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.


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 the 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.


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: 
    • 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 accredited travel agencies to work on your application because the 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 — 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 or (+632)7020888, or follow its Facebook or Twitter pages for the latest seat sales.

Kansai International Airport

We touched down Osaka around 11 in the evening after a 4-hour trip in 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 in 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! 

[Read: 7 Tips to Conquer Fear of Flying]


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 in 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. No leaving the airport just to ride a train, hurrah! From there, it was an hour journey to Nakanoshima via JR Kansai.


Rihga Royal 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) and I stayed in a twin room in the West Wing.


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

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 to Universal Studios Japan.  

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  1. 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:)

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

    1. 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. 🙂

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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….

  7. 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 😉 And don’t worry about missed opportunities, there are always greater things out there! 🙂

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

  11. 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 🙂

  12. 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! 🙂 And don’t worry. One day, you WILL get to go to Indonesia. 🙂

  13. Wow, what a great opportunity! 🙂 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. 🙂

    1. 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!

  14. 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!

  15. 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.

  16. Love the title of your topic 🙂 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:)

  17. 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.

  18. You are such a lucky woman to met Trisha 🙂 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)

  19. 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! 🙂

  20. 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 🙂

  21. 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. 🙂 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

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