The Traditional Shinto Wedding Of Japan

Published: 07th December 2009
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Japanese wedding customs is considered as one of the oldest forms of wedding traditions around the world, much like the traditional Chinese wedding. But because of the influence of Western culture, the traditional Japanese wedding, or Shinto wedding, have now been widely replaced by modern Western-style wedding ceremonies. However, Shinto Wedding celebration are still practiced in some parts of the country. So is the traditional way of Japanese weddings?

Shinto Wedding
In either case, may it be the shinto wedding or western-style wedding, the couple must first be legally married by filing for marriage at their local government office, and the official documentation must be produced in order for the ceremony to be held. Before ever getting married there are two types of mate selection that may occur with the couple:

Miai - or the arranged marriage
Ren ai - or a love match

The traditional Japanese Wedding, or Shinto wedding, involves painting the Japanese wife-to-be white from head to toe, visibly declaring her maiden status to the gods. There are also the traditional head dresses that the couples may use. There are traditionally two head dresses, one is the watabōshi, a white hood; the other, called the tsunokakushi, serves to hide the bride's 'horns of jealousy.' It also symbolizes the bride's intention to become a gentle and obedient wife.

Traditional Japanese wedding customs (shinzen shiki) involve an elaborate ceremony held at a Shinto shrine. Japanese weddings are being increasingly extravagant with all the elaborate details placed into thought. However, in some cases, younger generations choose to abandon the formal ways by having a "no host party" for a wedding. In this situation, the guests include mainly of the couple's friends who pay an attendance fee.

Westernized Japanese Wedding Celebration
In recent years, the "Western Style Wedding" (influenced by Christian weddings) has become the choice of most couples in Japan.An industry has sprung up, dedicated to providing couples with a ceremony modeled after church rituals. Japanese western style Wedding are generally held in a chapel, either in a simple or elaborate ceremony, often at a dedicated wedding chapel within a hotel.

The service is given either in Japanese, English or quite often, a mix of both. It follows Protestant ceremony, relaxed and not overtly religious. After the reading, there is a prayer and a short message, explaining the sanctity of the wedding vows (seiyaku). The bride and groom share their vows and exchange rings. The chapel register is signed and the new couple is announced. This is often followed by the traditional wedding kiss. The service can conclude with another hymn and a benediction. For more information visit to our site at

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