Japan Working Holiday Visa Guide


Japanese Consulate Edinburgh

When I first started the process of applying for my working holiday visa I looked for information online that would assist me, some of the information I found was very helpful but also some was either incorrect or made the process look complex and stressful. When I was writing my reason for application and the personal itinerary some sites advised I would be required to go into great detail with the information I had to provide, such as naming almost every place I would stay and tourist sites I would visit with a budget for each. Whilst you do have to give information on your plans the idea is to give an overall feeling that you are genuinely interested in visiting Japan for travel so don’t put too much information. My experience is based through applying in the UK and specifically through the Japanese Consulate in Edinburgh who I have to say were incredibly helpful, although if you are applying in another country please be aware the application process may vary.

Okay so…. How do I apply? What do I need?

Before you even start applying you must meet the required prerequisites, if you are applying in the UK you must be a British citizen aged between 18-30 at the time of application and possess enough funds for the duration of your stay. You should also not have any children and if you intend to travel with a spouse they must also have a valid visa. Right so that’s you? Good!

The stuff you will need:

  • Valid British passport
  • One completed visa application form with a recent passport photo
  • A personal history, resume or curriculum vita typed on A4 paper
  • A proposed itinerary for the whole stay in Japan
  • A written reason for applying for a Working Holiday Visa typed on A4 paper
  • Either £2,500 in cleared funds (proof of funds required) or £1,500 and a return or onward journey ticket or a receipt for such.
  • Application Fee – This was £23 and you pay this when you collect your visa


In the UK up to 1000 Japanese Working Holiday Visa’s will be granted each year before no further application will be accepted, the visa year follows the financial year April through March. Don’t worry… I applied for mine in December and it was fine!.

Filling out the application form

The application form you require can be found on the Japanese Consular Website. The form is fairly straight forward but there are a few fields that may not be so easily answered or you may be unsure what to put. Below I’ve listed the fields that I found confusing so you might find filling it in slightly easier!

Paste photo here 45mm x 45mm? They accept a 35mm x 45mm photo which is the standard size in the UK, just glue it to the middle of the square.

Place of Issue and Issuing Authority? I just put the UK and check your passport for the Issuing Authority, mines was IPS so I wrote “Identity and Passport Service”.

Port of Entry and Name of Ship/Airline? Firstly you don’t have to have booked anything yet, just put down who you are most likely going to travel with. I’m actually planning on entering by ferry from China so was a bit concerned by this but I shouldn’t have been. I wrote Osaka for the port of entry and the name of the Ferry “Su Zhou hao”.

Names of Hotels/Persons? Again you don’t need to have booked anything, if you are staying with someone you know write their details. If you intend to stay in a Hotel/Hostel just look up one where you will probably stay and write it down.

Guarantor/Reference in Japan? If you have one put it down, if you don’t just leave it blank and move on.

Inviter to Japan? If you have one put it down, if you don’t just leave it blank and move on.

And that’s it! dead easy wasn’t it?

Personal History (CV) and Proposed Itinerary

For the Personal History I just submitted a CV, you don’t need to be a graduate or have a masters in Quantum Mechanics to be accepted so don’t worry. Just try and make it look neat and tidy.

Here’s my Proposed Itinerary(** see notes). When writing your itinerary don’t be too specific, when you are preparing your visa for Japan you will have an idea of the things you want to do and places you want to see and it’s just a case of elaborating on them, in the end this is just to show your interest as they don’t expect you to follow this itinerary exactly. Keep it to 1 sheet of A4.

Personal Statement / Reason for Applying

Here’s my Personal Statement. The statement really is pretty simple, think of things you love to do and then think how you can do them in Japan and what would be interesting about doing it there. I talked about hobbies mostly like Photography and Snowboarding and why it would be great to do them in Japan. Keep it to 1 sheet of A4, easy Stuff!.

Going to the Consulate

Once you have all the information you will have to go to the consulate with your application and supporting documents. The consulate you are attending will have open sessions, in Edinburgh these are Mon – Fri between 9.30 – 12.30 and 14.00 – 16.30. They will ask you up to the counter and you give them all the information you have, they will take sometime to look at the information which took around 10 minutes in my case. After this time she came back and told me everything was fine and I could collect my visa the following week! wow that was easy! She also asked if I wanted some brochures for free which I gladly accepted! I went back the following week and collected my passport and paid the application fee of £23(now reduced to £17 according to the Japanese embassy website for single applicants, paid in cash and no change given). In total I reckon I was in the consulate for less than 15 minutes combined!

Some Final Points

On the consular website it states you should be in good health, at no point was I asked to provide information to support this so don’t worry about getting a certified medical or anything which I had to do for me New Zealand WHV.

You will have to provide some kind of proof of sufficient funds and on the consular website it states 3 months of statements. You may be able to do this easily but the majority of my funds were in Cash ISA’s or savings account which don’t get monthly statements, I just took a printed screenshot of my bank accounts showing that I had greater than the required sum and transactions that went back further than 3 months, this was accepted with no problems.

I would say if you have any things you are unsure about to contact the consulate direct, I emailed them a couple of time and they usually got back to me the same day with the answer, great service and friendly.

I hope this information has been helpful but should you want to ask any questions please feel free to contact me.

*July 3rd 2015 Edit – Recent feedback has suggested there may be changes to when you can apply for your visa. Previously you could apply at any point in the 12 months leading up to your arrival in Japan however recent feedback suggests they now prefer for applications to be made within 3 months prior to your arrival in Japan. Although I have heard exceptions have been made for those who intend to be travelling before their arrival in Japan, in this scenario the embassy requested the applicant submit an additional statement asking why then required the visa to be granted early.

I would suggest contacting the consulate before visiting in person to make sure you are not turned away especially if travelling a considerable distance. Advise them of when you intend to depart the UK / arrive in Japan and when would be the best time to visit the consulate to submit your application. I have always found the the Japanese consulate staff to be incredibly helpful so please do not hesitate to contact them with any of your questions.

**June 25th 2017 Edit – Recent info from an applicant (thanks Fred) who submitted there application to the London embassy advised they prefer the itinerary to be submitted in a timeline format.

Quote: “

He said that the itinerary has to be laid out more like a timeline, with the dates on the left, indicating when when each paragraph is happening. A bit like a CV, if you get my explanation. Like this:

Dec 2017 – Jan 2018 [text here]

Feb 2018 – May 2018 [text here]

Jun 2018 – July 2018 [text here]”

86 Responses to Japan Working Holiday Visa Guide

  1. liam says:

    Hi, I’m 31 and I have a degree in computer science. What options are available to me due to my age?


  2. Enrico says:

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for providing us with a very helpful guide. Even though I applied in Australia, I’ve found relevant parts of the guide to be very useful. I will be leaving next month.

    I do have questions on the “responsibilities” one will need to fulfil upon arrival in Japan. Hopefully anyone with a relevant experience will be able to help!

    I’ve found that many websites, even between Official Japanese Government ones (consulate vs. embassy) had differing info:

    1. As I understand, Residence Card with a TBD address will be issued to visitors with Working Holiday Visas on arrival – is this correct?

    2. Upon settling at a certain place, an address will need to be reported in 14 days – but since I will be travelling across Honshu for the first month – will it be a problem with not reporting any addresses?

    3. I also plan to leave Japan for 1 month and re-enter. There are 2 different information I have read for people with Working Holiday Visas and unsure which if these are options available, and if there is a difference:
    A. Need to obtain Re-entry permit either Single or Multiple – with a fee (3000/6000 JPY).
    B. A departure form with a Re-entry box will need to be filled before leaving Japan – no fee

    4. How did you prepare for/organise your participation in the National Health Insurance program and National Pension System?

    Thanks in advance!

  3. ewan says:

    can you apply in Edinburgh, regardless of where you live in the uk, as im gonna be in Edinburgh soon anyway?

    • Mark says:

      ive heard you can only apply to the embassy closest to you so if your closer to Edinburgh than London you can apply there but if not its the embassy in London

  4. sagal says:

    Hey Paul, I was wondering how long in advance should I apply for my working holiday visa and how long does it usually take to receive your working holiday visa as I cant find any info in regards to that online.

    Thanks a bunch!

  5. Fred Hunt says:

    Hi Paul,

    Thank you for your help in writing this guide, my girlfriend managed to use your examples and information to apply and get her WHV for Japan this year. She did have one comment though, that she has asked me to pass on to you. She applied at the London consulate and the guy there that dealt with her application was really nice and helped her to correct the few issues she did have. On comment he did have, was that your itinerary is the wrong format, and he has to send everyone who writes it like that away to change it slightly. He sees so many people write it that way and actually said “I really wish that guy would have written it properly to save time”. Now I’m guessing that either how they expect it in London is different, or has changed since you wrote yours, but either way I thought it’d be useful for London applicants to know how they expect it, even if just to help this guy out, as he was so so very helpful with her and it added an extra step as she had to go use the printing place nearby to change it.

    He said that the itinerary has to be laid out more like a timeline, with the dates on the left, indicating when when each paragraph is happening. A bit like a CV, if you get my explanation. Like this:

    Dec 2017 – Jan 2018 [text here]

    Feb 2018 – May 2018 [text here]

    Jun 2018 – July 2018 [text here]

    I hope this helps. 🙂


    • Paul says:

      Thanks Fred, Will add a note at the bottom of the guide. I applied in Edinburgh so not sure if they require the same format or things have changed since I applied.

  6. Rebecca Crowe says:

    Dear Paul,

    Thank you very much for writing your blog, ive found it extremely useful when trying to plan my travels in Japan.

    Like you , i plan on leaving Japan and returning at a later date. I know you need a Special re-enter Permit to do this. How did you get yours? I cant find any information on the embassy website about how to do this. Also was it difficult to get? I will have re-organise my plans if i am not granted the re-enter permit therefore want to make sure id be able to get one before i set things in stone.
    I have emailed the consulate but no rely back as of yet

    Thank you


    • Paul says:

      Hi Rebecca, sorry for not getting back to you sooner. I hope you have heard back from the embassy by now, I never actually needed a re-entry permit in the end so I can’t give you much info I’m afraid.

  7. Amy says:

    Hi Paul,
    Thanks for the useful info i am planning to apply for my whv soon and I was wondering if you could answer a question for me?
    Did you have a return flight booked home for after your stay in Japan?
    The reason I am asking this is because I read in some forums that some people got told by the airline at the airport that they weren’t allowed to fly to Japan on a one way ticket even if you explain to them that you are doing a working holiday and that you will actually be in Japan for one year. Then on other forums other people where saying “I got into japan on a one way ticket with no problems with my working holiday visa.” So i was just wondering if it was necessary to book a return/ onward journey in advance before you arrive in Japan and what you did?
    Also is the visa year definitely April- March as I keep reading on other peoples blogs that its September-September so i am also worried that it will be closed by the time I apply since I am flying to London at the start of July from N.I xD

    • Paul says:

      Hi Amy,

      I didn’t have any return flight booked when I applied for my visa and can’t imagine that you should need one as it’s not a requirement for the visa. You can always double check with the airline you are flying with in advance by contacting them if you are uncertain.

      I actually travelled to Japan by ferry from Shanghai in China though so my arrival method was probably slightly different from most. When I left Japan I booked a flight a few weeks before leaving. I never experienced any issues.

      I’m pretty sure the April-march visa window was info I got from the embassy but I could be wrong, however I have never ever heard of someone getting there visa refused based on when they applied so I am positive this will not be a problem for you.

      Good luck with your application.


  8. Alfie says:

    Hi, great help from this post, thanks.

    Quick question that im pretty sure i know the answer to, but just to be sure:

    The field requiring: “ID No. issued to you by your government:” <– Is this your national insurance number?


    • Paul says:

      Hi Alfie,

      It’s not your national insurance number, some countries / applicants have government issued ID cards as well as passports and so they can fill in the details in the field. I would personally leave it blank and make sure you put your passport number id.


  9. Jonny says:

    I have a question and i finding it difficult to find an answer.

    I am a born and raised British citizen but i hold an Irish passport.

    Will i need to apply for my British passport or could i still apply with my Irish one?

    Thank you in advance

    • Paul says:

      Hi Jonny,

      In all honesty I have absolutely no idea :/


    • Amy says:

      Are you from Northern Ireland Jonny? If you have an Irish passport you might be able to apply at the Japanese embassy in Dublin, but I would ring them just to check first incase they only let people from the actual Republic of Ireland apply. I looked at the embassy website for the UK and it says that you need a valid UK passport to apply, but i guess you could also give them a call as well to see if a British Citizen with an Irish passport can apply.

      • Mark says:

        i have the same problem I’m from NI and I have an Irish passport.. no idea where to go… we do have a right to apply I’m not sure where if anyone finds out please share it with us 😀

        • Mark says:

          ok I’ve emailed the embassy in Dublin they told me that if I was from the north ill have to write down the address of a relative living in the republic and include that with my application.. hope this helps

  10. Damien says:

    Hello, こんにちは Paul, sir.

    Did you actually work in Japan whilst you were visiting that country on your working holiday visa ? If so, how did you find your employment(s) ? I take it that you do not speak Japanese.

  11. Matthew says:

    Hi James. Great info

    I will visit London to make the application, do I need to wait one week to pick up the visa? Just considering transport and accommodation options, as I’m from the midlands

  12. James says:


    Great article and really helpful. I have a quick question. I have the right amount of money required in my account since Christmas but before that my account was in the red for about a month or so. The money I have is mine but I wondered whether they are likely to refuse my application based on negative bank balance over the three months.

    Thanks for any help.


  13. Sarah says:

    Hey just a few things I hoped you might be able to clarify

    You say in your plan you intended to stay in Guest Houses and travel a bit, but what about the permanent address you have to put on the gaijin/zairyu card to be able to get any work or a phone etc?

    Also sorry I know it is very un-British to ask, but how much money did you take with them as all that travelling about with accommodation, shinkansen etc would come to many thousands a month.

    I know people don’t stick to the plan, it just seems strange that the Japanese embassy allow people to enter with little money (£3000) but believe that they will be able to travel around so much. Also it makes it seem like they think it is possible to get legal jobs to fit around those plans, (if you are only in a city for a couple months who is going to hire you and for what?) and be able to get such work contracts with no fixed abode?

    I am struggling to wrap my head around it all, short of taking £10,000+ just to be able to afford to rent a shoebox so that I can get a job to pay for travel on the weekend, which isn’t what one wants from a year out travelling really!

    Kind Regards

    • Paul says:

      Hi Sarah,

      I’ll try and clarify a few things for you and hopefully give you a bit of an insight into the costs of Japan. For the majority of my stay I stayed in a Guest house in Osaka, after arriving I registered at the local municipal office, there’s usually one in each district. Just ask your landlord or a neighbour and they’ll tell you where. If you then decided to move to a different place then all you have to do is go to your new local municipal office and update your details. If your travelling and only staying in places a short time you don’t have to worry about updating it, if you intend to stay longer than around 30 days at one address then I believe you should update your details.

      When I went to Japan I took close to around £10,000 with me but that also included all the funds I needed travelling overland from the UK to Japan, so probably ended up in Japan with approx 8k left. However I met many people who arrive with much less and do manage. I would say if you intend to come to Japan with the minimum £3000 then you should be willing to start work with the first couple of months. I paid around 55,000 yen (£350) per month rent in a guest house (small room with cooking facilities and shared bathroom) including bills and would spend around another 100k on food / going out / travel. So for me a monthly budget of 160,000 – 170,000 yen is what I lived on, most people with English teaching jobs in Japan earn around 250,000 yen a month so if your in work it’s not too bad. Accommodation in Japan is usually quite small, “shoebox” by UK standards, if you want a more spacious apartment then you will probably have to look to sharing with someone else.

      If you intend to do a lot of travelling and not spend much time on one location then yes you probably will find it harder to get work, many people do work in bars although technically not meant to but seem to have no problems at all. There is also the option of seasonal work, ski resorts in the winter are a great place for people on working holidays to make money on a short term basis often with accommodation included. There is definitely work for you but depending on your circumstances you might have to look a bit harder for it. Easiest work to find is English teaching and there are some short term vacancies available, best thing to do is ask around foreign friends once you are in Japan and often they know of some work available or at least where to ask.

      If you constantly travel around by Shinkansen then your money will not go very far, the Shinkansen is expensive but there are many cheaper options. For examples staying in Osaka I often spent a couple of days in Kobe, Kyoto and Nara which would cost around 1500 yen (one-way) to go by Shinkansen but only take 15 minutes. However just get a normal train to these places and the price falls to less than 500 yen but take 40 minutes… I always went with the cheap option! There’s also the option of buses which can be much cheaper than the trains and are often overlooked!

      It’s easy to look at prices in Japan and think wow it’s so expensive, but actually there are cheaper option all round for accommodation, food, travel and more. I mean you can get a massive beef bowl with rice (guydon) at some chain restaurants for 300 yen which definitely fills you up! There’s also cheaper accommodation (seen some not bad places for as little as 35,00 yen a month) than what I paid and probably nicer too!

      So try and not stress out about the costs too much, London and Paris are probably worse than any city in Japan where at least you can get a meal and a beer (i.e. less than 1000 yen) for a reasonable price (no not mcdonalds!). If you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to ask, hopefully this info gave some help and apologies for any poor grammar/spelling/bad formatting… just doing a quick post 🙂



      • Sarah says:

        Thanks Paul for the long and detailed answer and sorry it took me so long to write back. I have had a lot on saving up and preparing things 🙂

        I have about 8k now and hoping to almost double that before departure as I don’t like sharing bathrooms or noisy living arrangements etc. I have found some small aparto with oakhouse which look appropriate for my needs and budget. I really don’t get along well with shared facilities sadly.

        I think the main confusion came from the fact a lot of the ‘how to write your itinerary’ seem to suggest almost a life where you don’t have a fixed abode and travel from say Tokyo to Mt fuji to Kyoto with a brief stop in Hokkaido or Okinawa spending a night here and there in I guess hostels, so seemed lost how this fits in with the residence card requirement or finding a job. I was imagining people think they will just take a backpack with them and not have a fixed abode?

        I have visited Japan 5 times on holiday so have a good idea of cheap food and local trains for things in the same prefecture it was just the travelling ‘far and wide’ that seems expensive even by night bus

        I have read cases of people actually admitting on the form that they intend to just live in a small aparto in a major city, work as a teacher and travel on weekends, then get their visa get rejected as they are not ‘using the WHV correctly’ but this seems to be the main feasible answer and what the majority actually does (and what I want to do!)

        So I guess the only option is to describe the free traveler life style and only work a little if they actually need to then reality set in and actually stay put and work almost full time in order to have funds to pay rent and the hostel bills ontop on weekends away …. I guess it all just seems a bit dishonest, even if no one will ever check or really cares?

        Anyway it is just me procrastinating pondering ‘don’t you think it’s odd the Japanese visa people expect people to travel around on such a meager amount but have a fixed apartment waiting back for them where they are registered and magically find jobs on the road’ but I am fast learning the Japanese bureaucratic system isn’t the best at making sense.

        Sadly I don’t have any close Gaijin friends in Japan to ask for help finding work, a few vague internet acquaintances at best, but I do have experience as a teaching assistant around EFL students here so am hoping that will lead to some good work and there seems to be a good selection of jobsites to browse

        Thanks again for writing this, and I will continue to use your blog as reference as I get through all this paperwork, might even write a blog of my own once(if) I get it all approved.

        • Paul says:

          Hi Sarah,

          When it comes to your itinerary I totally agree that what they want and what the reality is usually differs quite considerably. Japan is an expensive place and to expect someone to arrive with a minimum of £3000 and attempt to travel nonstop around Japan is rather absurd. I do believe however that the main reason for the itinerary part of the visa application is to confirm the individual is coming for predominantly travel purposes, to experience the culture and learn the language. Alternatively if an individual is planning to go to Japan purely to work long term then they should be applying for a work visa, the itinerary is a way of seeing that the applicant is actually intending on doing something other than work.

          The bureaucratic system is Japan is very different and often seems not not make any sense but thankfully it doesn’t impact on your day to day life, worst thing that happens is they contact you if you have maybe made a mistake or haven’t updated your details but if that happens you just play the silly foreigner card and they’ll happily help you out.

          Anyways I hope you getting it all sorted soon enough, don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.



  14. Richard says:

    I read this article and found it very interesting. I applied for the working holiday visa and I should know if I get it or not by Monday. I didn’t write the person’s address who I am staying with. I hope the embassy does not penalise me for this. It is quite nerve wracking that I might get it or not.

  15. sam houston says:

    hi, paul
    wondering if you have an email address for the consulate in london just so i can get in touch with them regarding my visit down there this month.

  16. Stephanie says:

    Hi there,

    Like a lot of others have said, this has been very helpful! I am a British Citizen however all of my bank accounts are in the United States, I have the funds to support my trip however if they are in US bank accounts and in USD will this be an issue? Am going to the UK to apply for my visa in October and considered opening a bank account there, however I would not have 2 months of statements. Any info would be great! Thank You

    • Paul says:

      Hi Stephanie,

      The main reason behind the request for 2 months of statements is to prove that you have sufficient funds that haven’t be temporarily deposited by a third party for the purpose of the visa request. Since you have adequate funds but the accounts are held in the US I would contact the Japanese embassy by email advising them of your situation and ask their advice on what would be acceptable info to provide. The last thing you want is to come to apply for your visa to have it rejected because you have the wrong or inadequate information. I think they should be able to accept proof of funds from your US accounts but always best to ask.

      In situations like yours it is always best to get an official response from the embassy, should you come to apply and be advised differently by a different person then at least you have proof of an official email detailing the advice and an argument to accept the documentation you have.

      If you need anymore information please don’t hesitate to ask.


  17. Tim says:

    Thank you! Great article! I will use it for my working holiday;)

  18. Chris says:

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for the great advice! I was wondering what you did about travel / health insurance? Did you do this before setting off and if so is there a particular company you’d recommend?



  19. Michael Vidler says:

    Hi Paul

    Thanks for the advice, on this page it was very helpful. just one question, do you have to go and collect the visa in person once it has been approved or can it be posted to you?

    Thanks, Mike

  20. Samual says:

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for the extremely helpful article. I’m planning to head out to Japan in the next coming months so this should be helpful. I wonder if you could help though, my plan for going to Japan is to look for full-time employment while there and hopefully stay in Japan for the foreseeable future. Do you know if it’s possible to upgrade a Working Holiday visa to a full working visa before it expires? Or, maybe even more importantly, are you allowed to get a working holiday visa purely to seek full time employment in the country?

    Again, thanks for the help and hope to hear back from you soon!

    • Paul says:

      Hi Sam,

      Many people who have went to Japan on working holiday visa’s have managed to find full time employment in the English teaching industry. Providing you have the relevant qualifications and find a company willing to certify your visa then you could get change of visa type before your working holiday visa expires, it’s usually known as a specialist in humanities/international services visa and is valid for either 1 or 3 years after which it needs to be renewed. However if you intend to look for a different type of work then I wouldn’t know of what opportunities are available to you. Your not meant to use a working holiday visa for the sole purpose of seeking full time employment however I have heard of some that do.

      If you really want to get a working visa for Japan have you considered applying for a teaching job before you go? There are many companies who help with this and can also help with the visa and your accommodation when you get there. Might be worth considering.

  21. Alice says:

    Hi, thanks for the great guide! I am in the process of applying now but I have been a bit late organizing things and haven’t had the funds i need in my account for 3 months…however I do have more than enough in ISAs like you mentioned you did too so I was just wondering what you did? Did you just print off statements with a mixture of accounts on? Thanks

    • Paul says:

      Hi Alice, Yeah I just ended up printing off screenshots of my internet banking showing the balance in the ISA ect. I did email the embassy first explaining the situation and that is what they advised. I would suggest contacting them by email and just checking what screenshots/info they want first just so when you visit they don’t ask for something you don’t have. 🙂

  22. Pete says:

    Hello, I am after a little advice. Having used this very page all the information given was very clear and very useful and i would like to thank you for that. I now have my visa! Since obtaining it prior xmas 2015 i originally planned to set out end of june but my travel plans have changed and i am now looking to head out end of November this year. Despite the visa being active for a year do i have to let the embassy know of these changes. Many thanks.

    • Paul says:

      Hi Pete, Providing your departure date is within the 1 year window already approved for you then you should have no issues at all that I can think of. If in doubt just send the embassy a quick email asking and I’m sure they will confirm for you that it should be fine.

  23. Jess says:

    Hey, cheers for this it is really helpful! Fingers crossed it all goes okay on our first try!

  24. Matthew Macleod says:


    Is it possible to get a visa outside of the UK ??

    I am in Nz is it possible to go to the embassy over here and try and work something out ??

    • Amanda Adams says:

      Hey Matthew

      Did you end up getting an answer to this? My boyfriend lives in Australia with me but is Scottish. Can he apply for a Japanese Embassy in Australia?

      Thanks 🙂

  25. Jessica says:

    Since I am thinking of applying for a working holiday visa your post is very helpful. I qualify for all the points you listed but I grew up abroad and I don’t have an address in the UK. I checked the website of the embassy and they state that you need to be a resident in the UK to qualify. Could I have any problems because of that?

    Thanks for your help

  26. Waqar ahmad says:

    My name is waqar ahmad … I come from [Pakistan] i.am 20 yare old… Apply for working … My phone.number +923488553365… Very
    very. Good jan japan

  27. Waqar ahmad says:

    My name is waqar ahmad … I come from [Pakistan] i.am 20 yare old… Apply for working … My phone.number +923488553365… Very very. Good jan japan

  28. Jon B says:

    Hey buddy,

    This info was really useful. Quick question, do you know if it is possible to apply from outside of the UK?

    The reason I ask is that I’m currently on my Canadian WHV and ideally would like to nominate someone to take my completed forms etc to the consulate and then post all the completed docs back to me.

    Do you know if this is possible? If so, it would save a potentially expensive trip to the UK.



    • Closkey says:

      Sorry you need to show up in person and it takes at least 1 week to open end to get yours.
      Thats what thay told me when i called them up.

  29. Jay says:

    Hi there,

    Can I extend my visa after one year to working visa. If there is a school that wants to sponsor me. Do I need to apply for a COE. Once I arrive in japan. Do I notify the immigration so they can give me residence

  30. I love the efforts you have put in this, appreciate it for all the great blog posts.

  31. AnnInOsaka says:

    Places to find teaching jobs in for working holiday holders:

    NOVA – English conversation school chain (hire outside and inside of Japan all year round)

  32. Jordan says:

    Thanks for all the useful information.

    Just wanted to ask whether the Visa year starts running down from the moment you are granted it or from the moment you enter Japan?

    Thanks once again

  33. Disraeli says:

    Roughly how long does it take to get a Working Holiday Visa to Japan?


  34. Natalie says:


    I’m Natalie, the coordinator for the #worldscoolestjob campaign for Honestbee.

    We are offering the opportunity for 2 lucky candidates to spend one month (January 2016) in Niseko, Japan where they will have the chance to make use of their social media skills and work with us as a Shopper Bee, which entails shopping and delivering groceries. They will be entitled to USD$10,000 as well as free airfare and lodging.

    The link for the website is here: http://www.worldscoolestjob.com

    The link for our facebook is here: https://www.facebook.com/honestbeejp/

    Could you help us blast this out to the students via email and social media such as Facebook/Twitter/Instagram? The closing date is 18th December 2015. It would be a great help.

    Feel free to contact me if you have any queries.


    Natalie Phay

    Marketing Executive

    Get groceries fast

    http://www.honestbee.com | 2 Alexandra Road, #04-01B, Singapore 159919

    Are you adventurous, fun-loving and social media savvy? Then YOU could be the one honestbee is looking for to hire for a month in Niseko, Japan and score a job contract of US$10,000!

    Your main role will be to grocery shop for our customers in the beautiful powdery landscape of Niseko as well as other on-ground promotional activities.

    Working period: 4th-31st January 2016

    Perks include free round trip air fares, amazing accommodation, skiing and other winter activities for one month in Niseko.

    All you have to do is:

    1) Follow @honestbeejp on Instagram

    2) Upload a 15s video on Instagram in English telling us why we should pick you

    3) Hashtag #‎WorldsCoolestJob and tag @honestbeejp

    4) Top 10 candidates with the most likes will be shortlisted for an interview

    This job application ends on 18th Dec 2015, 11:59pm (GMT+8).

    For more details,visit http://www.worldscoolestjob.com

    For any queries, contact us at worldscoolestjob@honestbee.com

  35. Liam says:

    Thanks for the information.

    I see no one has commented on this for quite some time, but is the 3 month thing still a policy? Does it matter when you apply as I wouldn’t want to miss out. 1000 people per year isn’t much.

    Also, how difficult is it to find work?


    • Valerie says:

      Hi Liam, chanced upon your comment. Maybe check out our Instagram contest at http://www.worldscoolestjob.com as a great option for finding work in Niseko, Japan. We are offering prize money of USD10,000 with flights and accomodation provided. The closing date is 18th December 2015! Looking forward to your entry.

  36. Ben says:

    Thanks for the good advice, it really helped me with my application! I picked my visa up last week in London – I can confirm that the window of validity (for entry) is still 12 months. I applied without a booked airline ticket and the embassy was happy for me to write just my month of departure down.

  37. Victoria says:

    Help! I’m looking for some info. So I’m looking to apply for the working holiday visa as my boyfriend and I are heading out in November, but I keep seeing you HAVE to collect in person after. Please tell me this isn’t true.?

    I am from Northern Ireland,and this would mean flying over twice, and also I can’t really fly without a passport.

    They haven’t really thought this through to make it at all easy for people not living in London or Edinburgh.

    • Paul says:

      Hi Victoria,

      I have heard from several people that the London embassy won’t post the visa/passport back to you but I would contact them by telephone/email and explain your situation, I would be surprised if they didn’t make some kind exception in your case. I hope you manage to get it sorted and enjoy your time in Japan!

      Best of luck!


    • Jack says:

      I was at the Edinburgh one today and mine is getting posted back to me and I live close

    • Neill says:

      Hi Victoria,
      I am also from N.I and just about to apply for working holiday visa. Just wondering how you got on i.e. did they make any special exceptions for you?

      • Victoria says:

        Hey, it took 2 minutes to apply it was really easy but the option they gave me to post my passport was if i gave someone I knew a declaration letter saying I allow the pseron to pick up my passport then, they could post it home for me. Strange that they will just pass my passport over to someone else but hey!. its grand if you know someone living in London

  38. ione says:

    Is proving you have a return flight booked satisfactory or do you have to have proof of funds for three months? The latter would be a problem for me….

  39. Helene says:

    Hello Paul!

    Do you know if it’s possible to apply from Japan?
    I have a Student visa now, but want to change to a Working Holiday visa, but don’t want to waste money going home ( since i am a student, already have a part time job here, and my country Norway will just eat up my money the second i set my foot there…) . On the website it says that it need to be applied at the embassy in Norway, but the embassy doesn’t really do anything other than sending the document to the foreign imigration council ,or what its called , in Japan.

    Some ppl have told me it is enough to just get out of japan, someone even said you can do it from Japan. But if this is a other type of visa with other rules, they wasn’t sure of.

    So if you know enything that would be greate!!

    • AnnInOsaka says:

      Helene, why don’t you just get permission to work? If you are a student you can work up to 27 hrs per week. Ask at the immigration office. Working holiday visas are only issued outside of Japan. Your other option would be to find a company that can sponsor a work visa – although you must have a degree for this.

  40. Jack says:

    Great post Paul!! This will help me when I apply for my visa in October. However, I am slightly worried because I am unsure whether I should mention I have had a job offer or not in a ski resort starting in December. Please could you give me some advice on wether I should state this or just say I want to travel and will “try to attain” a job to fund my travels. Please let me know. 🙂

    • Paul says:

      Hi Jack,

      I wouldn’t get worried about it! Plenty of folks go to Japan to work the ski season on working holidays visas. I would just advise that during your stay you plan on doing some work in the ski resorts to fund your time in Japan and that should suffice, no need to go into great detail. If they need more info they will always ask.

      Best of luck applying for your visa!


  41. Katrina says:

    This article has been so useful, thank you so much! However, I would like to share what happened to me and my partner yesterday. We travelled around three hours to our nearest embassy only to be turned away. We are leaving in November and have been told to come back in September *earliest*. We were told the window is only three months, and the man we spoke to thought even that was far too much notice to give. Please all bear this in mind – it was a day off work wasted and a long way to go to be told to leave again!!

    • Paul says:

      Sorry to hear you were turned away… can I ask what embassy you visited? I’ve now heard on a few occasions people being advised they can’t apply for their visa more than 3 months in advance even tho there is no mention of this on the Japanese visa website. I find this particularly strange given many travellers will often travel for a period of 3 months between leaving the uk and arriving in Japan. I believe in one of the previous comments someone advised they were granted the visa more than 3 months before departing because of their travel arrangements.

      I will add an amendement to the guide for anyone applying in future. I would also always suggest contacting the consulate before hand if travelling a considerable distance to make sure you are not going to have any difficulty.

      I wish you the best of luck when you can apply for your visa and should you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to ask.

  42. Katrina says:

    Such a useful article, thanks! However I want to clarify that you should only travel to the embassy and apply for your visa within three months before you plan on going and no sooner!! My boyfriend and I travelled around three hours to ours today and were turned away, told to come back in September (we are heading off in November).

  43. Dom says:

    This was an excellent guide for me and my girlfriend Amy who are heading out to Japan this winter. What we didn’t know was that you can only apply for a working holiday visa no more than three months prior to your arrival date in Japan. However they made an exception due to our plans to go traveling before hand. We had to write a statement as to why we were applying early, we wrote down all our intended travel plans with as much detail as possible. We didn’t have an exact leaving date or flights from the UK but that didn’t seem to matter. Hope this helps.

  44. World Unite! says:

    Hello to all you Tokyo enthusiasts!

    We organise Working Holidays in Tokyo in various fields – write in to us, and we support you with everything you need to find a Working Holiday job in this fascinating city. We also have a house in central Tokyo (Koto-ku, Shiohama 2-chome), where we rent single, double and dorm rooms at very competitive rates. You receive complete on ground support from us, including Intercultural preparation before you get to the city. Hope to see you soon!

    World Unite!

  45. Snowberry says:

    Hi! Just want to share my experience after applying today. Seems things have changed a bit, namely:

    1.) On the application form I had put my ‘reason for going to Japan’ as ‘holiday/travel’, and the lady I spoke to asked me to add ‘working holiday’ in brackets. So writing ‘holiday’, etc., is not going to be accepted, make sure you only put ‘working holiday’ in that spot.

    2.) I bought a pre-paid special delivery envelope so that the embassy could send my passport back to me rather than me having to go back and collect it. I had read online that a couple of other people had done the same thing.

    However, when I got there I was told that they do not post back passports and that I would have to come back in a week and collect in person. The lady who served me clapped eyes on the packet and informed me that it was no good before I could even ask about it, so it would seem that other people have tried the same thing quite a few times.

    So DO NOT BRING A PRE-PAID SPECIAL DELIVERY ENVELOPE WHEN YOU VISIT THE EMBASSY, you’ll just be wasting your money. Expect to have to collect your passport/visa in person! If you live a great distance away from London, I would make sure to telephone them first and ask if an exception is made for people who live a long way away. If not, I would make sure to plan to make two trips to London, or stay a week.

    3.) I was asked to change the date of arrival in Japan to a day or two earlier. Apparently your arrival date has to be within three months of the day in which you are making the application. Anything later will have to be changed (she tip-ex’d the date and I wrote in a new one). Whether or not this means that they have changed the departure window from twelve months to three I don’t know, but I will ask again when I go to pick up my passport (hopefully with the visa inside). So if you go to the embassy on, say, May 1st, your written arrival date should be no later than August 1st. ~You do not have to have booked anything~.

    4.) Finally, I was told that the fee would be £17! Yay! But it must be brought in cash and you must bring the exact amount as they don’t give change.

    It’s possible that some of these things might be different depending on who serves you, but to be honest I think it’s better to be safe than sorry.

    • Ray says:


      Please can you let us know if the departure window has changed to 3 months as I believe that may have an impact on some of our applications.

      Many thanks

  46. Alex says:

    Hi Paul,

    I just wanted to say a big thank you for writing this guide. I will be applying soon.


  47. BMarshalluk says:

    Would like to offer my thanks, after using this website to help get through my Holiday Visa Application. Sitting here, now looking at my completed documents, I am surprised I managed to get myself into such a worry. But some of the wording from what was expected, especially on the application form, as well as the emphasis on NOT WORKING during my trip, had me a little worried that I would not complete this process completely.

    But finding your website answered all of my questions, and helped. See any of the fellow travellers here in Japan this winter for some skiing!.

  48. Harriet says:

    Great advice – cheers Paul!

  49. Neil says:

    Great post Paul. Really helped me when I was applying.

    I’ve also wrote up my experience of applying at the London embassy http://thoughtsfromplac.es/how-to-get-a-japanese-working-holiday-visa/

  50. Kerry says:

    Thank you so much for this information, I am too planning on applying for a working holiday visa from the UK and this has cleared everything up!

  51. Gemma says:

    Just wanted to say thanks for the great advice! I was getting a bit panicked about the application process after reading a few other blogs, but it really was as straightforward as you say, and now I’m off to Japan in April 😀 (hopefully everything else will go as smoothly!!).

  52. boobooSKI says:

    Hi there! Great post – I just wanted to share with you all that we’ve just finished a comprehensive guide about doing a Working Holiday in Japan, and thought you might find it useful! 🙂


    Have an amazing time in Nippon,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *