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Shinto Weddings Costs.. 2009/6/4 17:55
I apologize if a similar question has been asked, but I failed to come across one with my unique problem. My fiance' and I have decided that instead of having a small US wedding and Carribean honeymoon, we will instead go to Tokyo for our honeymoon, and have a small Shinto ceremony while we're there.

Three individuals will be traveling with us (friends). We have very little money to spend on a ceremony (as many of you are aware, the actual wedding ceremony itself in the US can be very cheap if not free), and we will not require a formal reception afterward.

Our plan is to simply have the serivce in traditional dress (which we intend to purchase ourselves) at a small shrine. Is this idea feasible? What should we expect to pay for a ceremony-only wedding and where in Tokyo or surrounding regions would you suggest looking for a shrine? I've read that hotels often have Shinto shrines in them, but the few English websites I can find usually detail extravagant hotel-planned weddings with lavish receptions/banquets.

Please help! We're so excited to be visiting Japan, and even more excited to be getting married. We'd love to have a small ceremony for as cheap as possible so that we could enjoy our stay to the fullest. Thank you for your suggestions in advance.
by Joey (guest)  

shinto wedding 2009/6/4 18:29
I was married in a Shinto ceremony in Japan, and it is probably not as cheap as you are hoping. The price can vary a lot depending on the shrine where the ceremony is preformed, but expect it to cost a few thousand dollars inclusive of the use of the shrine, as well as the necessary priests, musicians, and miko.

The traditional dress is perhaps the most costly part of the entire wedding. Pretty much everyone rents in Japan and prices when we were shopping around started at around 1000 dollars for the bride's Shiromuku and wig. The groom's Hakama started around 500 dollars. I've seen deals around the internet these items, but also know that you will not be able to dress yourselves. It is quite complicated and required two people to dress my wife.

Sorry if that's not too much help, but maybe it will get you started. People on these boards have done what you are planning so it is possible. Hopefully someone can recommend something.
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

... 2009/6/4 18:29

Try searching the forum with "Americans married in Japan" or some such, and you will bump into a few other threads on the topic. I think there have been some posts by couples who have had shinto ceremony in Japan, so you might be able to pick up a few names of places.

Getting the dress might be an issue - if you mean traditional "kimono," that would be very expensive. So it would be wise to rent a whole set (including the assistance to get dressed).
by AK rate this post as useful

:) 2009/6/4 19:39
Thank you for your speedy replies. I was unaware that attire was so expensive. If you have any estimates on rental costs, please let me know.

I will check out those other posts. So far, I have only seen disappointing news about the difficulties of finding anywhere to have such a modest ceremony. Any further community suggestions and information is greatly appreciated.
by Joey (guest) rate this post as useful

Just to add 2009/6/4 20:32
This is in Kamakura - 1 hour or so away from Tokyo - I happened to see a wonderfully solemn and impressive wedding ceremony going on there some time ago. Apparently it is a popular shrine for holding ceremonies.

For an elaborate ceremony at the main stage-like venue at the center of the shrine premises, they quote (excluding any dress rental/assistance) 150,000 yen for the ceremony itself, meaning the whole proceedings and blessing by the shrine.

For a simpler ceremony, they quote 50,000 yen, again just for the ceremony.

They do not have any information about attire rental/assistance with putting on the attire; you might want to inquire via e-mail.
Just one example of a rental "kimono" for the bride - this one is 80,000 yen for rental, for example.

The difficulty is that in Japan people do not really hold "modest" ceremonies if they hold ceremonies at all - people might "skip" the ceremonial stuff altogether and just report their marriage to the city hall (this is the legal marriage). OR, if they do hold a ceremony, mostly it is with a big group, often followed by a banquet, or the couple wants to do a "modest party, they plan and organize everything with a small restaurant, for example, for "a vow in front of my friends" kind of small casual party/ceremony. That takes a lot of planning too :)
by AK rate this post as useful

. 2009/6/4 20:38
Buying traditional Japanese costume for wedding would cost you a fortune!
You should wear rental dress (kimono) instead.

Checking on the net, I've found an agency who can arrange from the rental dress to finding shrine, and the cheapest package is JPY210,000.
(But I am not sure if they offer services in English, you need to find someone who can be your interpretor.)
List of shinto shrines they can introduce
by . (guest) rate this post as useful

. 2009/6/4 21:38
Ours cost $7000 US. That included kimono rental and photos on CD. Kimonos are very expensive and complicated to dress in.
by . (guest) rate this post as useful

understood... 2009/6/5 03:06
Again, thanks for all of the terrific replies, even the ones that have news I hoped not to hear lol.

These suggestions are extremely helpful, and if anyone else has some very economic suggestions about temples/shrines, translators, dressing attendants/hair/makeup, please feel free to let me know.

It appears that the real obstacle to overcome will be the attire, as well as the 'getting ready' part and translator. Five months and counting, and sure we can make this happen. :D
by joeyhickey1978 (guest) rate this post as useful

How flexable with you on wedding attire? 2009/7/4 09:53
My fiance and I are getting married in Kyoto on August 6th, and we are bringing 6 people with us. To save on costs, I am going to rent a furisode instead of the traditional uchikake & shiromuku, I will also not wear the wig. He will be renting hakama as well.

I spoke with the rental company as well as the interpreter we're using and they told me different types of wedding styles are more common and accepted. We are getting married at Shimogamo jinja, and they have no problem with it.

The cost of clothing for both of us will be under $500 and dressing is included. The cost of the shrine is $800 and our wonderful interpreter is only $200 plus her transportation costs.

I don't mind not being 100% traditional, there's nothing traditional about two Americans being married in Japan to being with. :) If it makes you happy, go for it!

If you want more info or I can help in any other way let me know.
by mikazuki81 rate this post as useful

just to clarify 2009/7/4 12:41
I meant to say that different styles of weddings and dress are becoming more commonly accepted. I don't mean to say that the traditional wedding isn't still the most common.

I emailed a place in Tokyo called "kimono rental Aki" before (I decided on getting married in Kyoto) and the owner told me some people wearing just uchikake, furisode, or shiromuku these days. You might want to check with them. I think their prices were reasonable.
by mikazuki81 rate this post as useful

translator 2009/7/4 12:59
If you still need a translator, let me know. I can suggest Haruko to you. She is so helpfuland nice and is the best price I've seen. I would just want to ask her first before giving out her email.

I believe she's from Tokyo as well. I know she has to travel several hours to get to Kyoto for our wedding. Her base price for a day of translating was 1,000 yen + 1,000 for for contacting the shrine and helping us plan + any cost of transportation (and possibly food, if she works long hours).

Also, I remembered that kimono rental Aki said that they had some American customers that wore furisode and hakama for their wedding. They have a picture of them on their website. You might ask what shrine they used.
Their front page has a photo of the couple and wedding party:
by mikazuki81 rate this post as useful

oops 2009/7/4 13:05
I meant to say Haruko's price is 10,000 yen! Sorry, it's a bit late. :)
by mikazuki81 rate this post as useful

Thank you! 2009/7/4 13:39
Wow, everyone (especially youself) has been extremely helpful. I hadn't received any replies in a month or so, but read all of your information today upon receiving email notification from this site.

If you'd like, you're welcome to send me any further information to name is Joey, by the way.

I thank you for your costume suggestions. As for the translator, we're still not sure. We're trying to find out if an aquaitance who moved to Japan a few years ago will be able to help us, or if we'll need to hire someone instead. Feel free to stay in touch, and I should be able to let you know something soon. If they're not available, I'd certainly love the contact information for the one you're using. Thanks again.
by Joey (guest) rate this post as useful

To: mikazuki81 2009/7/26 18:59
To: mikazuki81
Your wedding in Kyoto sounds great - very similar to what we'd love to have in October. Would you be kind to share you experience (how everything went, what to look out for, etc) once your big day is over? Also, is there any way we could use Haruko as our translator as well? Thanks so much for sharing your info; it's been very helpful since there isn't much info available online.
Good luck with your big day!
by Japanchili rate this post as useful

To Japanchili 2009/7/27 07:33
We found Haruko on this website:

This is a great site for finding translators. If you're planning for October of this year, I'd start contacting shrines right away. We might have contacted one or two other shrines besides Shimogamo, but we didn't get a response.

I'll be glad to post about how it goes. We are just a few weeks away from the wedding and super excited! :) Best of luck with your planning. Are you looking into a Tokyo wedding?
by mikazuki81 rate this post as useful

just an idea.. 2009/7/27 13:40
do you have to get married in tokyo? It might be cheaper to look into a shinto shrine in a smaller city, if you dont mind it not being in tokyo, that is. Again im not sure how much cheaper, if at all, it would be, but there are some really lovely towns in japan.

As for the kimono, why not buy pre owned? You can get some great deals if you look around. ichiroya has fantastic kimono, and they speak english! you also might want to ask if you can pick up the items in japan to save on postage, (they are based in Osaka) here is their range of uchikake (the colourful outer coat that the bride wears) but you still need to buy the obi, underwear, ties, wig... ichiroya also have a full bridal set, new for USD$2650.00 but you would still need to find a wig and someone to dress you, and a mans set, new, is USD$1350.00 but im not sure if this is for a wedding, you would need to ask someone else ^^ I know there isnt the pom pom in that set that the man usually wears at a wedding. However after all this, it still may be cheaper to rent..

So, find the cheapest option for you, and good luck! if you really take the time to shop around, it needent be so expensive!
by Shizu (guest) rate this post as useful

wig 2009/7/27 14:02
lol, its fun looking around for wedding stuff. I found a wig on ebay, not sure if it will fit your wife's head, but here it is:|66%3A4|39%3A1|293%3A1|294%3A200
the wigs you want are wedding ''katsura''

good luck! please keep us updated with what you decide on, im very interested to know!
by shizu (guest) rate this post as useful

mikazuki81 2009/9/16 18:01
Hello mikazuki81 -

Now it's been a while since your wedding in Kyoto and I was wondering if you could share how everything went? Did you travel around afterwards? I really hope your wedding was great and exactly what you were dreaming about! You can also email me directly at:

Hope to hear from you soon!
by Japanchili rate this post as useful

To: mikazuki81 2009/9/29 03:03
Hello! Thank you for your previous response on your cost for your wedding ceremony. We are looking to do the same...something not so pricey...but a bit traditional.

Could you elabroate more on what you did?! It would be SSOO helpful.

Feel free to email me too:

by Carlita rate this post as useful

Our wedding in Kyoto 2009/10/28 07:49
Sorry it took me awhile to reply about our wedding. We've been trying to buy a house since we got back, so we've been very busy!

The wedding was amazing! Just about everything went really well. The only things that didn't was it was so humid that my husband had a hard time getting my ring on during the ceremony (it fit before we left, I swear!) and he also got sick the day after the wedding. We tried to cram a little too much traveling into this trip. Traveling the 8 or so hours to Sakurajima the day after the wedding was probably doing too much! There was so much we wanted to see and show everyone, but we didnft consider how exhausting it would be. Our guests stayed with us for the first 11 days and my husband and I stayed for a total of 21 days. We all got rail passes (theirs were 1 week, ours were two weeks). My husband and I changed hotels 8 or 9 times! There was a time we were standing on a crowded shinkansen for 4 hours with lots of luggage in between trains with no A/C. Not so fun!

The only other problem we had was registering our marriage. We had no trouble with the affidavit from the embassy (understandably), but when we tried to get our marriage certificate in Kyoto we had a hard time because hardly anyone spoke English. Because of a few problems, we had to go back 3 times. The first time we tried to go before the kimono fitting, bad idea! After an hour, we had to leave before we could figure it out. The second time they found us an English speaking person to help us, but we didnft have our guests to sign the certificate because it was after they left (one person was still in Japan, but went off to do his own thing, so we were meeting him several days later). We got one of our ryokan owners to sign (he knew us since it was our third time staying there and he was happy to sign) and then our friend signed it when we met up with him later. My husband actually had to fill out the forms in katakana (thank God he remembered it), so if you donft know any Japanese bring a translator or do it in Tokyo!

But the wedding day itself went really well. The two old ladies that ran the kimono shop we used were so cute, quirky, and funny! They treated us like family. I highly recommend using sensho-kitamura if you ever need a kimono rental in Kyoto. Our translator, Haruko, was so wonderful. She really made us feel comfortable and explained everything to us. She even taught us a little history about the shrine after the ceremony. Haruko went way above and beyond her duties, and she really made everything go smoothly.

We went to so many places. We started in Tokyo, then went to Kyoto (for the wedding), then Sakurajima, then Hiroshima/Miyajima, then back to Kyoto, then Arashiyama for the last day with our guests. After that for the honeymoon we started in Fujiyoshida (we had planned to climb Fuji, but my husband was recovering from being sick, so we just went to lake Kawaguchi), then we went back to Tokyo which we used as a base to travel to Gunma, then we went to Mie/Toba, then back to Kyoto/Arashiyama/ Nara.
We had to go back and forth to Kyoto twice because we landed in Tokyo and left from Osaka (we had to go back to see our guests off and then back again for our flight). Our rail pass also expired after 14 days, so we had it set up to start after our 3rd day in Tokyo and end the last day we arrived in Kyoto.

Some of the cool things we did were the monkey park and bamboo forest in Arashiyama, pet the deer at Nara and saw the temple housing the giant Buddha. Sakurajima has one of the few gclothedh open air hot springs that overlooks the ocean. It was really beautiful. Also, we got to touch sea animals like otters, sea lions, and walruses (we also had our photo taken with a walrus) at Futami Sea Paradise (after the guests left). And at Irukashima (dolphin Island) we got to touch and take photos with dolphins. I was amazed at how close they let you get to the animals in the shows at Futami. It was nothing like in any aquarium Ifve seen in America. There was no extra charge to have your photos taken with a walrus or dolphin or to pet anything (for the dolphins, you just had to be one of the first 10 to sign up, which wasnft hard since these are small places).

We also got to see Kokedra gBuddhist moss templeh, which you have to make a reservation in advance by postcard only. That was really beautiful and not many outsiders see it because itfs harder to get into. We also went to Usaburo kokeshi factory, which was really neat for me because I love kokeshi.

Sorry this is so long! If you have any other questions, just ask!

by mikazuki81 rate this post as useful

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