Common Customs and Traditions in Japanese Weddings

Planning a unique themed wedding? How about celebrating your wonderful day themed after the Land of the Rising Sun? If you wish to go for a Japanese-style wedding, do not forget to incorporate these common Japanese wedding customary traditions.

Bridal wear

If you’re going for a Japanese-themed wedding, you should definitely dress the part as well. A Japanese bride customarily dons a white kimono for the wedding. A traditional dress called the uchikake, a finely decorated silk robe embroidered with cranes and flowers, on top of a traditional kimono.


Japanese weddings are classified as either Buddhist, Shinto, Christian, or can even be non-religious. Moreover, one can still choose to practice the ceremonies of their own religion, but the over-arching theme to be Japanese. But the most common type of Japanese weddings is the Shinto style. The Shinto-style Japanese wedding is often a private and intimate ceremony, attended only by a close selection of loved ones.

Nuptial cups symbolism

In a Shinto-style wedding, one of the most significant parts of the ceremony is where the bride and groom partake in the drinking of sake or rice wine, each three times, from three different sizes of sakazuki or sake nuptial cups. This act symbolizes the exchange of vows between the bride and groom.

Apart from the bride and groom, part of this tradition also involves their parents drinking from the nuptial cups, which symbolizes the bond’s sealing between the bride and groom’s families. Have questions? Send us an email!

Adopted western traditions

Over time, Japanese weddings have adopted wedding customs and traditions from the West. Some of these traditions include tossing the bouquet and the ceremonial slicing and feeding of the wedding cake.

Speeches are made, mostly to thank the parents of both sides, which includes a toast or an exchange of gifts.

Other traditional rituals in a Japanese Wedding

  • The offering of food to God, together with reciting Shinto prayers, for thanks-giving and plea for future happiness.
  • An offering of the Sakaki, a sacred tree branch, represented by a paper streamer shaped like a zigzag.
  • The process of purification, or exorcising a certain place or person to be free of evil spirits.
  • A palace visit, which represents the couple’s entry to the private rite.
  • After the wedding vows, there is the symbolic exchange of nuptial cups.

Other symbolic items used in Japanese wedding ceremonies

  • The bamboo, known for its simplicity, elegance, and strength, stands for purity and prosperity.
  • The mizuhiki knot in Japanese-themed weddings is usually shaped crane-like. The crane represents long life and prosperity.
  • Part of the traditional Japanese wedding traditions includes folding 1000 origami cranes in gold color. The special papers are shaped like cranes, which are known to mate for life. Cranes also represent long life, excellent fortune, and happy marriage for the couple.

If you’re set on having a Japanese-themed wedding, you can get your ideas, ornaments, decors, and favors from Japanese Style.

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