Japanese Wedding Traditions


Shinto is the ethnic religion in Japan with a huge impact on the country's culture and its ceremonial traditions. Even today, more than 79% of Japanese people still belong to Shinto temples. Still, a large majority of people in and even outside of Japan are not that familiar with how the religion influences different ceremonies and events in Japan. The same is the case with Japanese wedding traditions that may come as a surprise to many. Keep reading to learn more about some interesting wedding traditions in Japan.

Seven Interesting Japanese Wedding Traditions

People celebrate contemporary Japanese weddings in a variety of ways. Some of these weddings also have a perfect blend of traditional Japanese culture and western elements. The religious wedding ceremony in Japan is held in Shinto style at a shrine. Quite interestingly, you can now find a shrine inside the hotel where all the festivities take place.

The Betrothal/ Engagement

Called the yuino in Japanese, the betrothal ceremony is an exchange of symbolic gifts between bride's and groom's families. The most popular gifts are a seaweed called "konbu" that refers to "child-bearing woman"; a long piece of hemp in white that represents wish that both husband and wife grow old together; and a folding fan that spreads and indicates future growth and wealth. The most common ones also include a hakama for the groom and an obi for the bride. 

One of the main gifts in this ceremony is money, which can be $5,000 or more – the money is offered in a shugi-bukuro, a special envelope with gold and silver strings. Ornate rice-paper envelopes are also used to give other gifts.


The Places

Since most of the Japanese weddings take place in Shinto temples, the venues are always quite attractive. These places also feature religious iconography that give the whole function a special feel. Some of the most common are water pavilions, stone dogs, and tall red gates that symbolize the division between the corporeal and spiritual worlds.



This sake sharing ceremony is common in Buddhist as well as Shinto Japanese weddings. It is among the most interesting Japanese wedding traditions for the outsiders. There will be three stacked cups of sake and both bride and groom have to drink taking three sips. "Three, three, nine times" – just as the name has suggested. Ku or 9 means good luck in Japanese culture. So, some believe the three sips each time represent love, wisdom and happiness while other believe they represent earth, heaven, and mankind. Some believe they represent the three couples – the bride and groom, the groom's parents, and the bride's parents. However, some believe they represent the biggest human flaws, which are passion, hatred, and ignorance that the couple will overcome together in life.


Wedding Wardrobe

Something that will always fascinate you in a Japanese wedding is wedding wardrobe. It is all in white – at least most of the time. The country's national colors are red and white, and you will also notice the same in Japanese weddings. While a bride's gown may be of delicate silk or some other material, the color is usually white. Sleek evening gowns may come as a surprise to you, but they are quite common. Grooms usually opt for black – they may wear suits or kimonos. You may also find some Japanese weddings with brides wearing a white silk hood over the bun in their hair – that silk headdress is called a wataboshi and is one of the oldest Japanese wedding traditions. The hood represents humility and modesty.



Wedding speeches hold a great importance in Japanese wedding ceremonies. Family, friends, teachers, colleagues, and other relatives stand in line and wait for their turn to wish the couple well. These speeches can be moralistic tales about marriage, but they can also be heartfelt messages of love from family and friends.


Gifts for Parents

You may have gathered the idea that Japanese wedding traditions are quite about exchanging gifts. There will be loads of presents for the parents of both bride and groom. The most common gifts are a toast for parents, bouquets of flowers, and a personal letter of thanks and love. These simple gestures make Japanese weddings a lot more intimate and special.


Gifts for the Guests

Oh, yes, Japanese weddings have a lot available for the guests as well. Brides usually spend up to $50 or even more on favors for their guests. These favors can be a lace bag of sweet almonds and much more.


Check out the following link to experience a traditional Japanese wedding so that you know better about Japanese wedding traditions.