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Not Permitted to go to Indonesia – No Worries, I’m Going to Japan!




Beautiful but expensive are two words that could kill a dream. The wanting of a copious bank account, constantly depleted by responsibilities, lattes, fatty food, and other things born out of a whim, did not make me hopeful that I would ever get to Japan, at least not anytime soon. But if there is one thing I know for certain, it’s that life is full of surprises. And surprise of epic proportion is what I received wrapped in a metaphorical bow of awesomeness. It is so awesome I moved on with ease over a lost opportunity to fly to Indonesia. Last September, I found myself taking that 4-hour flight with 12 others to Osaka, Japan.

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Cebu Pacific (CEB), the largest carrier in the Philippine air transportation industry flew me and 9 other bloggers in an 8PM flight to Osaka. CEB offers low-cost services to 36 Philippine and 30 international destinations over Asia, Australia, the Middle East, and USA.

On how I scored this 4-day sponsored trip, I have many people to thank, the first would be Trisha Velarmino, the genius behind P.S. I’m On My Way. Trisha, that magnificent human being who traveled for years in her lonesome in South America, went home to the Philippines for a quick vacation. I met her in that blogger’s trip in Baguio where we were bunked in the same room and had a chance to get to know each other. Trisha is creating a rainbow of opportunities for some writers and I and it’s through this that I was able to visit Japan. About this “awesome project” I’m sparing you the details for now so as not to ruin this wonderful surprise πŸ˜‰ . [Read: Musings of a Part Introvert on a Group Tour in Baguio]

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How to Get Japan Visa

I had no trouble applying for a Japan visa because the ever reliable and remarkable Media Relations Supervisor of Strategic Works, Inc., Kezia Romblon, took care of it. But I still took the time to google the knowledge to share with you.

  1. Go to Japan Embassy’s website. Download and fill out the Visa Application form.
  2. Obtain required documents, such as:Β 
    • Passport
    • 1 copy of ID photo, 4.5cm x 4.5cm with white background
    • Birth certificate (NSO issued, original copy)
    • Bank balance certificate (get this from the branch where you opened your bank account)
    • Income Tax Return (Form 2316 or 1701, original copy)
    • A copy of your itinerary and hotel booking
  3. Go to an accredited travel agencies to work on your application because Japan embassy no longer accepts direct applications.
  4. Visa fee depends on which travel agency will work on your visa but expect to shell out somewhere around 800 to 1,200 pesos (USD 16.56 – 24.84).
  5. And the most important requirement of them all β€” Hope for the best!

How to Get There

There are a few airlines that fly to Osaka, Japan, but of course, I recommend, CEB.

Cebu Pacific, the largest airline in the Philippines, flies between Manila and Osaka five times weekly, with lowest year-round fares starting from PHP 6,399 (USD 132.44). Cebu Pacific also flies from Manila to Tokyo (Narita), Nagoya and Fukuoka, as well as from Cebu to Tokyo (Narita). Book its trademark lowest fares now through http://bit.ly/CEBOsakaflights or (+632)7020888, or follow its Facebook or Twitter pages for the latest seat sales.

Kansai International Airport

We touched down on Osaka around 11 in the evening after a 4-hour travel in a turbulence that could test the faith of the most devout and induce belief to a skeptic. It was my first time to sit on the front row, but I was placed on the middle seat. With no view of the clouds to offer comfort and no calming music to meditate on (’cause I checked in my luggage and it slipped my mind to take out my earphones), I dealt with my flying anxiety by trying my darnedest to sleep. I couldn’t say in affirmative whether I succeeded; the feel of my sweaty palms is still vivid in my head, but hey, I survived!Β [Read: 7 Tips to Conquer Fear of Flying]

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Kansai International Airport or KIX is the gateway to the Kansai Region, where you can find the major cities, Kyoto, Kobe, and Osaka. KIX is built on an artificial island on Osaka Bay. Because it’s on a manmade island, a 3-kilometer bridge was created to connect it to the mainland via the town of Rinku. Several railways connect to KIX, and this alone fascinates me. NoΒ leaving the airport just to ride a train, hurrah! From there, it was an hour journey to Nakanoshima via JR Kansai.Β [Read: Everything you need to know about using the Japan Rail Pass in Osaka]

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RihgaΒ RoyalΒ Hotel

By taxi, we were taken to our accommodation, Rihga Royal Hotel. Rihga is a luxurious 80-year old hotel in Nakanoshima, Osaka. Kara (Travel Up)Β and I stayed in a twin room in the West Wing.

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Our stay included free breakfast; a choice between their Japanese resto and their buffet restaurant. What I liked most at Rihga Royal HotelΒ is the bathroom. It’s not as fancy as the other hotels, but I love the automated toilet.

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That night, after checking in, we went out for ramen. The ramen is not just good, it’s gold and it deserves a post of its own (watch out for that). This is just a prelude of a great adventure. Coming up, I’m going to take you toΒ Universal Studios Japan. Β 

 

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55 Comments

  • Reply
    Louiela
    November 4, 2016 at 3:31 AM

    Life is indeed full of opportunities… So we know what to expect if any trips will be cancelled in the next future, it means we are heading somewhere:))
    I’ll wait for that Ramen post, for now I’ll enjoy my cup noodles:)

  • Reply
    Yan
    November 3, 2016 at 2:54 AM

    Japan vs Indonesia, I’ll choose Japan in a heartbeat! You’re so lucky! Still finding my way there though (*cough* funds *cough*)! I’m curious about what legit Japanese ramen tastes like, for some reason the one I had at Narita airport is okay lang, I had better ramen here in QC so I’m wondering what’s legit or not haha.

  • Reply
    Alyssa Tuangco
    November 2, 2016 at 10:06 AM

    *Crying while reading this* hahaha I wanted to go to Japan talaga. I avoided reading the other posts since I want to surprise myself kapag nag Universal Studios kami. Good thing your visa was approved. Anyway is there a visa to Indonesia ba?

    http://www.alyssatuangco.blogspot.com

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      November 2, 2016 at 2:15 PM

      Nope, we don’t need visa for Indonesia. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Mommy Queenelizabeth
    November 1, 2016 at 10:10 PM

    This is such a wonderful blessing! But i was wondering why you were not permitted to go to Indonesia anyway?
    Japan has always been my dreamy place. More than touring around lovely places, what i really wanted to do there is to shop! Haha! I heard about second hand designer bags that are almost new selling in special malls at a really reasonable price! Kelan kaya? If i will be given a sponsored trip, i will not hesitate! Hahaha!

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      November 2, 2016 at 2:18 PM

      It’s because the trip to Indonesia takes 12 days and I cannot be on a leave for that long so my boss didn’t permit me to go. Good thing the Japan fam trip came along and it’s only 4 days so I was able to go.

      The Shinsaibashi-suji is the shopping district in Osaka, it was sure fun to buy stuff there, I’m sure you will have tons of fun. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    ROBERT LEE
    November 1, 2016 at 5:54 PM

    I am so curious. How exactly was this done? Like what was the sponsored trip about and how did you do it? Okay, now I have the questions out of the way… Congratulations for the nice trip. I had seen the awesome photos you posted on Facebook. Glad you had the opportunity and I heard Osaka is not as expensive as most people tend to think. Food, from what I have heard, is amazing.

  • Reply
    juliasan
    October 30, 2016 at 9:49 AM

    We keep postponing the Japan trip for budget reasons. Hope to be able to visit soon, though… πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Amae Guerrero
    October 19, 2016 at 3:10 PM

    Japan is very close to my heart ❀❀❀I’ve also been there for an ALL expense paid trip. Here is my story:, http://heramazingstory.com/travel-japan-free/
    I’m also looking forward to visit osaka bec I only visites Tokyo and Shizuoka. But overall, just like you said. Japan is a worth visit country

  • Reply
    Gryselle Mae
    October 18, 2016 at 1:05 PM

    I haven’t been to Japan! You guys are so lucky to get the chance to do so! My wallet would be crying if I force myself to make a trip to Japan, and I am sure my bank account would be empty by the time I get back. I heard it is really costly to go to Japan, and with my attitude of wanting to buy anything cute would cause me to be bankrupt. Haha!

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      October 18, 2016 at 7:39 PM

      Hahaha.. I know what you mean, especially if you are a foodie and a shopaholic like me! But I do hope you would get to go there Gryselle. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Miera
    October 17, 2016 at 2:48 PM

    Much exactly what I need though this March, it would be my second time in Japan and thank God this time there is no need Visa.. the first time I was in Tokyo, this time I am also heading to Osaka and Kyoto…can not wait to read about Universal Studios….

  • Reply
    Jane M
    October 15, 2016 at 9:36 AM

    Can’t wait to read more about your Japan trip, Marge! When I do get to visit Japan, at least I know who to message for any tips πŸ˜‰ And don’t worry about missed opportunities, there are always greater things out there! πŸ™‚

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      October 18, 2016 at 7:34 PM

      Sure Jane, just hit me a message, would love to give you some tips. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Emily
    October 15, 2016 at 9:01 AM

    Lucky you! I loved loved Japan when I went and am dying to go back. Honestly think it’s my favourite country. I haven’t been to Osaka though so look forward to reading more about what you did there.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      October 18, 2016 at 7:34 PM

      Hi Emily! You and me both! Japan is now my favorite country. It’s beyond amazing.

  • Reply
    Jerny
    October 14, 2016 at 11:21 PM

    Looking forward to other Japan stuffs from you, Marge! Congratulations on everything! I wish I could go back soon to Japan, and stay a little bit longer than what I did before. hehe Nabasa ko na ung Fushimi Inari sa PS I’m on my way, that was really beautiful!

    http://www.thejerny.com

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      October 18, 2016 at 7:33 PM

      I wish to go back too, let’s make it happen! Hahaha.. Thanks Jerny!

  • Reply
    Orana Velarde
    October 14, 2016 at 7:37 AM

    A paid for blogggers’ trip to Japan??? Dream come true! And I agree, ramen in japan is like no other ramen, even in japanese restaurants outside of japan. I’m sure you had a great time while in Osaka, can’t wait to see more stories.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      October 18, 2016 at 7:33 PM

      Yes Orana, never in my wildest dream have I ever thought this would happen to me! It all felt surreal!

  • Reply
    Airina Desuyo
    October 11, 2016 at 1:47 AM

    Awww. I love Trisha! I am a huge fan of hers. I wish I can travel with her someday. Congratulations on this sponsored trip! Very nice opportunity πŸ™‚

    airinaapril.blogspot.com

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      October 18, 2016 at 7:32 PM

      I’m sure Trisha would be flattered to hear that. Thanks Airina!

  • Reply
    Christine
    October 10, 2016 at 9:16 PM

    Can’t wait to read more of your experiences in Japan. Such a beautiful country!

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      October 18, 2016 at 7:32 PM

      I can’t wait to tell it all to you too hahaha… Thanks Christine!

  • Reply
    Nadine Smith (Scenes From Nadine)
    October 10, 2016 at 4:39 PM

    When one door closes… you know what happens! I have been to both Indonesia (Bali) and Japan (Tokyo). Bali was our honeymoon destination and Tokyo was where my hubby proposed. But to this day, Japan is still my favorite country of all time. So lucky you!!! Because not a lot of people get to go there, and you did! πŸ™‚ And don’t worry. One day, you WILL get to go to Indonesia. πŸ™‚

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      October 18, 2016 at 7:30 PM

      Thanks so much Nadine, you made me more hopeful about going to Indonesia. But yes, I love Japan, and looking back, I wouldn’t want to change a thing.

  • Reply
    Ma.Me.Mi.Mommy
    October 10, 2016 at 5:39 AM

    Wow, what a great opportunity! πŸ™‚ I got bitin at the end as I was hoping to read more of your Japan adventure. I’ve been to Japan a couple of times but it’s still fun to read about others’ travel notes. πŸ™‚

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      October 18, 2016 at 7:29 PM

      Hi Mommy! I got bitin as well hahaha… But I’d like to take my time with Japan as the experience was an epic one. I gotta write it the best way I know how. Please stay tuned!

  • Reply
    Shaira Habon
    October 10, 2016 at 2:27 AM

    Japan is one of my dream travel places! I’ve heard a lot about this place, the people, culture, food and scenic spots! Pinning this post to make sure I get all the right requirements before I travel.

    PS. I can’t wait for your ramen post!

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      October 18, 2016 at 7:28 PM

      Hi Shaira! Everything about Japan is beautiful and I am not exaggerating. Stay tuned for my ramen post. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Carola
    October 9, 2016 at 5:58 PM

    I would love to go to Japan one day. So great that you went there. From the Netherlands, I think Japan would be more expensive to visit. But I know some people who also went to Japan and they loved it. I only hear good stories about it. And I definitely want to go as well one day. I would love to hear about Universal Studios Japan!! Can’t wait for that story.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      October 18, 2016 at 7:27 PM

      Hi Carola! I am now writing the Universal Studios Japan story. Stay tuned. πŸ˜‰

  • Reply
    Sriparna Saha
    October 9, 2016 at 4:48 PM

    Love the title of your topic πŸ™‚ That’s how I’d travel… if not one place, another ones right there, waiting for you to explore! Very nice experience; you seem to have enjoyed quite well:)

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      October 18, 2016 at 7:27 PM

      Thanks Sriparna. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Nina Sogue
    October 9, 2016 at 4:22 PM

    Japan is one of my dream destinations because of their food! Well, their culture as well, but the #1 reason is still food. I can’t wait for your ramen post. I hope I get to visit Japan soon πŸ™‚

    Nina Sogue | http://www.ninasogue.com

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      October 18, 2016 at 7:26 PM

      Oh my god Nina, their food is the best! I mean, I’ve liked Japanese food, but when I finally went there, everything tasted so much better. Now I love it!

  • Reply
    Laveena Sengar
    October 9, 2016 at 1:21 PM

    That’s smartness. I love whatever I have heard and read about Japan. Though I always thought that the visa procedure might be complicated for some reason. Wanna visit Japan now.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      October 18, 2016 at 7:25 PM

      Hello Laveena. In our country, getting a Japan is not that complicated. I cannot tell for sure from other countries. Hope you get to go there soon. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Ferna
    October 9, 2016 at 11:36 AM

    You are such a lucky woman to met Trisha πŸ™‚ She’s an inspiring woman that I got the chance to speak with about writing. Luckily, you were also able to visit one of the Filipino’s dream country to visit (including me of course!) And given the information on the requirements needed helped me to plan really well my Japan visit (Sooonnn hopefully)

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      October 18, 2016 at 7:24 PM

      Hi Ferna. Yes, Trisha is such a beautiful person, inside and out, and I feel so honored to become her friend.

  • Reply
    Darlene
    October 9, 2016 at 6:54 AM

    Crossing my fingers that I’ll get to Japan next year! Waahh!
    As they say, when one door closes, a lot of windows open. Hehe. So don’t fret much about opportunities lost. There is always a reason behind it and even more awesome experience in store for us. Cheers to more travels! πŸ™‚

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      October 18, 2016 at 7:24 PM

      Isama mo ko! Hahaha.. Seriously I wanna go back, so bad! There are still so many places to explore. Japan is, thus far, my favorite country.

  • Reply
    Sheena
    October 9, 2016 at 6:17 AM

    Haha, I would choose Japan over Indonesia any time! An excellent informative guide, I’m looking forward to reading your next posts about Ramen & Universal πŸ™‚

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      October 18, 2016 at 7:23 PM

      I realized that too haha.. Even my friends were telling me that Japan is better. I would still love to go to Indonesia though, in the near future. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Indrani
    October 9, 2016 at 2:49 AM

    It seems so easy to get visa to Japan. I need to save up now. πŸ™‚
    That is wonderful that you got flown there as a team.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      October 18, 2016 at 7:23 PM

      Yes Indrani, Japan can be enjoyed if you are alone, but on this case, I’m glad to be surrounded by good company.

  • Reply
    Maria
    October 8, 2016 at 9:07 PM

    Woah! Lucky for you to have met Trisha! I’ve only known her and her blog for months because I began browsing travel blogs and came across her. I have to say, you are indeed lucky to have been on this trip to Osaka! So jealous. πŸ™‚ Looking forward to more posts. Btw, great captures! So captivating! Just a thought, didn’t CEB give you some pain before the flight? Like delays or whatsoever.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      October 18, 2016 at 7:22 PM

      Thanks Maria! I feel lucky and grateful indeed. About our flight, it was hassle free and not delayed.

  • Reply
    Vyjay
    October 8, 2016 at 4:25 PM

    Japan is a charming country, a place where the past, present and future seem to merge seamlessly. Happy to see your dream flowering into reality. I look forward to reading about your Japanese adventures.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      October 8, 2016 at 6:51 PM

      Indeed, Japan had me enchanted that I really want to go back, even live there. Thanks Vyjay, more Japan stories to come. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Thelittlelai: Beyond limits
    October 8, 2016 at 1:19 AM

    Trisha is such a cool travel blogger, we haven’t met yet, but I’ve been tracing her journey when I was not yet a travel blogger and until now. Thank you for sharing about this informative trip that you have experienced in Japan. They sounded out, there will always be great thing happens when the door closed. And then definitely your trip to Indonesia may not make possible, but eventually you made it to Japan. I wish to go to Japan as well.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      October 8, 2016 at 6:52 PM

      Trisha is beautiful inside and out. Definitely one the best bloggers there is. I hope you get to visit Japan too, it’s a wonderful country. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Andi
    October 7, 2016 at 11:45 PM

    I always wanted to go to Japan but it is really out of my budget still. And I don’t have a visa so I really need to work on it soon so I can enjoy an international travel. Looking forward to it!
    http://www.wizardandi.com

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      October 8, 2016 at 6:53 PM

      It’s easy to get a Japan visa, you just have to show them the right documents. πŸ™‚

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