How to get married in Japan? Good question! Especially if you want the marriage to be legal. Well, if you are visiting Japan for a ceremony, and have registered your marriage at home, you don’t need to worry about this. However, if you live in Japan, or really want to have the marriage license processed in Japan, you will need to follow a few steps. It can be daunting, but it CAN be done! Yay!
As you probably know by now, weddings in Japan are not legalized during the ceremony itself, as opposed to weddings in the west. As with the lucky couple in the photograph, some places will make a ceremonial certificate to sign on the day. But this is not legally binding.
This involves the couple going to the ward office (city hall) to complete a 婚姻届 “Kon-in Todoke” (the request for the registration of marriage). This is the easy part. Before you can go to the city hall to do this, you need to go to your embassy to get an affidavit/affirmation of no impediment to marry, which requires the preparation of a number of documents, and a small fee.
Please note, the following information is based on research with the British Embassy in Tokyo. Please be sure to check with your own embassy before proceeding. That said, since Japanese law prevails here, the process is likely to be similar from embassy to embassy.
How to get married in Japan – First, Preparation of Documents
Prepare an “Affirmation or Affidavit of marital status” form prior to attending the Consular section. This certifies that there is no impediment to getting married.
- affidavit – religious oath
- affirmation – non-religious declaration
These are downloadable from the embassy website, and can be typed in the word document or handwritten on the PDF version.
NOTE: You must print the forms as a double-sided document. If you don’t do this you will have to pay a notarial fee to “unite” the two pages. Failure to present a “united” document may result in the Japanese authorities refusing to accept it.
DOUBLE NOTE: DON’T SIGN IT YET. IT MUST BE SIGEND IN FRONT OF THE CONSULAR OFFICER AT THE EMBASSY!
- Original UK Passport
- Official ID with current address (residence card/driving license. Utilities bill or bank statement issued in the last three months can also be accepted.
- Naturalised citizens will require their naturalisation or registration certificate.
- If you have changed your name, you will require the original deed poll.
- Widows and Widowers will need the original death certificate of their deceased spouse; failing that a certified copy will suffice.
- For divorcees – the original or certified copy of the decree absolute/annulment papers.
- You will also need the original or certified copy of your birth certificate for the municipal office. The embassy can process the documents without it, but it will be required on the Japanese side.
- Pay £50 or the current Yen equivalent. Note, this fee is for each set of documents, not each couple. If both the bride and the groom are British, it will be double.
- For documents written in any language other than English or Japanese, you will need to submit an official translation along with the original.
Check with the municipal office how far in advance you will need to obtain the Affidavit/Documents. Most Municipal offices will only accept documents that were issued by the embassy within a certain time frame prior to submission.
SECOND: Make an appointment with the Consular Section at the Embassy before you visit. Ensure this is within the time frame stipulated by the municipal office.
THIRD: Visit the embassy – only the British national need do so. If all the documents are correct, and you pay the fee, they should be able to process the document in about 30 minutes or so.
Finally: Once you have the no-impediment document from the embassy, you are nearly done! The only thing left to do is go to the Municipal office, where you need to fill in a 婚姻届 “Kon-in Todoke” (the request for the registration of marriage).
Hand this in along with your:
- passport – copy
- alien registration card – not requested officially, but have it just in case
- certificate of no impediment (from the embassy)
- birth certificate
Note, it might be slightly different from office to office, so you need to check with them first – as in step one.
If all the documents are present and correct, it can be signed off on the same day, and you will be legally married.
Disclaimer: This article was compiled based on our own experiences and from research on the internet. It is correct to the best of our knowledge as of May 2018. It therefore goes without out saying, as with all legal stuff, be sure to check with your embassy and municipal authorities before embarking on your wedding.