How to Apply For Japan Visa Without an ITR?

Sample Explanation Letter, Tips & More

how to apply for japan visa without itr - osaka castle japan cherry blossom travel
Last updated:

Many Filipinos would love to travel to Japan, but we need to apply for a visa for that to happen. And you’re reading this post because you’re probably a freelancer, newly graduated, newly employed, or unemployed. Whatever your reason is, you don’t have an Income Tax Return (ITR) which is one of the requirements to apply for a Japanese Visa. Luckily for you, I’ve done the whole process and got approved for a Single Entry Visa. I don’t have an ITR, I’m a freelancer, NO GUARANTOR, and it was my very first time traveling out of the country too. So my tips are based on my own experience. Below is my guide on how to apply for Japan Visa without ITR, with a sample explanation letter, and tips.

YOU MAY WANT TO READ: How to Apply For A Korean Visa Without an ITR and COE?

Here are the requirements for the Japan Tourist Visa for first-time applicants:

    • Must be at least 6 months valid before applying and traveling.
    • It must be printed on A4 paper. You can download the form here or ask for a copy from the travel agency.
    • Write or type in ALL CAPS, black ink only, and NO ERASURE.
    • This post by The Poor Traveler has a great guide on how you should fill out your Japan Visa Application Form. You can download the form in his post too.
    • Issued within 1 year, they don’t accept older ones.
    • (OPTIONAL) Form 137 or Baptismal Certificate, if your birth certificate was late registered. If you don’t have either one of these, you need an explanation letter. I heard some people brought a yearbook.
    • Only if you’re married.
    • Should be issued within 1 year.
    • You can request this from your bank.
    • Should be issued within 3 months.
    • If you have a guarantor, you have to submit theirs.
    • It should be a personal bank account. A corporate bank account is not allowed even if you own the business. Same with the guarantor.
    • Tell the studio it’s for a “Japan Visa” because they have a specific size.
    • Show your ears, and don’t smile!
    • Heavily edited photos are not allowed.
    • Write your name & signature on the back.
    • (OPTIONAL) Explanation Letter, if you don’t have an ITR and CoE like me, you need this. I have a sample below. If you’re a freelancer, you can provide the most recent contract with your client.
    • You can submit last year’s ITR if you don’t have the latest one yet. Just provide a letter from your HR or a Certificate of Employment.
    • If you have a guarantor, you have to submit their ITR.
    • This post by The Poor Traveler has examples and a sample template.
    • Should include the name, address, and contact number of the hotel or Airbnb where you’re going to stay.
    • It must be printed on A4 paper.
how to apply for japan visa without itr - dotonbori osaka japan
The busy streets of Dotonbori, are a must-visit especially if you’re a foodie!


If you’re going to use Klook to book your train passes or attraction tickets, use my code “ALYRECOMMEND” to get 5% off in Klook.

FAQ: Should I book plane tickets before applying for a visa?

No, it is not required for you to book your plane tickets before applying for a Japan Visa. But I’m not going to lie, my friends and I booked our roundtrip tickets months before applying for a visa because of a seat sale. It is very RISKY so I don’t really recommend it.

FAQ: Do I need a travel agency to apply for a visa?

Yes, you do. We submitted our application to Reli Travel & Tours in their SM Southmall Branch. Here’s a complete list of accredited travel agencies by the Japanese Embassy.

FAQ: How much money should I show in my bank certificate?

The rule is, that your bank account should have at least Php10,000 per person per day during your stay in Japan. So if you’re planning to stay for 5 days, you should at least have Php50,000 in your bank account. But just to be sure, you should aim for a higher amount than settle for the minimum amount required especially if you’re aiming for a multiple-entry visa.

FAQ: Can I submit more than one bank certificate?

Yes, you can. I actually submitted 2 bank certificates. But wHy diDn’t yOu jUst trAnSfer yOuR mOnEy iNto oNe aCcOUnt? Well, I’ve heard some people submit more than one bank certificate, so I did the same. One even said she submitted 3 bank certificates even though the third one only has Php3,000. I’ve heard of people getting rejected because of a sudden huge deposit in their accounts. So to be safe, I just submitted 2 certificates instead of making a huge deposit.

FAQ: Should my bank account be 6 months old upon application?

This is a case-to-case basis, to be honest. In my experience, I presented 2 bank certificates as mentioned above, but one of them which has a higher amount was barely 2 months old upon my Japan Visa application. But again, I don’t recommend being risky like me. As much as possible, stick to the 6-month-old bank account and bank certificates issued within 3 months.

Explanation Letter Sample For Japan Visa Application

When writing an explanation letter, you should be straight to the point, honest, and stick to one page only. Make it as short as possible. But also show enthusiasm for the trip, tell them the things you want to do in Japan and end the letter with a subtle hint that you have reasons for going back to your country (to prove you will not illegally stay to find a job). Here’s a sample explanation letter I submitted for my Japan Visa application:

sample of letter of explanation for japan visa application
kinkaku-ji golden temple japan
Kinkaku-ji, The temple made of gold.

What Should You Book in Klook For Your Japan Trip?

My friends and I traveled to Osaka, Kyoto, and Nara. It was a DIY trip, so we had control of our own time and it was cheaper that way. We research all the places we want to visit and book the rest in Klook (Use my code “ALYRECOMMEND” to get 5% off in Klook). Below are the things we booked:

  • OSAKA AMAZING PASS – You can use this card for unlimited train rides (except for JR Express), bus rides, and free entrance to tourist spots around Osaka. Just read their list.
  • KANSAI THRU PASS – Just like OAP above, you can use this for unlimited train rides (except for JR Express), bus rides, and free entrance to tourist spots around Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, Wakayama, and Koyosan. Just read their list.
  • UNIVERSAL STUDIO PASS – Make sure to check the Universal Studio Pass Price Calendar before booking. Different days require a different type of ticket and there are 4 types called: A, B, C, and D. You’ll see in their calendar which type of ticket you will need. A lot of people made the mistake of buying the cheapest in Klook without reading the USJ Calendar and so they end up desperately selling it online. Also, we didn’t book Express Passes because we went there on a weekday which has fewer people and fewer lines. Here’s a thorough guide.
  • 4G PREPAID SIM CARD – Since we’re a group of 3, there’s a huge chance we’ll not be together in one place all the time especially when shopping, so we opted for a sim card instead of renting a portable WiFi. That way we can message each other when we separate, doing our own thing. We picked up the SIM card at the airport and unlike with WiFi devices, we don’t need to return it.

You can search for more activities through Klook here:


  • PAPAGO or GOOGLE TRANSLATE – Make sure to download the Japanese language in the apps so you can use it even when offline. This was very helpful in translating signs and restaurant menus. Just open the app’s camera, and point to the stuff you want to translate.
  • GOOGLE MAPS – Duh! This is a map, but it will not just tell you directions, it will also show which train or busses you should take, even the train platform and alternative routes. It’s also updated in real-time so you will know both the train and bus schedules or if there are delays.
  • JAPAN TRANSIT PLANNER – This one will tell you the ticket prices, train numbers, platform numbers, and all the station names in your destination. Google Maps will just show which station you will ride to and your stop, but this app will show all the stations in between. Very helpful so you won’t get lost.

That’s all! If you have more questions on how to apply for Japan Visa without ITR or anything else, don’t hesitate to slide in my Instagram DM.