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Posts Tagged ‘Japanese Tourist Visa’

Photo #3 – Japan Tourist Visas, How 90 Days Means 91 Days

Asiana jet at Incheon - Seoul, Korea's international airport

This photo corresponds with Episode 2 of the Savage Japan Podcast. Episode 2 can be heard here at SavageJapan.com or here at SavageSnowPodcast.com.


Note:
This is an unusually lengthy journal entry primarily dealing with the 90 day vs. 91 day interpretation of the entry restriction for US citizens visiting Japan. You might want to skip along to some more fun entries here on the site unless you are planning to try to stay in Japan at or near the maximum period allowed. :-)

South Korea’s Asiana Airlines had the best price for this 3 month period in which I will be traveling to and from Japan. By the time I booked my flight, the price savings had grown even larger by a few hundred dollars when compared to the ever increasing prices available using US based airlines.

Though I originally acquired a ticket for a trip that would have me return on my 90th day, a change in Asiana’s service had them calling me to move the return date, allowing me to choose to add one more day to my itinerary. This could be a potential problem since I can only be in Japan legally for 90 days according to Japan’s rules. There is quite a bit of confusion about how to interpret exactly what 90 days means. Most people understandably think 90 days means 90 days, but it does not. It actually means 91 days, or parts of 91 days.

The specifics of when you must exit Japan

Even a native Japanese travel agent I have used a few times before in the US and who specializes in selling tickets to gaijin does not know the answer to when one must really be out of Japan. He advises all visitors to leave by their 90th day (within 90 days of arriving). There is also a lot of incorrect noise on this issue being posted on the Internet. People warn of dire consequences if you do not get out within 90 days of your arrival. The truth is you must be out of Japan 90 days from the date of your arrival. You are allowed 91 days on the calendar as a US citizen entering Japan without a visa.

Fortunately, I had one of the newer style Japan entry stickers in my passport from my last trip to Japan, a trip that was for only 2 weeks. The final maximum duration exit date allowed for that entry into the country was clearly marked, and when I did the math I got 91 days (90 days from date of arrival) as the true maximum period allowed in Japan.

I was so confidant that I was safe and correct about the “within 90 days of arrival” vs. “90 days from arrival” issue that I originally planned to book my return for the 91st day. However, to add one more day happened to cause the Asiana ticket price to jump dramatically in this particular instance.

I ended up getting the return date I wanted anyway when Asiana called me later to change my return flight. My original flight was apparently canceled or overbooked; Asiana would not reveal the precise reason they needed to change my return date. I chose to come back a day later instead of a day earlier, and the new itinerary will now cause me to be in Japan the better part of 91 days. I would have lost 2 days in Japan if I had not known that it was indeed 91 days that is allowed for US citizens, because I would have thought I had to choose an earlier instead of later return date when Asiana called to ask me to select a new date.

You can listen to Episode 2 of the podcast, at either SavageJapan.com or SavageSnowPodcast.com, to find out how the math added up on my entry sticker exit date this time around, and to find out if things are looking rosy for me to get out in time to preserve my good standing with the Japanese Immigration Bureau.
Obviously, it is safer to plan on exiting Japan within 90 days, and that is what I would advise others to do and it may be what I do on future long visits to Japan, instead of pushing for the potential maximum 91 days. There could always be unplanned delays getting out of the country, but I couldn’t resist maximizing this first 3 month visit by claiming every minute possible.

For some travelers, a small drawback to flying with Asiana might be a potential long layover at Seoul’s Airport in Incheon, Korea. This flight involved a delay of 4 hours at Incheon.

I have connected at Incheon before and had overnight hotel layovers in neighboring Seoul several times on trips to China using Asiana’s larger competitor, Korean Air. Incheon is one of the more pleasant airports I have passed through, so I didn’t mind spending a few hours there in exchange for the value of a much lower fare to Japan. Incheon has free and fast wireless Internet available throughout the airport (unlike the always pitifully weak and slow free service at Denver’s airport), so I was able to be productive. I also used the time to experiment with making a few calls back to the US using my new paid Skype account that allows calling directly to telephones from a computer. That low cost service from Skype seems to be working out very nicely and should be a great asset to me during this 3 month adventure in Japan.

Of interest to some…
Another benefit to flying with this Korean based airlines, for male persons such as myself, has to do with the seemingly politically incorrect hiring practices of Asian airline companies.

The flight attendants are almost always female, and the girls hired for those positions by most Asian airline companies are often… exceptionally charming. :-)

Photo Details: Early morning at Seoul’s Incheon airport, a Sky Chef employee loads my breakfast onto the plane that will soon carry me to Japan.

Japan Photo Journal – Living in Japan
Dan Savage [Email]

Grab anywhere on map to scroll around precise spot where above photo was taken. Zoom in & out with buttons in left corner. To learn more about geotagging your own photos, visit LearningtoGeotag.com.

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Photo #1 – A Brief Introduction

Dan Savage at Lake Dillon in Summit County, Colorado

This photo corresponds with Episode 1 of the Savage Japan Podcast. Episode 1 can be heard here at SavageJapan.com or here at SavageSnowPodcast.com.


My name is Dan Savage. I’m a multimedia artist, athlete, and filmmaker heading to Japan for what I hope will be the first of many 3 month adventures there in the coming years. I’ll be exploring, studying, podcasting, kayaking, snowboarding, mountain biking, photographing, writing, investing, and mostly… just trying to have fun.

Why 3 months at a time?
There are 2 reasons. First, that is the longest period of time a US citizen can conveniently remain in Japan per visit without a special visa. Secondly, that is about the longest period of time presently that I would want to be away from other obligations and creative pursuits in Colorado.

Photos
I expect to be behind the camera, not in front of it, for most of the photos featured in this “Living in Japan” photo journal. A visiting friend took this picture of me in my Colorado neighborhood recently, and I thought it would be a nice image for a first entry introducing myself and referencing the environment I’m leaving for Japan.

The photo was taken at Lake Dillon as a storm approached Summit County. I moved to the Rocky Mountains a few years ago to begin the development of my own little independent film project that will be shot here. More than any other place in the world now, Colorado feels like home to me.

I’ll be collecting GPS data as I take photos throughout Japan, so you’ll be able to see precise locations here on interactive maps beneath all the photos.

Japan
I have never been more connected or suited to a place than I am to the mountains of Colorado, but even since childhood I’ve been drawn to and intrigued by Japan. I hope this site is of interest to others who are fascinated by the culture, design, architecture, language, and people of Japan.

I’m extremely excited to have the chance to begin Living in Japan – 3 Months at a Time. You’re welcome to come along with me here at JapanPhotoJournal.com as well as listen to this site’s companion Japan soundseeing podcast recordings at SavageJapan.com. You can also hear the same Japan podcast recordings at the main Savage Snow podcast site that includes all the Japan content plus a few other adventures from Colorado and around the world. The complete podcast is available at SavageSnowPodcast.com. If you’re interested, my main site that links to most everything I’m doing online these days, including the Japan content, is SavageSnow.com.

Japan Photo Journal – Living in Japan
Dan Savage [Email]

Grab anywhere on map to scroll around precise spot where above photo was taken. Zoom in & out with buttons in left corner. To learn more about geotagging your own photos, visit LearningtoGeotag.com.

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