Legal Requirements for Marrying in Japan
37 Frames

Legal Requirements for Marrying in Japan

A symbolic ceremony or legal?

There are no prerequisites for holding a Shinto ceremony or a Western-style wedding in Japan, but the marriage isn't legally recognized & symbolic in nature.

For Japanese couples as well as foreigners, the marriage only becomes legal after the couple registers at a Japanese municipal government office. To be legally married in Japan, it’s necessary to prove that you meet the requirements for marriage in your home country with a document called a “certificate of no impediment” in most countries. This certificate and a handful of other documents need to be presented at a local municipal office in Japan, along with 2 witnesses.

Here at 37 Frames we offer a service where a translator or one of our bilingual wedding planners can accompany you to the office. Your legal documents also need to be translated into Japanese, which we can also arrange.

Then it's off to the ward office where we often end up spending a day doing the paperwork there together. Given that for most of our international couples want to make the most of their time here in Japan, we always recommend an easier (and more budget conscious) option. We recommend holding a quick registry office wedding in your home country, and then have your dream wedding ceremony in Japan. Symbolic and perfect. And you can focus on you and your guests. And spending as much time experiencing Japan rather than spending time in the city offices.

However, if you have your heart set on being legally married in Japan, you should start by contacting the consulate of your home country in Japan to obtain the appropriate forms. When you arrive you'll need to make a trip to your embassy to pick them up. The required documents vary from one place to another, so you’ll also need to contact the local ward office in the area of Japan where you’re planning to marry. Or... we can do it all for you. Reach out to find out our pricing on helping you arrange a Legal Marriage in Japan.

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