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My sister and I have always been interested in Japanese culture. We want to plan a 20-day sightseeing trip (no group tours, just us two with our own itinery). We are Indian citizens, living in Goa, India, with current Indian passports. My questions are:

  1. Other than a roundtrip air ticket, a Japanese tourist visa, and hotel arrangements, do I need anything else?

  2. Will India request that we have to be "sponsored" by someone in Japan, in order to allow us to go to Japan for a vacation? (we do not know anyone in India).

  3. Is there a definitive source I can go to research further?

(the two travel agencies in Goa, India, say that we have to be "sponsored" by someone in the country we want to visit (ie Japan, USA) in order to vacation in that country. these agencies then say that the sponsors must prove all sorts of financial security and provide all sorts of personal identifying information, such as their (the sponsor's) taxes for the last 3 years, their identification, their bank records, etc). This does not make sense to me. Please advise.

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    As far as I understand you don't need anyone else to sponsor you as long as you can sponsor yourself. You just need to prove to the embassy that you will not be a liability on the country and will not attempt illegal immigration. All this detail might be required for the tourist visa, if you already have the tourist visa, I don't seem to see the problem... – Aditya Somani Aug 24 '14 at 4:18
  • I'm fairly sure what the agencies told you is total crap, girls! So don't worry about it. Japan has about 9-11 million tourists in total, each year, from all around the world. Suggestion: just telephone the Japanese embassy or consulate in your town if you're really worried. – Fattie Aug 24 '14 at 15:21
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    I assume you meant: "We do not know anyone in Japan" in Q2. That said, there may be a demand to prove you actually live in India and plan to return there after the trip (i.e. prove you're tourists instead of illegal immigrants) – MSalters Aug 25 '14 at 14:50
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As me and the others mentioned in the comments earlier,

You don't need anyone else to sponsor you as long as you can sponsor yourself. You just need to prove to the embassy that you will not be a liability on the country and will not attempt illegal immigration.

All this detail might be required for the tourist visa, if you already have the tourist visa, there wouldn't be any problems.

If you are worried, a good idea is to call the Japanese embassy.

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The Mumbai consulate has instructions that aren't as clear as the ones provided here by the Embassy of Japan:

SHORT-TERM VISA     (A stay of up to 90 days for tourism, business, attending conference, visiting friends, etc., that does not include paid activities.)     
(1) TOURIST VISA - Required Documents 
      Self-arranged visit 
  1.Application with Photo; 
  2.Passport; 
  3.Travel Booking (Travel itinerary and Hotel Booking); 
  4.Document to prove ability to pay for travel expenses - 
    (a) Latest Income Tax Return; 
    (b) Bank Statements of last 6 months

The Mumbai consulate does mention having an invitation and a guarantor, so you may need to clarify with them if that information is needed when you plan to self-fund your stay.

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