Cultural Activities

(amended in July, 2012)

Status of Residence called “Cultural Activities (文化活動 Bunka-katsudo)” is applied to those who intend to engage in academic studies and research or study and learn activities which are peculiar to Japan and Japanese culture with no pay.

Japan’s Immigration Office grants you “Cultural Activities” visa status depending on what you wish to study and learn in Japan and whether you have an experience in the field of related activities as well as you are capable of living without pay during your stay in Japan.

You may not earn money from the activities in Japan while you stay under “Cultural Activities” visa status. However, you may engage in a pert-time job if you obtain “Permission to Engage in Other Activity (Shikakugai-Katsudou Kyoka)”.
>> Permission to Engage in Other Activity (Shikakugai-Katsudou Kyoka)

Examples of Activities

Study and Research activities of professors or internship with no pay, Artistic activities, Studying and learning of Ikebana (Japanese flower arrangement), Sadou (Japanese tea ceremony), Japanese architecture, Japanese painting, Japanese dancing, Japanese cuisine, Japanese music, Japanese penmanship/calligraphy, Soroban, Zen (Buddhism), Judo, Karate, Mixed Martial Arts (i.e. Shooto)

NOTE

This visa would not be issued if you are planning to learn the Japanese culture like twice per week for 2 hours each during you stay in Japan. The period of lessen/class is not specified, however, your major activities in Japan should be to engage in learning the Japanese culture.

BASIC REQUIREMENTS for Cultural Activities

Basically, you should be applicable to the requirement below;

  • You will not earn any income by engaging the activity in Japan.
  • Type of activity you are going to take should be acceptable to the activity allowed under the Cultural Activities visa and the curriculum of lessons/classes must be well organized for learning the Japanese culture.
  • The period of lessen/class is not specified, however, your major activities in Japan should be to engage in learning the Japanese culture. This visa would not be issued if you are planning to learn the Japanese culture like twice per week for 2 hours each during you stay in Japan.
  • You are capable of living without pay during your stay in Japan.

【1】TYPES OF ACTIVITY IN JAPAN and the REASON WHY YOU WANT TO LEARN IT

Your intended activity in Japan has to be as one of the following:

  • Academic activities with no pay.
  • Artistic activities with no pay.
  • Exclusive studies and activities regarding Japanese-oriented culture, arts and crafts.
  • Learning activities instructed by the professionals and experts regarding Japanese-oriented culture, arts and crafts.

Also, the lesson/classed must be well organized for learning the Japanese culture.

【2】CAPABILITY OF LIVING IN JAPAN WITHOUT PAY

You need to be capable of living without pay during your stay in Japan – you have to certify that you can afford to live without pay. If other person will take care of your living expenses in Japan, you have to certify it by the relevant documents. You cannot earn any income under this visa status except you obtain Permission to Engage in Other Activity (Shikakugai-katsudou Kyoka)

【3】HOST ORGANIZATION/PERSON and the CURRICULUM

If you study or learn Japanese-oriented culture and so on, the curriculum of the school/lessons shall be acceptable as Cultural Activities. Also, you should learn it from a professional and expert who have engaged in teaching and instructing in the same field as well as have the license, title or degree.

Your visa application must be sponsored by one of those schools/professionals/experts who is willing to provide the lessons/classes to you in Japan based on their specific curriculum/schedule, so you must find the school/person who can sponsor your visa application in advance.

NOTE

Possible other visa status depending on the situation: Student (留学), Trainee (研修), Professor (教授), Researcher (研究)

PROCEDURES

In case you are currently residing outside Japan yet or you are staying in Japan as a temporary visitor:
>> COE Application

In case you have been in Japan under specific status and holding Residence Card already:
>> Change of Visa Status

BASIC REQUIRED DOCUMENTS

You are required to prepare documents which certify that the contents of the application are true and correct. Necessary documents are varied depending on the situation of each applicant and the host organization/company, however, it shall be as follows:

(1) Evidence regarding the applicant’s activities in Japan

  • Documents which certify your activities and the period of stay in Japan.
  • Explanation for the reason why you want learn the Japanese culture in Japan and how the activity relates to your experience in the past and the future.
  • Leaflet, website, or related documents which certify the overview and curriculum of the host organization

(2) Evidence regarding your academic/artistic background and achievement in the field of the related activities you intend to engage in Japan.

  • Letter of Invitation from related organization
  • News or articles related to the activities
  • Results of winning prizes
  • List of the past research papers, theses, works or articles
  • Other related documents

(3) Evidence which shows the capability of living in Japan without pay

  • Certificate of Scholarship if applicable
  • Bank Certificate or Bank Statement under your name or the name of person who takes care of your living expenses in Japan
  • Other related documents

(4) In case of learning Japanese-oriented culture, arts, and crafts; the evidence of the professionals and experts

  • Copy of Licenses
  • Research papers/essays and works
  • Resume, C/V

NOTE

  • All the documents written in foreign languages need to attach Japanese translation.
  • Additional documents may be required during the screening at the Immigration Office after submitting the application.
  • Some documents may be exempted in case your visa sponsor is classified under categories as follows: 1) listed company, 2) the total amount of annual withholding tax on the latest “Records for Salary Payment and Withholding Tax” counts more than 15 million JPY, 3) your visa sponsor can submit a copy of the latest “Records for Salary Payment and Withholding Tax”.
  • Any certificate of Japanese authorities (Tax/Income Certificate, Certificate of Residence, Certificate of Company Register etc.) has to be the one issued within 3 months before the date of application.

PERIOD OF STAY

Each visa status has the expiration date – you can stay in Japan under the visa status during the specific period stated on Residence Card issued by Immigration Office.

Period of stay shall be decided by Immigration Office depends on the applicant’s circumstance, and it shall be either of 3 years, 1 year, 6 months, or 3 months. The period of stay is granted by the Immigration Office based on each case and situation.

In case you wish to extend the period of stay granted, you may apply for Extension of Period of Stay before the expiry date.
>> EXTENSION OF PERIOD OF STAY (VISA RENEWAL)

In case you would like to travel outside Japan temporarily under the visa status.
>> Re-Entry Permit

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