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I am a citizen of the Philippines currently living in USA with a green card. I have a ticket to the Philippines with a layover of over 15 hours in Japan.

With my status can I go outside the airport and do some touring or something like that, or am I stuck inside?

Because I know Korea has a layover that offers free touring.

  • What times are you arriving and departing? – Crazydre Feb 19 '17 at 5:49
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Your Green card is meaningless for the purpose of transiting Japan

However, if and only if there are no connecting flights to your destination on the same calendar day, you can enter Japan visa-free, by presenting your passport and connecting boarding pass, and stay for up to 72 hours.

As stated by Timatic, the database used by airlines and based on live info from the Japanese government:

Holders of onward tickets transiting to a third country can obtain a Shore Pass on arrival for a max. stay of 72 hours only if there are no connecting flights on the same calendar day

In fact, if you're connecting at any airport other than Tokyo-Haneda or Osaka-Kansai, and your connection is overnight, you'll have to enter Japan, as the other airports close at night.

If you have an overnight transfer at any airport other than Tokyo-Haneda or Osaka-Kansai, ignorant check-in staff may try to deny you boarding without a visa. In this case, ask them to check Timatic and tell them you're entering under the Shore pass arrangement.

NOTE: other answers have suggested the issurance of Shore Passes is restricted to emergencies. It is not. It would have been correct in 2014, which was reflected by the Timatic info at the time.

On Tripadvisor, one user cites Timatic from 2014:

Only in exceptional circumstances (e.g., delays, missed connections or re-routing), visitors continuing their journey to a third country can obtain a Shore Pass/Transit Pass on arrival for a max. stay of 72 hours

Since it isn't expressed like that anymore, the Immigration Bureau in Japan has obviously informed IATA of having become more liberal in granting shore passes.

For what it's worth, I called the Immigration Bureau's head office yesterday, and was told that Timatic was up-to-date (I explained what it said, and asked if there were any further restrictions, to which they said no)

So again, you do not need a visa, and again, if an ignorant check-in clerk tries to deny you boarding, ask them to check Timatic, because, although immigration authorities aren't bound by it, check-in staff for IATA-connected airlines (the vast majority) definitely is

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    Timatic is irrelevant here, Maybe airlines follow it, but Japanese immigration definitely doesn't. – fkraiem Feb 19 '17 at 5:43
  • @fkraiem In what way do the rules of Japanese immigration differ? You do know Timatic's based on info from Japanese immigration authorities? – Crazydre Feb 19 '17 at 7:27
  • "You do know Timatic's based on info from Japanese immigration authorities?" No, I don't know that. Show me something from the immigration bureau that says this and I will. – fkraiem Feb 19 '17 at 8:38
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    @Crazydre Is there any way to find the "source" of TimTics immigration information on Japan? It doesn't actually state it in either the link you provided, the Japanese customs website or on the TimTic website that I could find. Also, as fkraiem says, there are times when Japanese Immigration are a law unto themselves and travellers with valid visas or those meeting valid entry requirements are denied (as entry is decided by an official, not a computer system). – The Wandering Coder Feb 20 '17 at 4:24
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    @Crazydre But the officers are doing their job properly. Your absolute faith in the general entry requirements and allocations displayed on Timatic does not trump the Immigration Laws of countries involved. Timatic displays general entry information, and any special occasions that differ from normal practices (riots, strikes, Presidential Decrees. As Japanese Immigration states (and is usually the case almost everywhere else in the world)... – The Wandering Coder Feb 20 '17 at 6:15
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USA Green Card is irrelevant in Japan.

Philippines is not in the list of visa waiver so to leave any airport you have to get a visa.

If you have to leave airport for transfer or overnight in case of Narita airport which is not working during night you must apply for Transit Visa. Transit Visa are not issued for fun to spend some time in Japan, you have to provide evidence that transfer requires airport leaving or staying overnight.

Existing Shore Passes are issued only in case of emergency. For example you got late for your transfer which did not require Transit visa and had to buy ticket which requires transfer to another airport. If you had to transfer stay overnight with airport leaving and that was expected from the beginning you will not get Shore Pass, yet some exceptions are known. In few cases people had to pay for staying in guarded hotel room for whole time needed to transfer next day or two, paying not only for room but for guard.

Shore Pass is not an agreement, officers do not know or care about any Timatic or any other website. In many situations they can reject you just because they don't like you even if you have a visa and there is no way to object.

In any case neither Transit Visa nor Shore Pass are issued without real purpose.

  • Although I agree with most of your points, do you have any evidence (links etc.) to back up your claims. – The Wandering Coder Feb 20 '17 at 6:27
  • "Existing Shore Pass are issued only in case of emergency" Wrong! I know this was the case around 2014 (and it was stated in Timatic as such) but it's become more liberal since. "In many situations they can reject you just because they don't like you even if you have a visa and there is no way to object" Of course, but this doesn't justify the argument that a transit visa is needed. Again, it's not restricted to emergencies - another user on this site can testify to that: bonacci, who entered on a it in a non-emergency, and I recently called the Japanese Immigration bureau and asked – Crazydre Feb 20 '17 at 10:42

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