itchy feet cravings · just curious

Tokyo Wedding

I’ve attended a lot of weddings and every time I get to witness one, I’d make comparisons on which one is unique and memorable. I’ve only seen traditional Filipino weddings and so, being a predominantly Christian country, I’ve only seen simple weddings held in a (Catholic or Protestant) church. I’ve witnessed a garden wedding, while there are some celebrities in the country who prefer a beach wedding.

When I was in Tokyo in 2010, I accidentally witnessed a wedding. My first time really to watch firsthand how a traditional Japanese nuptial goes.  I was strolling all by myself along Akasaka one afternoon for a relaxing break when I decided to walk towards General Nogi’s residence (Nogi-Jinja) which is just a five-minute walk from our hotel.

General Nogi’s residence in Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo. Admission is free

Simple stable, that’s what…

the general’s stable
found this statue in the garden but I’m not sure if it depicts the young general

I walked some more and found these sights at the Residence…

I sat for a while at a bench drinking at the tranquil sight of this park. I was about to close my eyes a little when I heard sound of cheers at the far end of the park. I stood up and saw a group of people joining a function being held near the souvenir shop. So I snooped around. 

Along with some Western tourists, I was amazed at what we saw…

I thought it was a Buddhist marriage ritual until I racked up my nerve and asked (in English–I don’t care whether he’ll understand me) the Japanese guy holding an SLR camera beside me, what’s happening.

And he replied (in English) its a Shinto wedding…

both the bride and the groom wear white dress

The Japanese Shinto wedding is said to be the oldest form of marriage traditions around the world. In a Shinto wedding, the bride wears a hood that serves to hide her “horns of jealousy” as well as a symbol of her submission to her husband. (Source: Rev. T.S. Deacon Economos: Shintoism and Marriage) Traditionally, the groom wears a black kimono but the one I witnessed wore white and black.

I was captivated by the oriental music playing in the background. While the couple stands before the altar, a Shinto priest? (I’m not sure) dances to the music. Afterwards, they drink sake and similar cups of the Japanese wine are served to those invited (immediate family members and closest relatives).

The whole wedding ceremony lasted for only about 30 minutes. Totally different from what I’m familiar with.

I felt like a gate-crasher but I can’t resist taking pictures of the bride. Her wedding gown looks splendid to me!

Really, I was enthralled, even though I was told this is just a typical wedding occurrence in Tokyo. I wish I was able to come up personally to the couple and say “I wish you all the best!”

I was so glad that in that just four hours, I got to tour the park, had a nice walk around Alaska and witness this wonderful scene! 🙂

7 thoughts on “Tokyo Wedding

  1. Hey, I also witnessed a Shinto wedding when I was in Japan. Upon seeing the bride, I thought the traditional dress might be a bit uncomfortable for her as she walked in small steps so as not to step on it and to balance the interesting looking veil (?) she had. But I cherish that memory because it’s something we don’t see everyday. 😉


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