While the process of obtaining a visa to enter Japan is largely simpler than the requirements for entering a variety of other nations, the process can appear complex and thus visitors and those relocating should review the latest visa information on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Web site at http://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa/index.html#visa1.
Those seeking education or training in Japan have a generally simple application process to follow (for cultural activity training, college students, pre-college students, industrial or company training, and interns will all be applying for a “General Visa”) and includes submission of your passport, visa application(s) (available here: http://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa/pdfs/application_all.pdf – nationals of Russia and NIS countries must submit two application forms), a recent photograph(s) at the dimensions specified in the application (nationals of Russia and NIS countries must submit two photographs), and a Certificate of Eligibility (if possible).
A Certificate of Eligibility, which is issued by proxy (in many cases to a representative of your school or training program in Japan), helps to ease the visa application and landing process. The certificate is not a requirement, but without the documentation, the immigration authorities in Japan may request additional information with your application and the processing could take several months. More information on the Certificate of Eligibility can be found here: http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/english/index.html.
To apply for a visa extension (which must be done every three years) visit your Regional Immigration Bureau (for contact details, please visit: http://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa/inquire.html). Typically obtaining a visa extension for those already possessing general visas requires your passport, visa application form (which can be obtained at the Immigration Bureau), a recent photograph, and a copy of your transcript or other proof of ongoing education. Other requirements may be necessary depending upon your nationality and can be inquired about at the contact details provided at the Web site above. Visa renewals average two to three weeks to complete.