The Ultimate Elopement Checklist for Japan
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The Ultimate Elopement Checklist for Japan

Eloping evokes visions of throwing caution to the wind, grabbing your fiancé's hand, and running romantically away together.

As appealing and beautifully authentic as that sounds, there's still quite a bit you should consider. If you want your day to flow and be organic and real, the best way to achieve that is have little bit of planning and preparation. Especially if you're thinking of Eloping in Japan. We have just the checklist for you.

When you elope, embrace the day. It is still your wedding day. Meaningful and emotional. And choosing a destination elopement is even more of an adventure. Especially in Japan.

So work your way through our elopement checklist. It'll help you make sure you're prepared for whatever might get thrown your way. It'll make the day flow. And will make the elopement planning process a lot of fun when you have a plan to work towards. Here we go.


First you need to work on the basics. Sometimes these come easily and sometimes they can be a work in progress. You might start with an initial budget, but then decide after some research that you want to invest more into your day. Making it an even more unforgettable experience for the two of you. You might know the country you want to marry in (in this case, Japan). But not the exact location. You might have a weekend date in mind, but find out that some places have weekday discounts. You'll know the answers to all these when the time is right and as you start to research more. But the basics you'll need to get on top of are:

  • elopement budget
  • elopement date
  • elopement location (you can start with just "Japan" in mind and then narrow down later
  • guests or just and adventure for two
  • wedding vendors priorities. Will you need a planner, officiant, photographer, videographer, florist, musician etc


When planning a destination elopement, anything goes. You could have your ceremony at your embassy, somewhere cultural or somewhere in nature. Or a combination of everything. There are no rules. Close your eyes and see where you see yourselves. Talk about it opening and honestly and you'll know what's right for you. If conveniences or vendors are important, then city locations like Tokyo or Kyoto might be best. A ryokan or teahouse. But if you're adventurous and don't mind your day being more rustic, and a little bit of 'dirty boots and messy hair' then you might think about getting married in outdoor locations like Mt Fuji, hiking trails, tea fields or more. Location checklist involves:

  • make travel arrangements early. Hotels (especially in Kyoto) can be expensive over peak dates
  • If you'd like to get married at your embassy, call them. There is often paperwork you'll need to bring with you. And an appointment is always needed.
  • Some outdoor locations in Japan (you need permits for ALL outdoor elopements) will only give out 1 permit per day. This means that some iconic locations can book out months in advance.
  • Don't try to elope anywhere in Japan without permission or without a permit. It could really spoil the most beautiful day of your life if your stunning intimate ceremony was stopped by local authorities. It's not worth it. Do it properly and you'll have peace of mind.
  • If getting permits for you Japanese elopement sounds too daunting, consider hiring an all-inclusive elopement service with professionals that take care of everything for you. Remember invest in yourselves. For the ultimate experience.

Marriage License

  • Most destination weddings in Japan are symbolic only. But there are many couples that want to do all the legal paperwork here. It varies from country to country, but always involves time at the local city hall here in Tokyo.
  • Be sure to talk about this together:
  • do you want to do all the full legal marriage paperwork here in Japan
  • If you're bringing paperwork from home, do you require one or two witnesses be physically present to sign the marriage license
  • do you want to self-solemnize, or have an ordained officiant lead you through your intimate ceremony.
  • The rules changed recently in Japan and other paperwork for international couples was required. So perhaps reach out to your embassy or to a wedding planner in Japan to keep up to date on what you'll need to bring with you.

Travel + Accommodations

Getting around Japan can be easy if you plan ahead. You can get rail passes for the Shinkansen and renting cars are easier than ever in Japan right now.

  • make travel arrangements
  • book any accommodation. Japan's not really a last minute place. With the tourist boom and Japan's new ruling on Airbnb's there is a shortage of accommodation. so it's best to book ahead.

Photography + Vendors

INVEST in your wedding photos. Don't go budget on this. These are your memories and your family legacy. Make sure your professional photographer is accredited or certified and you're not hiring a hobbyist. Make sure to ask to see a full gallery of images and not just their highlight reel. This is your most important vendor on your elopement day. You'll never regret an investment in professional photography. You may also want to think about additional wedding services.

  • If your memories are important to you, book a professional photographer. Not all photographers are the same quality, nor give the same service. So you'll want to check a range of photographers in Japan and see whose images speak to you, which photographers fall within your budget and most importantly, who do you connect with. They'll be with you all day on the most important day of your life. So connection is everything.
  • Would you like a bouquet and boutonnière? You can order in advance or just stop by a local flower store. Japan has some beautiful florists. One thing to remember is that if you're traveling after your elopement, you don't want to have spent a large amount of the bouquet of your dreams only to have to leave it behind as your head off on your honeymoon.
  • Do you want a wedding planner. Language can be an issue in Japan when eloping. If you want everythign smooth with permits and locaitons, And the bringing together of some great local vendors, think about a planner in Japan.
  • videographer. Catch those vows on film.
  • musician - perhaps some cello or violin for your ceremony
  • do you want professional hair and makeup or do you want to do it yourself. Depending upon the location you choose to elope in Japan, hair and makeup services might not be available. Which means incurring a cost in bringing them from a larger city like Tokyo or Kyoto. But if you're embracing an adventure elopement too far off the beaten track for a professional, then you can consider practicing yourself at home before you arrive.

Post-Elopement Considerations

Have a post-elopement celebration! Organize a party back home when you return. Or have a dinner with just family and friends. Let the celebration continue. Let all those people who love you be able to express their love for you both.

  • Eloping is a huge deal! Celebrate it! Party when you return. Or let the adventure for two continue with a honeymoon do die for.
  • If your elopement has been on the downlow, then consider sending elopement announcements. These can always be an incredibly fun surprise to receive in the mail.
  • Change your Facebook status (just kidding).

Hope this checklist gets you on the road to planning your elopement in Japan. Make sure to have a little look around the site here for more inspiration. And please contact us for our Elopement Location Guide to Japan for plans, ideas and packages.

Have fun elopement planning!! And see you in Japan soon.

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