Monthly Archives: March 2015

Working Holiday in Japan – Visa Application Process

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

If you are between the ages of 18 and 30 and are a citizen of one of the following countries, you qualify to apply for a Working Holiday in Japan visa:

* Australia
* New Zealand
* United Kingdom
* Canada
* France
* Denmark
* Germany
* Ireland
* Republic of Korea
* Taiwan
* Hong Kong

This is a special visa that is awarded to people who wish to spend some time vacationing in Japan while working in the process. In order to qualify, your intentions must be focused mainly on taking a vacation, with the option of working being a secondary perk.

If you state that your intention is mainly to work you will be required to apply for a working visa instead. There is also a separate visa for people who intend to go to school in Japan. The Working Holiday program is designed specifically to give vacationers who want to experience the full culture of Japan, the opportunity to work while they are exploring the country.

In order to apply for the program, you must visit your local Embassy of Japan or Consulate-General of Japan to obtain the application forms. You must then attach a 45mm picture of yourself to the completed application and return it along with the rest of your documentation, including:

* Complete resume on A4 paper.
* Outline of activities you have planned for your vacation in Japan.
* Statement of your reasons for applying to the Working Holiday program, on A4 paper.
* Proof that you have a return plane ticket already booked (but not necessarily purchased yet – you should not pay for your flights until AFTER you receive your Visa), and that you have a bank account with sufficient funds to cover travel expenses as well as living expenses during your stay in Japan. This is so you can prove that you can financially pay for all of your traveling, including your expenses while you are in Japan.

You cannot expect to live completely off of the money earned from your temporary working position in Japan. When applying for the Visa, a single traveler needs to demonstrate that they have least the equivalent of $2,000 for basic living/travel expenses, while a married couple will need the equivalent of $3,000 or more (varies depending on your nationality). This must be proven by providing a copy of your bank statement as proof when you submit your application for the visa.

In some cases the visa may be approved or denied right away (though this is extremely rare as long as you have the correct paperwork), while in other cases an interview with a visa officer may be scheduled. This process usually takes up to three weeks, so to be safe, you should apply a month or more before your intended date of departure for the Japan holiday.

While it is generally not necessary at the time of your Visa application, you should definitely have travel insurance or another form of medical coverage that will cover any potential medical expenses incurred during the holiday. This is a great idea just to ensure you are covered in case you get sick or something unexpected happens and you are injured.

There is no requirement that you need to know how to speak Japanese, since your primary purpose for the trip is to enjoy a vacation, although knowing at least a little before departure will make your working experience easier and certainly more rewarding.

Once your visa has been approved and you arrive in Japan, you will have three months to register as a visiting alien. This can be done through the local government offices wherever you are staying.

We hope this information assists you in preparing for, and applying for your Japanese Working Holiday Visa. And above all, we hope you have the time of your life while in Japan!

Japan Travel: 3 Fun Things To Do Anywhere In Japan

If you are planning a trip to Japan, I’m sure most of you will probably visit a famous temple, visit an old castle and perhaps a famous museum or two. However, visiting these places alone will not give you a well rounded look into Japan and its culture. After visiting Japan every year for the past ten years, I’ve come up with a list of things you should check out. It shouldn’t cost much and you may not have to go out of your way to find them. These are common places, places that you would find in your area. The fun part is to compare the differences between the two.

Disclaimer: This article makes comparisons between Japan and the U.S, because I’m from the U.S. However, I think the general idea should apply to everyone from all countries.

1. Convenience stores

There are several different companies, including Circle K, Lawson, Sankus (pronounced sanks) and, of course, 7-Eleven. On the surface, they look like your ordinary convenience store in the U.S. but look at what is offered.

First off is the take-out food. In the U.S., you’ll find sandwiches, hot dogs, burgers and maybe a burrito of some kind. In Japan, you’ll have sandwiches and burgers, but you’ll also have fried noodles, cold noodles, bento lunches (full meal, with chicken or fish as the main course, rice, pickles and veggies), and a variety of desserts like Mont blanc, custard pudding or black sesame seed pudding (yum).

If you want a pastry, you are not limited to donuts or Danishes, you also got curry filled buns, buns with fried noodles baked in, ham and cheese buns and the list goes on and on.

You won’t find slurpees or self-serve drinks or even a hot pot of coffee. Everything is in a can, even hot coffee.

The surprising thing is that most of the food I’ve tried is pretty good even better than some of the restaurants I’ve dined.

2. Family Restaurant
The family restaurant is not fine dining but not fast food either; a place where the whole family can go. The U.S. equivalent would be Denny’s or Chili’s. In Japan, like the U.S., there are several chains including Denny’s and Coco’s (which claims to be a California restaurant.)

Like the U.S. counterparts, the food isn’t great but you know what to expect. The food ranges from hamburger steak to udon noodles to club sandwiches. All the restaurants give you the option to turn a standard plate into a meal set of some kind for an extra two hundred or three hundred. Usually it includes a drink, soup or salad and a plate (not a bowl) of rice.

The kid’s meals are great fun. They offer small portions, of course, but it comes with a kiddy plate, a bib with a popular children’s anime character and sometimes a toy. Like the U.S., the restaurants also provide crayons and coloring paper to keep the children preoccupied until the food comes.

3. Starbucks, McDonald’s or other chains that you have at home
One of the fun things to do in Japan is to visit a store or restaurant that you have in your home country. Since I’m from the U.S., I visited Starbucks, McDonald’s and even Pizza Hut. The fun is comparing how they differ from what you are used to.

For example, McDonald’s Japan used to (or still may serve) hot dogs for breakfast. I don’t know why hot dogs, but there it is. They also have teriyaki burgers, which you won’t find in the U.S. except Hawaii. And McDonald’s serves up one of my favorite burgers, the super Tsukimi Burger (translation: Moon Burger). It has two beef patties, cheese, poached egg and bacon. mmmm good.

Another example is Starbucks. First thing you’ll notice is the service. Like most places in Japan, the baristas are very polite, mechanical and very proper. Quite different from the Starbucks I’ve been to in the U.S., where they don’t smile, talk amongst themselves, usually about some personal problem and follows Bohemian chic. Another difference is the sizes are smaller. The Grande in the U.S. is the large in Japan, the Tall is the medium and the small doesn’t exist in the U.S. but they all cost about the same.

That’s just three of the many fun things you can do in Japan. Other places you could check out would be the neighborhood supermarket, hardware store or even a Japanese school. The key is go in with an open mind and appreciate how we as world are different and yet so much alike. While temples and Mount Fuji are nice, you will get more by checking out the everyday things.

5 Interesting Places In Japan To Visit On A Short Trip

So, you are heading to Japan for a visit. Excellent! Whether this is your first trip to Japan or you have been there before, it is likely that there is much you have not seen of this great and (to many Westerners) mysterious country.

A trip that will only last a day or two – such when you are just passing through Japan on your way to another destination – will probably not allow you enough time to see very much. In that case, do your best to make a couple of day trips near the place you are staying.

However, if you plan to be in Japan for at least 5-10 days and will have time on your hands, you are probably trying to figure out how to best spend your short time there. Fortunately, there are many great things to see in Japan. While your guidebook is no doubt packed with hundreds of things to see and do, you obviously will not be able to see even a fraction of them on such a short trip. Still, you will want to make the best of your time in Japan.

If you are going to Japan for a short trip, you are likely interested in narrowing your choices down to the most interesting places to visit. Here are 5 such places to consider visiting during your trip:

1. Visit Kyoto and Nara:

The majority of visitors to Japan fly into and out of Narita Airport in Eastern Japan, which is essentially Tokyo and its surrounding cities. However, many tourists also fly into and out of Osaka, the third-largest city in Japan. While Osaka is an impressive place to see in and of itself, if you only have a few days in the area, it is recommended that you visit the nearby cities of Kyoto and Nara.

Both Kyoto and Nara are treasures of Japan’s past full of temples, shrines and other traditional structures. When you visit certain special areas in both of these cities, you will be transported back through time to old Japan. Both cities are definitely worth a day trip from Osaka.

2. See Mt. Fuji:

You have probably heard of Mt. Fuji, but did you know that it is the highest mountain in Japan at 3,776 meters (12,388 ft.)? Its symmetrical and conical shape is symbolic of Japan and can be seen from Tokyo (just to the East) on a clear day. If you are visiting Mt. Fuji from Eastern Japan (the Tokyo area), you can visit this famous mountain by train, bus, car or taxi. You can take a bus to the 5th station starting on July 1 through August 27. About 200,000 people climb this mountain each year.

3. Check out Kamakura:

Kamakura is a former de facto capital of Japan Today it is a city of about 175,000 people situated not far from Tokyo. It features a beach and several very old historical Buddhist temples that are very much worth visiting.

4. Go see Yokohama Bay:

The city of Yokohama is the second largest city in Japan. It lies along Tokyo bay, just south of Tokyo. The bay surrounding this prominent Japanese port city is a lot of fun to explore. Also, be sure to check out the very large Chinatown area and Yokohama Marine Tower, the tallest inland lighthouse in the world.

5. Ride the shinkansen or bullet train:

Your visit to Japan would not be complete without a ride on the bullet train, or shinkansen. There are actually several different train routes around the country. One of the most popular is the Tokaido shinkansen, which connects the cities of Tokyo and Osaka.