Cultural Activities

Before you look through this page, be sure to check Overview of Japanese Immigration System page in order to learn the basic information for visa application. >> Overview of Japanese Immigration System


Status of Residence called "Cultural Activities (文化活動 Bunka-katudou)" 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 "Shikakugai-katsudou Kyoka: Permission to Engage in Other Activity". >> 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)

In order to apply for "Cultural Activities" visa status, you must satisfy all of criteria and requirements listed on the following page: Criteria and Requirements. After that, you need to confirm whether you may satisfy the requirement for "Cultural Activities" visa status. >> Requirements for "Cultural Activities" visa status.

Then, you should prepare necessary documents in order to certify your qualifications for the visa status. The documents should be different depending on your situation and the hosting organization/company, however, you may refer to the following: >> Necessary Documents.

Considering your eligibility for Cultural Activities in all aspects, Immigration Office will grant you Cultural Activities status to reside in Japan with an authorized period of stay. >> Period of Stay

Necessary Procedures at Immigration Office

In case you are outside Japan yet or you are staying in Japan as a temporary visitor, you must take a step called "Certificate of Eligibility (COE) Application" first.

>> Types of Procedures: Certificate of Eligibility (COE) Application

In case you already have been in Japan under other type of visa status, you need to take a step called "Change of Status of Residence".

>> Types of Procedures: Change of Status of Residence

Requirements for "Cultural Activities" visa status

Basically, you shall be applied to the requirement below if you acquire this visa:

  • You will not earn any income by engaging the activity in Japan.
  • You can certify by supporting documents that you have an experience related to your desired activity in Japan.
  • The curriculum which you are going to attend shall be acceptable as Cultural Activities.
  • You are capable of living without pay during your stay in Japan.


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.


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)


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

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

Necessary 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 hosting 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.
  • Leaflet, website, or related documents which certify the overview and curriculum of the hosting organization

(2) Evidence regarding your academic/artistic background and archievement 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 essays, 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
  • Essays and works
  • Resume, C/V
  • All the documents written in foreign languages need to attach Japanese translation.
  • Additional documents may be required during the screening at Immigration Office.
  • Some documents may be omitted in case the hosting organization is classified under categories as follows: 1) listed company, 2) the total amount of annual withholding tax on the latest "Withholding Records and Payment Records" counts more than 15 million JPY, 3) the hosting organization which can submit a copy of the latest "Withholding Records and Payment Records".
  • Any certificate has to be issued within 3 months before the date of application.

(amended in July, 2012)

Period of Stay

Each visa status has the expiration date – you can stay in Japan with the visa during the specific period stated on Residence Card issued by Immigration Office. Period of stay depends on the case, however, it shall be either of 3 years, 1 year, 6 months, or 3 months.

If you intend to stay in Japan under the same visa status after the expiration date, you may apply for "Extension of Period of Stay" 2 months before the expiration date. >> How to Apply for "Extension of Period of Stay"

If you travel outside Japan during the period of stay and reenter Japan, you need to obtain Special Re-entry Permission or Re-entry Permission depending on how long you will stay outside Japan. >> Check out Special Re-entry Permit or Re-entry Permit

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