It appears that as of Oct. 11th (ie, Tuesday) the rules regarding tourist travel to Japan have changed. My understanding if that as of the 11th (or perhaps 12th) you can

  • assuming you're from a "blue" country
  • assuming you have a full 3+ injections covid vax

it's perfectly fine to just arrive in Japan ("as in the old days") with no visa, and, you can stay as a tourist for awhile.

However, I actually called a couple different airlines and ... they didn't have a clue about this :/ Which is not encouraging.

Airline experts, could it be that this information is perhaps not yet on Timatic? Or?

Does any one happen to know,

  • in fact if one can fly visa-free to Japan (after the 11th) is there an electronic-visa type arrangement? Or do you literally just roll up to Haneda with a (blue country) passport and you can visit?

  • does anyone know why, apparently, the "11th" change seems unknown to airlines, as of yet? (Of course, it could have just been a rare snafu w/ the agents I talked to, as always can happen.)

Addendum. As of early Nov (2022), this seems to be fixed.

Just for the sake of anyone actually flying, I added this addendum.

It was definitely not-fixed for three weeks. Incredible!

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    Timatic is up to date, checking for the 12th for a French citizen for instance says travel does not require a visa. See iatatravelcentre.com/… for details.
    – jcaron
    Oct 6, 2022 at 20:34
  • @jcaron (i) thank you so much, i had absolutely no idea there was consumer access to the timatic data .. (ii) what the heck, I just tried with "UK" and it said NO, you need a visa. (iii) I also started fresh and tried with "France" and indeed it said NO, you need a visa. how strange ...
    – Fattie
    Oct 6, 2022 at 20:57
  • I’m on my phone and don’t really want to answer again the 100 questions but it clearly told me that I didn’t need a visa and only the test or vaccination proof blah blah blah. What dates did you enter? Did you enter anything in the countries recently travelled to? There are lots of sites giving access to Timatic though this one asks the most questions so should give the most accurate answers. I usually check on the Emirates website otherwise as it only has 3 questions or so, but it doesn’t allow entering a date (I suppose it takes today).
    – jcaron
    Oct 6, 2022 at 21:03
  • Thanks. How strange. Yeah after it didn't work for me, trying UK. I tried France. In fact I specifically tried it "departing from France" as well as "from other places" (to see if any difference). In all cases I chose no stopovers and NO countries visited in recent years. What a bummer. It could be some weird cache-web problem, I will try on a clean machine, and try the other sites you mention. TY
    – Fattie
    Oct 6, 2022 at 21:11
  • 1
    @Fattie it works for me too - If I enter arrival date of Oct 10 it says NO, if I change to arrival date of Oct 11 it says YES
    – Midavalo
    Oct 6, 2022 at 21:31

1 Answer 1


(Thursday night)

I'm putting in an answer based on info gleaned so far.

It would appear there is a major mistake in Timatic's data.

(1) I could be mistaken but it clearly states on this official source that "UK" is included in visa free travel:


(2) As of now, go to any timatic gateway and simply enter UK (passport) UK (resident) UK (departing) and Japan destination ... date after the 12th (or any date) and it asserts you DO NEED a visa.

Strange stuff!

That is a massive problem if so. No airline will sell a ticket if timatic says no.

Friday morning ...

All Timatic fed sites still report that UK travellers need a visa:

enter image description here

This does seem to be simply "completely wrong" based on all the info on Japanese gov't websites.

(Friday night)

No change. Timatic incorrectly says that UK passports need a visa.

What a strange thing.

  • 1
    They will actually gladly sell you the ticket. The issue is that they won’t let you board if at that time the information still says you need a visa. What reason did you give for the visit, and for how long?
    – jcaron
    Oct 6, 2022 at 22:54
  • 1
    @Fattie On the phone I can understand, but them actually checking at the time of purchase online seems to be quite a departure from usual trends: most websites do not actually require you to input passport info at the time of purchase (they often ask for it for countries that require API/APIS, but usually don't require it). But maybe that changed over the last couple of years due to the ever-changing Covid rules. I don't fly that much these days.
    – jcaron
    Oct 6, 2022 at 23:18
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    @Fattie: it makes little sense for the airline to check your credentials at time of booking which can be many months before flying and credentials can change (a lot) during this time. Some airlines will collect passport data to create the name record against an ID but in most cases that's optional.
    – Hilmar
    Oct 7, 2022 at 1:57
  • 1
    The French version of Expedia, for a CDG-NRT flight, only asks for the passport country before payment. No passport number, no visa, nothing. Even if you change the passport country to something exotic :-) Air France doesn't ask for anything. Tried both without being connected to an existing account or anything, maybe if you connect with your FF account they use information saved in your account?
    – jcaron
    Oct 7, 2022 at 12:21
  • 1
    Just for anyone following this @DavidSupportsMonica and others. Timatic seems to have FINALLY fixed this. I notice it now gives Visa required but then they added "Visa Exemptions: [..] for a maximum stay of 90 days." Maybe specifically what they previously (for weeks and weeks!) plain forgot was the exemption part. Really fascinating stuff. It just seems "beyond belief" that Timatic could have an error like this, but some here have suggested it's not unprecedented. THanks for everyone's info.
    – Fattie
    Nov 13, 2022 at 20:11

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