With most countries I have experience of, you do not literally need a return or onwards ticket, to prove you will be leaving. Example, USA, I've almost always arrived with just a one-way ticket; you state when you'll be leaving and that's the end of it.

Does anyone know, in the specific case of Japan, do you literally need an onward ticket?

In a word: yes or no, can you arrive in Japan as a tourist, with, a one-way ticket?

Please note, I am asking 100% about the nature of the actual Japanese visa rules (I am not asking about airline procedures, thanks).

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    Very, very likely no, since you could exit Japan by ship rather than aeroplane.
    – Jan
    Sep 11, 2016 at 15:09
  • Hi Jan ? Then you'd have a ticket for that ship cruise. If you mean the incredibly unlikely case of by private yacht, it would be perfectly possible that could be an exception to a simple rule that you DO need an onward ticket.
    – Fattie
    Sep 11, 2016 at 17:18
  • Your premise - of wanting to know the country's opinion above the airline's - is invalid. I traveled through ten countries last summer. In every case the airline checkin was far more serious about the "onward ticket" requirement. Very few Customs and Immigration people wanted more than my assertion that I was headed off in a few days to [next country] but airline clerks liked paper, and paper from travel agents or other airlines most of all. Knowing Japan's opinion won't help you if the airline won't let you board. Sep 11, 2016 at 19:06
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    If a country actually wants return/onward tickets, this is noted in Timatic, for example: "Warning: Visitors not holding return/onward tickets could be refused entry." Sep 11, 2016 at 19:15
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    @JoeBlow There is a site (immi-moj.go.jp/english/tetuduki/kanri/zyouriku.html) however it doesn't officially mention the rule. It has in the past come under anywhere from points 2 to 5 depending on what the Immigration Officer decides. The actual piece of law (Unofficial Translation : immi-moj.go.jp/english/newimmiact/pdf/…) is even more ambiguous. Feel free to take it as you will. You are likely fine most of the time, however if the IO insists on checking, you may want to have some kind of proof (money, credit card, ticket etc.) Sep 12, 2016 at 6:24

3 Answers 3


Most likely not (however it is always good to have)

The Japanese Immigration Bureau regulations about acceptance into the country on short-term visas are, that you need to show proof that you have a plan to leave / funds to do so before the end of your visa if requested.

Referring to the MOJ-IMMI website, you will notice that the rule is not specifically stated outright, but is instead enshrined as one of the possible reasons of you "not meeting landing permission requirements" (of which the law is also intentionally vague about).

Another factor you may have with having to present proof of a return flight, is which country you are a citizen of. For example, although generally untrustworthy with matters of Immigration, various sources (for example; the Embassy of Japan in the UK, the UK government and the Embassy of Japan in Malawi) state that for your Visa, a return ticket may / is required.

Feel free to take it as you will. You are likely fine most of the time, however, if the Immigration Official insists on checking, you may want to have some kind of proof (money, credit card, return ticket etc.) lest you face rejection at the border.



Assuming your'e from a VISA exempt country, you SHOULD have no issues and will be granted a 90-day visa upon arrival. However, bear in mind that immigration CAN turn you away if they suspect you will stay illegally.

We had a couple visiting us (Canada) from South Korea. He had lived here previously for a 1 year on a work visa before he was married. They got called in for questioning and because the immigration officer suspected that they would stay in the country they were denied entry. It was heartbreaking for them as they were just coming to visit friends. They had a RETURN ticket.

So, a one-way ticket POTENTIALLY could raise flags and they CAN deny entry at their discretion. That being said, thousands of people do a one-way ticket every week. It helps if you have some kind of proof that you will leave the country before your visa expires.

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    Just to specify, said couple from South Korea wanted to visit you in Canada or in Japan? In the first case, your answer would not contribute much information to this question, in the latter case a lot. For now it is unclear, at least to me.
    – mts
    Sep 16, 2016 at 19:22

From the viewpoint of Japanese immigration, it's fine.

From the viewpoint of airlines: depends on the Airline. Budget carriers usually being less likely to let you board

  • hi Crazy., thanks, could you perhaps clarify if you know this from experience? (Yourself, friends, or?) Or do you just happen to have a reference or some such - thanks!
    – Fattie
    Sep 11, 2016 at 14:56
  • @JoeBlow Experience (Japan is not very different to most countries in this regard), plus I try to contact immigration authorities worldwide regularly to stay tuned in regards to the latest situation.
    – Crazydre
    Sep 11, 2016 at 15:26
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    @Crazydre Fine as long as they don't ask you for the proof you are leaving, as they are legally entitled to do. And refuse you entry to Japan if you don't satisfy them that you will leave / have finds to leave... Sep 12, 2016 at 4:22

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