GoWithGuide provides Japanese tourist visa support for custom tours.Learn More

FAQ - Obtaining a Japan Tourist Visa

by GoWithGuide travel specialist

 

(Last Updated: Aug 5th, 2022)

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On this page you can find frequently asked questions regarding Japanese tourist visas that GoWithGuide's Support Team has received from travelers considering traveling to Japan.

GoWithGuide offers support for Japanese tourist visas for private tours for individual travelers.

If you are considering traveling to Japan, make sure to read the FAQ below.

If you are looking for general information regarding tourist visas for Japan, we have summarized it in the blog below, so make sure to read it.

How to get a Japan tourist visa

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Q) Is GoWithGuide able to help me get a visa for Japan?

A) Yes we are. Let us explain the current situation regarding tourist visas for Japan, and what is necessary to obtain one. Based on the guidelines set by the Japanese government, depending on your movements 14 days before your planned entry to Japan, your eligibility for tourist visa might be affected.

Please make sure all the countries that you will be staying at 14 days before you enter Japan are ALL "blue" countries in the page below:

Grouping of the country or region of your stay before arriving in Japan (Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare)

{Please note that if travelers have been to a yellow or red country 14 days before coming to Japan, they will NOT be eligible for tourist visa at this moment}

Based on the guidelines set by the Japanese government, in order for GoWithGuide to help you with the application for your tourist visa to Japan, travelers need to book the following:

1. [Date of arrival to Japan] booking with a guide for pickup at the airport and accompanying to the hotel. Sightseeing tour until the end of the day.

2. [each day in Japan] For each day in Japan, a full-day tour starting from morning pick-up at the hotel until drop-off at the end of the day

3. [Return Date] Tour from the morning until airport transfer.

 

If you book all the above, GoWithGuide will be able to process your visa.

In other words, during your entire stay in Japan you must be accompanied by a guide from morning till night, from the arrival at the Japanese airport (or port) on the day of entry to the airport (or port) on the day of return. This includes transportation to other areas of Japan (e.g. guide needs to ride train from Tokyo to Kyoto with the travelers).

If you make a reservation on GoWithGuide for the entire schedule from entry to departure from Japan,

we can apply for your tourist visa as the "受け入れ責任者"(responsible person).

Please note that we cannot guarantee that you will be able to receive a visa even after doing all of the above. However, if you do not receive a visa, we will give you a full refund regardless of whether a cancellation charge would apply.

 

The flow is as follows:

You need to start by making tour reservations for your entire travel schedule in Japan using GoWithGuide.

We will process your visa application on the Japanese side.

Once approved, we will receive a document from the Government of Japan, and GoWithGuide will email you the document.

You will bring the documents and apply for a visa at the Japanese embassy of your country.

If approved and you receive a visa, you will be able to enter Japan.

 

If the guide you want is not available, we would appreciate it if you could choose another guide.

It is expected that it will take a few days to apply for and obtain a visa.

We recommend that you apply for a visa with plenty of time.

 

Also, if you enter the country with a visa other than a tourist visa, GoWithGuide is not involved in visa application, so please ask your guide for the information you need to apply for your visa.

In other words, if you enter the country with a visa other than a tourist visa (obtaining such visa is your own responsibility), there is no particular problem with hiring a guide on GoWithGuide.

GoWithGuide would like to support you in acquiring a visa, so that our customers can enjoy their trip to Japan. 

In order to get a quotation and book a tour with our guides/suppliers, please contact them directly and discuss an itinerary together. 

 

We have compiled some of the more commonly asked questions regarding visa for Japan on the page below, so please take a look!

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Q) Does the guide need to come with travelers when moving between cities? Can I have the guide escort me to the station/airport, and then have the guide meet me at the next city?

A) It depends on the means of transportation. For airplanes, you can have guide #1 escort you to the airport, and then meet up with guide #2 at the airport upon arrival. For everything else (bus, train, Shinkansen, ...) a guide needs to be with you during the transit as well. You can have guide #1 ride the train with you to the next city, or alternatively have guide #2 come and ride the train back to their city together.
If moving from Tokyo to Kyoto, we recommend landing at Osaka airport since it is close by. This will help you save money on train and escort fees for the guide.

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Q) Before the start of the tour, or after the guide has escorted us back to the hotel in the evening, can I eat breakfast or dinner at a restaurant near our hotel without the guide? How about buying groceries at a nearby supermarket?

A) Yes, you can eat at a restaurant before/after the tour if it is close to your hotel. The same is true for grocery shopping. 

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Q) Can I book a half-day tour in the morning and have the evening for myself?

A) No, with the current regulations you are required to have a guide with you for the full day, so a half-day tour will not be enough.

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Q) Does guide need to be with travelers all the time when visiting a Theme Park (USJ, Disneyland, ...)?

A) It is OK for customers to enter the theme park without guide, if guide goes with them until the entrance and is at a distance of max 1 hour away and can rush to help when necessary. But customers need to understand that they cannot go outside the park without guide. Please decide and let the guide know of the ending time of theme park visit, and meet with the guide at the entrance of the park.

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Q) Can customers go to stadiums for a Sport Event (watching) and have the guide wait outside? Or do I need to buy a ticket for the guide as well?

A) It is OK for the guide to wait outside the stadium if they are at a distance of max 1 hour away from you and can come quickly if necessary.
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Q) I have something (tour, activity, etc.) already booked in Japan outside of GoWithGuide. Can I still use GoWithGuide's guide and tours to book for my other days, and receive a tourist visa?

A) Yes, GoWithGuide can sponsor your visa even if you have tours with other companies. Please note that pick-up and drop off to and from that tour/activity is necessary, so if it is not included already, you would need to hire a guide/transport service for that.

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Q) My hotel is right next to the station/airport. I will go directly from hotel to airport on the last day, do I still need a guide?

A) Yes. Even if it would be just for a couple of minutes, the current regulations state that a guide needs to escort travelers to the airport/station. The Japansese embassy of your country will deny the visa application if there are any parts of the itinerary that are missing a guide.

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Q) I am arriving to Tokyo/Osaka airport and then I will immediately catch a plane to my destination of another city in Japan. Can I have the guide just meet me at the airport of my destination?

A) No. You need to have a guide accompany you inside the airports as well. The embassy will deny your visa if there is no guide at the airport where you arrive in Japan.

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Q) I want to stay in my hotel on some days so I don’t need a guide. Is that ok?

A) No, you will not be able to obtain a Japan Tourist Visa without having a guide on each day you are in Japan. If you would like to stay in your hotel for certain days, it is still required for you to hire a guide for the day to be on standby. 

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Q) Can I hire a guide in order to obtain my Japan Tourist Visa and ask them to not come on the day so we can have privacy?

A) Definitely not. The current regulations clearly state that travellers need to have a guide each day and will need to be accompanied by their guide throughout the day. 

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Q) A tour guide quoted us for 6 hours per day for an 8-day Tokyo tour. Will 6 hours of guided tour per day satisfy the current tourist visa requirements for Japan?

A) If the 6 hours is going to be the core period that you will be sightseeing it should not be a problem. However, if you are planning on sightseeing outside of those hours, then please ask your guide to add in those hours since you need to be accompanied by your guide while you are out of your hotel for sightseeing purposes. Generally it is better to have your itinerary fully planned for you to be eligible for a Japan Tourist Visa. 

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Q) Do you offer any layover tours?

A) Yes, however, you will still need to apply for a Japan Tourist Visa for your layover. Please message a guide and come up with an itinerary for your tour. The same Tourist Visa regulations apply for multiple day or same day visits within Japan. 

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Q) Is it possible to apply for a Tourist Visa when we arrive in Japan? 

A) No you will not be able to. You will have to apply for a Japan Tourist Visa in the country that you currently reside in. 

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Q) Can you please give us a tour package from xx to xx date that can qualify for obtaining a visa?

A) We ask that you please directly message our guides on the platform to come up with an itinerary. 

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Q) Do I still need to pay for them to standby?

A) Yes, your guide will have to be paid to keep their plans available for the requested dates. It is also important that you have your itinerary planned with a guide for the duration of your trip as this is needed when applying to the embassy. 

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Q) Do I need to have the itinerary completed before my trip?

A) Yes, it will be required for you to come up with a detailed itinerary with your guide(s) before your trip to Japan. The itinerary will also be needed for when you visit the Japanese embassy/consulate of your country to make your Japan Tourist Visa application. 

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Q) Is it possible to book more than one guide?

A) Yes. You can hire a few of guides in each area such as one guide in Tokyo, one guide in Osaka. GoWithGuide covers areas all over Japan so you can find guides everywhere you go. When you hire local guides in each area, you can save your money about guide's accommodation, transportation fee (if you use an airplane).

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