Japan is one of the few countries member of the Working Holiday Program for which you have to submit your application in person and not online. Although free of charge I had several papers to gather in order to complete my file for the embassy of Japan in Paris:
a medical certificate
my passport and its photocopy
an official visa form supplied online on the embassy website
an ID photo
a written proof from the bank that I possessed 4500€ on my account OR 3100€ plus the round trip plane ticket for Japan.
a letter detailling my interests and objectives in Japan
a Curriculum Vitae
a detailed program of my stay
/!\ I made my application in 2014 in France, some documents or requirements might have change or are different in other countries /!\
The Official Visa Form
Basically its a form in which I had to state my civil status, current professional situation, a few basic information on my intended stay in Japan.
The Cover Letter
Writting a cover letter is always difficult and comes with a lot of questions. How should I organise it? How long should it be? And how deep should I go into my explanations?
In the end my letter included 402 words and was structured as such:
First my name, nationality and age.
Then a list establishing clearly and simply my goals: 1) discovering Japan, its culture – 2) Improving my knowledge of the language. Here the reader must have an easy understanding of your main arguments at first glance. If you speak Japanese (even a little) state it here: usually people tend to skim through a cover letter. But speaking Japanese is a crucial element in getting your application validated [*] so it is important to say so before the reader gets bored.
Following paragraph I explained in three sentences how and when my interest for Japan has started and grown. At this stage it is alright to talk about your interest in manga and anime (if you have any). But you must explain how you have grown from these hobbies to something else (for my part it turned into going to a university of languages and obtaining a degree in Japanese).
The next paragraph (five sentences) explained how I have turn my first interest into a professional project. Don’t hesitate here to use a precise example: how you’ve developed a special interest into an historical period/character/art etc… and how you intend to include this point of study in your trip and your current or futur profession.
Last paragraph is the conclusion and how a Working Holiday Visa fitted in my personal and professional project.
The Detailed Program of Stay
Here is my own program but all rents and wages indicated here are outdated since I made my application in 2014.
What the Embassy is really looking for here is the proof that you have the ressources to find a job. You do not have to get a job before your departure but you must show you know were to look. When writing your program you must include some links to online job offers or establisments currently hiring. Same goes for the sharehouses you quote in your program. Don’t hesitate to print some of these offer to hand over with your file.
Be careful when writing your program your intended income should be high enough to cover your intended rent. Moreover when I handed this program I was asked to reduced my intended work hour from 30h/week to 20h/week.
[*]You shall speak Japanese
When applying for a working holiday visa in Japan you must know that Japanese do not speak English. Of course speaking English will probably be one of the main reasons you will be hired in Japan but speaking Japanese is essential in order to speak with your colleagues, boss and fill in any documents. Thus an embassy is more willing to give a Working Holiday Visa to someone who can prove he or she have at least a basic level in Japanese. So if you have studied Japanese in high school, at the university (even optional classes) or evening classes don’t hesitate to put it forward in your resume and cover letter.
For more information: Budget for a WHV in Japan
I hope this article will help you in building up your application.
Read you soon!