Tokyo (France)

I applied last August 6, and this afternoon I received my visa with a personal note (in Japanese) saying “Enjoy!”.

So. Time to pass on the experience.

Before applying

  1. Book your appointment online. In my case it was at least two weeks before I see the next open one. You can easily change it, so book it now! Oh, and print that out.
  2. Prepare requirements.
  3. Get your leave approved by the boss! Actually, since you are in Japan, I assume, better get that approval as step 1.
  4. If you are using the letter pack, take note of the tracking number so you can check if the post is on its way.

During the application

  1. See the post right before this one.

After the application

  1. A, the good old waiting game. Keep waiting sweetie.
  2. One week later, you can check the status of your visa (status as in whether it’s done processing, not whether it is approved or not). If it says that there’s no passport being processed with the details you key in, assume it’s still in progress.

The Requirements. 

The most I’ve ever had to prepare. Let’s get to it.

  1. Checklist. Just print it out, and tick what you’ve submitted. As there are items with options, what I did was underline what I prepared to meet that requirement. For example, I didn’t book a tour, just did my itinerary, so I just underlined “program of my visit” in number 8.a) 2.
  2. Visa application form. That’s easy.
  3. Photo. Again, easy.
  4. Passport. Probably the easiest. I submitted a barely stamped one as I got a new passport, so I offered the old one (with the old Schengen visa) They didn’t nope, they’re good with just the new one. Oh, I presented the original AND a copy.
  5. Cash. 60euros in local currency. Ouch.
  6. Resident card. Just provide a copy, and be ready to show the original.
  7. Employment Certificate. (comment if you want mine). Basically it should  have the company header, date and signature (or stamp), with your name, hiring date and monthly salary. In the Philippines we need to be working with our company a year or so (at least that’s what we think), but here I’ve been with my company 10 months and there were no issues. They’re happy to keep just the original copy of this one.
  8. Purpose of stay. Just printed an itinerary (they ask you about it, so be ready), and underlined “other document showing the program of the visit”
  9. Proof of itinerary. I provided a return ticket. Now, here you have the option of getting a tour company to reserve one for you, or paying for it yourself. I decided to take the risk and just book it (and thus have the cheapest one. I got my tickets at around JPY77,000 yen. I’ve been checking lately, and the cheapest one at this point is more than JPY100,000 yen).
  10. Proof of accommodation. I book via booking.com, and make it a point to select no prepayments AND free cancellations.
  11. Money. Get a photocopy of your bank statement (or passbook), and make sure it’s updated. It’s 65 euro per day, multiplied by number of days and exchange rate. I wrote my calculation in this sheet. I think I needed around 80,000 yen. Then since they need 3 months, I also did the computation for them to show when’s the earliest date they need to check. The embassy girl praised me, so I think it worked. Bring your passbook too so they can check it. They’ll return it to you and just keep the photocopies.
  12. Insurance. I paid 15 euros for this. Just google Mawista. Yes, it is a German insurance, but I had no problems with it.
  13. Minors. meh.
  14. Self addressed envelope with an 82 yen stamp. Just buy it when you buy your letter pack.
  15. B. Letter Pack 510. Keep note of the tracking number!

 

And that’s it! Now I’m flying to France soon!

 

 

 

Arashiyama’s Unagi

July 20, 2017

I wanted to eat the famous steak in Arashiyama, but they are closed on Thursdays and guess what day it was? Oh well, I therefore decided to move on and go to the other famous restaurant – the unagi place.

Timeline:

  • 10:40 I was in line. There are more than ten people already in line by the time I got here
  • 10:55 A lady goes out to ask us how many per table
  • 11:12 They allowed us in, and we were immediately seated. Orders are taken as soon as you are ready.
  • 11:25 Unagi was served

I bought the course set, so it was JPY3900. The donburi (unagi on top of rice), medium is JPY2,900. The menu is available online, so you can simply check it out (Unagi Hirokawa). I actually got lost looking for the restaurant, and when I asked people I simply said “unagi”. They already would know what you’re looking for – that’s how famous the place is.

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Here’s the inside of the place.
and here’s the “garden” that serves as your view when eating.