Update: as of 2016, tourists and foreign residents in Japan can now apply for a visa at the Chinese Visa Application Service Center so you no longer have to use a travel agency.

If you’re a foreigner living in Japan (not a tourist) you can no longer apply for a Chinese tourist visa (type L) direct from the Chinese embassy in Tokyo (although type F business visas are still available). Despite conflicting information on their website you will be given the number of a travel agency who charge more than double the going rate than the embassy (10,000 ¥ vs 4,000 ¥).

Embassies in many countries seem to be doing this in recent years but it feels a lot like a money-making racketeering scam and the only thing you can do is shop around to find the cheapest travel agency (as opposed to the embassy recommended one).

After a bit of research online I found Weston (ウエストン) in Roppongi who can apply on your behalf and charge a more modest fee. While their website is only in Japanese, some of their staff speak basic English. There are many different lengths of visa you can apply for but here’s the most straight forward:

Single Entry 30-day Tourist Visa (L)

  • Non-Japanese/US citizens: 6,500 ¥ (4 days) / 9,500 ¥ (2 days)
  • US citizens: 18,000 ¥ (4 days) / 22,000 ¥ (2 days)

The high fees for Americans are reciprocal charges levied because of the high price for Chinese to get US visas.


  • Passport with at least 6 months till expiry
  • Passport photo on light background
  • Copy of Japan resident card
  • Copy of return flight tickets
  • Copy of hotel reservation or invitation letter from a Chinese national (when staying at their home)


株式会社 ウエストン (Weston Ltd.)

〒 106-0031
Tokyo, Minato-ku, Nishi-Azabu 3-1-18
Roppongi Newborn Building 4F

Phone: 03-3403-0661
Office hours: 9am to 6pm (Mon-Fri), 10am to 2pm (Sat)

You could go to their office directly or make an appointment by filling in their online form (Japanese only). Payment can be made by cash at their office with an additional fee if you want your passport to be delivered somewhere.

Hope this helps and leave a comment below if you have any other recommendations or questions.


  1. H says:

    Long post: Non Japanese citizen in Japan getting visa for China as at 21st Sept 2016

    The closest train station is Hiroo-head out exit one, turn left at the top of the stairs and the first street on the left. Follow that road all the way around, past the park on your right for about 7minutes. The embassy is also on the right(marked by guards). Visa applications are from 0900-1200. If you are limited with time, get there early. By 0900 there’s a line on the street. (I tried to get a visa for China in Bangkok the week prior-beware of local AND Chinese public holidays that impact embassy hours)The embassy was not open on Saturday when I was there.
    You’ll pass through security-so have your pockets emptied etc in preparation. They will also want to see your passport before you enter.
    Go to level 3 to information desk first and show them your documents, they will ask you to photocopy your Japanese landing permit in your passport and also your main passport page if you haven’t already done this. There are photocopiers there-they take 10yen per page. Info will also give you a ticket and you wait your turn.
    I got to the counter, gave them my passport, completed Chinese visa application(download it from interwebs), proof of inbound and outbound flights, accommodation confirmation and insurance certificate.

    They will ask you to complete your passport receipt slip-they will ask you for a Japanese phone number in case they have issues with your application(I didn’t have one) they won’t email you and coming back in to check isn’t acceptable either. If you think there might be potential issues it could pay to get a throw away sim at the airport(this is not Thailand-I found them impossible to find outside the airport).
    Picking up your visa occurs on level on 1. You go to lane 4, give them your receipt, they will pull your passport out and give it to their colleague in lane 6. They give you a bill and a chip(looks like a poker chip). You then go to the machines opposite and insert the required money as shown on your receipt(yen and cash only-no cards). I spent several minutes trying to figure out where this poker chip doobalacky thing went into the machine-it doesn’t. You just insert your $ and then press the corresponding amount as shown on the machine buttons. It gives you a receipt for payment. Take your poker chip, receipts and head to lane 6. They will show you your visa in your passport and jobs done.
    To note: express service was submit between 9-12 one day then pick it up they next day between 9-12. They will not do a same day turnaround.
    Photo booths on level 1 if you need new passport photos
    Take 10 yen coins for photocopier in case they ask you to photocopy anything
    You pay for your visa on pickup not drop off-cash only
    If you are lined up outside awaiting security clearance stay to the right side of the path to allow pedestrians to still access the path-security will move you across if not.
    This price was for australian express.
    Good luck

    • Dominic Gibson, Akasaka says:

      That’s a perfect Long Tan Post thanks H. If there is necessary detail, I like good Glen McGrath line and length and you have delivered plenty of it.

      I have now resolved all the conflicting information I have come across and you have answered every nuance that has run through my head while procrastinating to avoid the preparation and the visit to get this visa.

      I’ve got everything now and you have given me certainty. Much appreciated!

      Don’t ‘spose i should hit the Roppongi Vulture Bars as a means of staying up and getting towards the front of the queue around 8am – I imagine a dim view would be taken of the vapours emanating from my gob!

      • A says:

        Hi there! Any luck getting that visa?

        I am a non-Japanese citizen (currently studying in Hong Kong) and will be in Japan for the next 2+ weeks. I am hoping to go China shortly afterwards and the only way to get a visa will be while I am in Japan. Were you both successful in getting yours while in Tokyo? How long was the non-express turnaround?


  2. Sangeetha says:

    Hi, I’m a student who is studying in Sapporo. I like to travel in china for two weeks to visit my friend. Can I apply for Chinese tourist visa.. If I can, How should I do it?

  3. Julius says:

    Update 17.03.2017
    I just went to the Chinese embassy in Tokyo yesterday and they told me it is not possible anymore for foreigners to apply directly at the embassy. So you have to do it through the “Chinese Visa Application Service Center” (visaforchina.org) which is 9000 Yen. Weston apparently raised their prices and it is now 14000 Yen for the 30 days Tourist visa.

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