A(nother) Meiji Shrine wedding

The first time I saw a wedding at Tokyo’s Meiji Shrine, I marvelled at its timelessness, not to mention the elaborate outfits and graceful movements of the procession. A special moment I considered myself very lucky to witness.

But on each subsequent visit, I saw more and more weddings. Sometimes two or three in quick succession. Plus a fairly recent look at a (regular?) weekend schedule detailed what appeared to be a staggering sixteen ceremonies in a single day.

Yet despite knowing this. And having seen so many. The beauty of each and every one hasn’t dimmed in the slightest.

Meiji Shrine wedding


  1. winnie says

    Beautiful shot!
    I think Shinto Wedding is interesting. I wish I can witness too!
    To have 16 ceremonies in a day, it really amazing! :)

  2. says

    Six months after my marriage, my wife and I had a Shinto ceremony in the lovely shrine of Shiogama, up north. Amazing experience with the performance of the Miko, etc. and lots of other symbolic handlings.
    I loved wearing a kimono, the layers of silk are incredibly cool to wear. The experience would have been complete if they had given me a katana to hold only for a minute . No such luck, the only thing I got to hold was a fan. The weird thing is that my wife’s wedding kimono did contain a sheathed dagger (kaiken) which I found sums up marriage in a great way. :-)

    • says

      Wow. Sounds like it was quite a day. A presumably much more intimate affair than those at Meiji Jingu too. Pity you didn’t get chance to brandish a katana, but that’s fascinating about the dagger. Fingers crossed it was only for the wedding day!

  3. psteier says

    These are less ‘timeless’ than it seems. Shinto shrine weddings were created in the Meiji period based on Western wedding customs. They may also have been designed to remove Buddhist priests from the operation. Before then, most wedding ceremonies occurred at home.

    • says

      Cheers, I had no idea about that. Interesting stuff. Especially them being based on Western wedding customs.

  4. Iwao Yamamoto says

    It’s a Shinto style:神道. In a row in the picture an umbrella is seen. The umbrella was permitted to only to noble people in older Japan. Or the couple are from noble status? Maybe not so I think. But Toyotomi HIdeyosi was allowed to take that kind of umbrella after he became the nobility though he was born as a peasant son.

    • says

      Ah, ok. I had no idea the parasol had such significance. At Meiji Shrine weddings, however, it just seems to be part of the regular ceremony.

  5. says

    I guess the parasol has lost that meaning some time ago: when my wife and I had our Shinto ceremony, we were also followed by a similar parasol and even though my wife is from an impoverished samurai family on her mother’s side, I doubt that a gaikokujin would have qualified :-)

  6. says

    I visited the Meiji Shrine today and today there were 18 weddings scheduled and during the 45 minutes we spent there, we saw 5 or 6 weddings, I lost count. I had a chat with one of the guards and he pulled out a large schedule with lots of information as to what shrine area the wedding took place, etc. I also had a chat with a Miko and she said that this time of the year was most popular which surprises me a little as it is supposed to be the rainy season. The ceremony is 1530000 yen in the weekend (40 persons) or 980000 yen (20 persons) but weekdays are a bargain at 380000 yen.

    What surprised me the most was that all the bridegrooms looked like they were 20 or 22 at most, so young!!

    • says

      Cheers for the extra info. Wow, that’s a lot of weddings. An awful lot of money the shrine is pulling in too.

      I presume it’s the desire to be a ‘June bride’ that makes this time of year so popular, despite the possibly inclement weather.

      Interesting you should mention the age. I’ve noticed how a lot of the couples seem to be very young too. Arguably not what you’d expect at somewhere as traditional as Meiji Jingu.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *