I have been so busy with my studies and I have not posted on this blog in quite a while. My comprehensive exam for my Masters Degree is coming up in a little more than two weeks so I have been trying to recall all the stuff that I’ve learned in the past three years. It is not easy to cram them all inside my head so I have been taking it slow. Slower than I had hoped for though!
Also my trip to Japan is right around the corner. Heck, I have not even finished posting about my recent Indochina trip that I took in February to March of this year. Anyway, the day after the last day of exam is my flight to Tokyo. It will be my first time in the country so I have been researching thoroughly on the sites and cities to visit. So far, I have booked all my hotels and accommodations in the cities that I will be visiting. I will be staying for two weeks coming in to Tokyo and making my way down to Miyajima and stopping in 6 other cities and destinations.
- Tokyo – 4 nights
- Fuji Five Lakes – 1 night
- Kyoto – 5 nights
- Himeji – daytrip from Kyoto
- Kobe – daytrip from Kyoto
- Osaka – daytrip from Kyoto
- Miyajima – 2 nights
- Hiroshima – daytrip from Miyajima
It may look undoable but half of the cities on my list are only day trips. And besides, it wouldn’t be the end of the world for me if I couldn’t visit all of them. Also, I have to tone down my expectations regarding the itinerary since my trip coincided with the Golden Week, a series of holidays in Japan when locals get almost a week off of work and school. It was too late when I found out about the long holidays. I had already booked my plane tickets. Anyhoo, it will be fun no matter what!
Before anything else, the most important thing that I needed to acquire for this trip (it’s not money, although that is important too!) is VISA! Yes, Philippine passport holders need a visa prior to arrival in Japan. One month ago, I went to a travel agency in SM Megamall called Reli Tours and submitted my documents for visa processing. Here are the things that I submitted.
- Passport (with at least 6 months validity and 2 blank pages)
- Accomplished Visa Application Form (do not leave any space blank, write N/A)
- Photo ID (2×2)
- Daily Schedule in Japan (does not need to be complicated)
- Latest Income Tax Return
- Original Bank Certificate (within 3 months)
- Original Employment Certificate (with name and contact number of HR)
After 6 days, I received a text from the agency informing me that my passport was ready for pick-up. And voila! My visa was approved for single entry with a duration of 15 days.
The only thing that is left for me to do is to finalize my itinerary and order a Japan Rail Pass. I’ve been studying the train fares and using Fare calculators offered by some Japan websites and Hyperdia and they all show that a 14-day JR pass will pay off for my numerous long train trips. It also doesn’t hurt to be assured of reserved seating since it is the Golden Week! Three more weeks. The countdown is on!!!