～Foreigners wanting Japanese style wedding ceremonies in Japan are rapidly increasing～
Japan has attracted many foreigners, and more and more foreign people are visiting Japan. The number was 19.73 million in 2015, 24.03 million in 2016 and more than 15 million only half past of 2017.
Even myself, I see foreigners or hear spoken foreign languages more often than 5 year ago on the street. Is Japan such an attractive country?
There are many reasons for foreigners visiting Japan, however, one of the purposes might be going famous places such as Japanese temples or shrines. If you go one those of places, you must see many foreigners over there. And, interestingly, some foreigners visit Japan for Wedding purpose! Yes, recently, foreigners who want to have a Japanese style wedding ceremony have increased. That is new TREND in Japan!
Now, merits of Japanese wedding style wedding has been reconsidered. In Japan, the popularity of Shinto ceremonial wedding style centered on couple in adults in their 30s has been increasing, but, this phenomenon is not only for Japanese couples, but also for foreign couples as well. So, in here, I want to tell you WHY Japanese style wedding has become popular for foreign couples.
We LOVE Japan! Because of the visiting memory of in Japan, there are more foreigners celebrating weddings in Japan !
Couples celebrating weddings in Japan are drawing a sharp increase in memories visited in Japan, longing for the beauty of wedding ceremonies in Japanese wedding style. They are interested in traditional Japanese culture and wanting to experience it. A representative from Watabe Wedding which is one of the biggest bridal producing company told, not a few foreign couples wishing to have a wedding ceremony in Kyoto with Japanese wedding dresses although they already had wedding ceremonies in their home country.
In one of the very famous and popular Japanese shrine which is Kamigamo Shrine in Kyoto, approximately 800 couples have wedding ceremonies in a year (2011 was 700 couples, so, this number has surely increased) the shrine is also popular among foreigner, and 100 couples out of this 800 have a foreign partner. If either of a couple is Japanese, we have seen many cases wishing a Japanese wedding style in the mother country, but the number of foreign couples who make Japanese style wedding has increased as well. Surely, we could see Shinto style wedding even in the early 2000s, but it wasn’t so popular as now.
Service support for foreign coupes wanting Shinto style wedding
Although the attention to Japanese wedding in Kyoto is rising as a world tourist destination, one of the popular backgrounds is tolerance to accept any religion and it’s deep history. Japanese bridal companies began to tackle developing markets more seriously to fulfill the foreign couple wish such as “want to experience traditional Japanese culture” or “want to make memories of Kyoto trip” .
In response to these movements, Kamigamo Shrine, mostly chosen by foreigners as a Wedding place started special services for foreigners. They provided the Wedding division of the Shrine in October, 2016, and have tried to enhance services for foreigners, such as photography, selection of venues for wedding reception, arrangements for transportation, and so on.
（出典：BLOG & NEWS)
Details of services for foreigners in Kamigamo Shrine
・Progress of the ceremony is English
At Kamigamo Shrine, the progress of the wedding ceremony at the Shinto ceremony is performed in English. Most foreign tourists visiting Japan who do not understand Japanese are very pleased that people because they can understand and learn more about Japanese wedding ceremony by English moderator.
・Presentation of Marrige Cerfiticate
Movement of municipalities is also becoming vigorous to respond to inbound demand. For example, from 2015, Kyoto City has implemented the measures to sign “Marriage Certificate” by Mayor Kadokawa Daisaku to foreign couple who have a wedding in the city. According to the City Tourism MICE Promotion Office, they have given the certificate to 69 couples within 3 years after 2014 (2015 – 2017).
It is not unusual for foreigners to celebrate the Shinto ceremony in Kyoto. In the Sankei Newspaper on December 26, 2017, the foreign couple who had a Shinto wedding ceremony at Kamigamo Shrine was reported.
On a sunny day in November, a pair of foreign couple celebrated a wedding at the World Heritage, Kamigamo Shrine (Kita Ward, Kyoto City). The groom was Kirsten Born, German (37) and the bride was Sonia Julio, Italian (41). The bride and groom dressed the crested Haori Hakama and Shiromuku (Pure white kimono), and Shinto priest advanced the ceremony in English. San-San Kudo (Exchange of cups) and exchange of rings was performed at the shrine pavilion of the important cultural assets.
This is the first time for them to visit Japan. They found a plan of combined accommodation and wedding ceremony at Hotel Granvia Kyoto (Shimogyo ward) on the Internet and applied it. “We are so glad to have ceremony at a shrine that is very beautiful and historical. That was really nice and impressive experience! ” Both of them showed wonderful smile.
Things to be careful for when wedding ceremonies in Japan
If one of the couple is a foreigner and want to call guests from overseas, there are some things you need to be careful about.
• Ceremonial style: Some relatives may be resistant to Shinto ceremony depending on religion. It is important to check thoroughly first.
• Burden of travel and accommodation expenses: Since this is mostly borne by the bride and groom (90 percent), so, it is necessary for both families to talk about these cost burden beforehand.
• Transfer to the wedding and reception venue: Must be considered for elderly relatives
• Wedding gift money? or Membership fee? : Wedding donation is a custom only in Japan. In the United States, people give presents to the bride and groom beforehand what they want. Especially, for relatives invited from abroad, prior explanation to them is necessary about how to participate in the wedding ceremony.
The cultural difference is a big issue, but it is important for every attendee to enjoy the wedding ceremony.
Japanese wedding can be one of the big inbound demand!
In 2015, at “Japan Expo” which is a popular event in Europe, Japanese bridal related companies exhibited the booth to let “ Japanese wedding ceremony” know to European people. The Japan Expo is an event focusing Japanese culture such as Japanese animation, music, games, tea ceremony, calligraphy, etc. and has drawn many attention to foreigners who are attracted to Japanese culture. It aims to call out the needs and name recognition of “Want to have wedding ceremony in Japan” or “I am interested in Japanese wedding style” by demonstrating Shinto wedding ceremony, the crested Haori Hakama and Shiromuku (White wedding kimono). It became a hot topic.
＜Introduction of Japanese wedding costume＞
(Traditional Shiromuku (White wedding kimono). It is a representative female costume of a ceremony and it really stands out against red Torii (Gate) of a shrine）
（Irouchikake (Colored kimono) Many women wear it at the reception）
（Hikifurisode (Colored kimono with big sleeves) It is a wedding costume that continues from the Edo period. You can express yourself freely with accessories, etc.）
（Haori Hakama with a crest is a male ‘s wedding costume. Although there are few variations compared with women, the contrast with the bride’s costume is beautiful. It fits well for foreigners as well）
The popularity of Japanese wedding has certainly increased as well as steady well-known activities and the rise in world heritage registrations in various sites of Japan. Unlike Japan where declining birthrate and luxurious weddings or simple weddings without reception has been progressing, digging up the inbound demand of increased visiting foreigners will contribute to the activation of the Japanese economy.
This time, I introduced “Japanese Wedding” that Japan should be proud of, and be chosen from foreigners. Recently, because wedding ceremonies can be cited at a World Heritage site, the popularity of Shinto wedding style has been raising mainly in 30s couples in Japan. But this popularity is attractive not only for Japanese but also for foreigners!
As for the tendency, Westerners such as Europeans or Americans tend to choose a shrine ceremony feeling attracted to Japanese traditional culture.
Another mainstream of wedding ceremonies in Japan is resort marriage in Okinawa. It seems to be very popular with people in Hong Kong. The number of executing couples of “Okinawa Resort Wedding” in 2015 increased by 17.5% compared with the previous year to 14,177 pairs, a record high. Of these, the overseas couples also increased by 29.9% from the previous year to 1,458 pairs. Also, couples from Asian countries such as Hong Kong and Taiwan value on Wedding photo in Japan, so, now, many Japanese companies are focusing on photography. One of the best parts of Japan is the best service quality! Careful attention tof Japanese cutomer services such as fixing the bride’s veil are widely pleased and accepted by foreigners.
We want Foreigners who visit to know more about the goodness of Japan. Especially, if they visit Japan for wedding purpose, we wish them to have wonderful memories ! So, foreigners, please have a wonderful wedding in Japan!
If you consider Japanese wedding, get contact ⇒ JTB Ginza Loyal Road