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Please 2006/4/11 12:52
I have tried contacting the consulate and the US embassy, can someone that knows Japanese please try and ask a city hall for me, specifically one in Tokyo if possible. I would be eternally grateful. Just ask them if two visitors from the US to Japan can get married without a permanent address in Japan, provided they have the appropriate documents. PLEASE!

Thanks to anyone who is willing to help us out.

by Josh rate this post as useful

Re: Two Americans married in Japan 2006/4/11 17:32
This is probably the document you referred to, but it could help to add some more information for other people interested:
by Kappa rate this post as useful

Alien registration first 2006/4/11 18:48

The point you seem to be missing is that the "appropriate documents" required for registering a marriage include alien registration, so you really need to be asking whether it is possible to obtain alien registration without a permanent address.
Where will you be staying while you are in Tokyo, as that will dictate which ward office you will need to visit? Once you know which ward you will be based in, you can visit the appropriate website (see below), which, if you are lucky, will have a phone number for English-language enquiries about alien registration.

by Dave in Saitama rate this post as useful

... 2006/4/11 19:21
Josh, have you tried the number that the US Embassy in Tokyo gave you? It looks close enough to the phone number for Minato-ku in Tokyo. Because that's where US Embassy in Japan is located in, and it is the embassy that told you that you would have the "floating address" of sorts, that might be the place to call? For the correct phone number, click on "Minato-ku" among the webpage mentioned two posts above this one :)
by AK rate this post as useful

Whoops 2006/4/11 19:22
... I meant the link in the post immediately above mine. Sorry.
by AK rate this post as useful

I am so Confused 2006/4/12 14:11
I have read on a few dozen websites about the laws on forieners marrying in Japan. Most of them state that you need to bring your alien registration card (if applicable). What does if applicable mean? Does it mean that you only need to bring it if you are registered or that you have to be registered or have another form of registration? Also, some Japanese city hall sites I have read have said alien registration card OR passport. Obviously I have a passport to even enter Japan. I still haven't had a chance to call the city hall the US Embassy gave me, but I will.

Any other thoughts? It's important for us because we want to be married on a certain date and we want to make sure that officially, we are.

Thanks for everyone's input so far.

by Josh rate this post as useful

Plan B? 2006/4/12 16:03
Just to report that the Japanese people I checked with all seem to agree that at least one of the couple must be registered as living in Japan. I'm sorry to say that nobody has heard of tourists going to Japan to marry; other than just having a Shinto ceremony.

Since time is running out for a July wedding with so much still unclear, maybe you should consider just having the Shinto cermony in Japan; that'll take plenty of time to organize. Your fiancee will probably be disappointed, but maybe less so when she realizes that she'll get a lot of memorybilia from the Shinto ceremony. We had a wood block with our names on it, the sake cups and the very nice paper with the Japanese text we read out during the ceremony on Japanese washi.
by Kappa rate this post as useful

Thanks 2006/4/12 16:51
We've already organized the ceremony. It's going to be a Kanda Myoujin on July 4th in Tokyo. That's why we are now focusing on this. I'm still hoping I can find out from someone official.

I've sent a few emails to different city halls, no replies yet.

by Josh rate this post as useful

... 2006/4/12 17:29
Well, I called the number the US Embassy gave me for the City Ward close to them, and the woman I spoke to understood enough English to give me the details. After getting a little laugh about getting an unexpected call from Florida, she told me that we could register our marriage without alien registration if we were not going to be there for more than 90 days. We will only be there for two weeks and she assured us that we could fill it out as long as we bring the documents from the Embassy stating we are competant to marry. I plan on calling again in a few days to verify and hopefully get someone else just for a second opinion, I don't want to get our hopes up.

If anyone else that knows Japanese can also call to verify it, I'd certainly be more than satisfied and grateful.

Thanks to everyone who has assisted and offered information so far, this trip is very important for us.

by Josh rate this post as useful

We got married.... 2006/4/13 21:24
in Japan back in 2000.

Our circumstances will be different as we're British & we were resident, However, I'll give you the low down on our situation.

Before we could do anything we had to register our intent to marry with the Britsh Embassy in Tokyo. I think this was 21 days before we could be married. In the UK it's know as 'Calling the Banns' this is done to make sure we can legally marry (i.e not married to someone else etc)

Once the 21 days were up, we collected the forms, went to the local ward office (Isehara in our case) Collected some more forms to be witnesses by 2 other people. We used 2 different British friends who were also living in Japan.

Then we went back to the Ward office with the completed forms and permission to marry (from Embassy) along with our passports, Alien cards & Birth certs. The nice gentleman behind the desk stamped some forms, bowed deeply and said Congratulations! That was it! Stood in the ward office in our full bike leathers & we were officially married!
That was on 25th July 2000.

We followed with a Shinto ceremony at Zama on 6th September (Dad's Birthday) with all our family & Japanese friends, our evening celebration was in a Karaoke bar :)

Once we had our Japanese marriage certificate (We ordered 2 copies) we sent one original to the G.R.O (General Register office in the UK) and registered our marriage officially in the UK. We received a fully translated certified copy of our marriage a few months later.

As a Shinto ceremony isn't legally binding, we had to go through the normal Japanese process. However we could have married in the UK before hand I guess, but it was a lot of fun getting married in our bike leathers!!

Anyway, I have no idea if any of our story is of use to you, For info on getting married in Japan we went to the British Embassy in Tokyo and they had all the information we needed.

like most others have said, it may be much easier to get married in your home country and have the Shinto ceremony after.

Incidentally, we don't really celebrate the actual marriage on 25th July, We chose to recognise 6th Setember as our 'Official' anniversary.

The Shinto ceremony is amazing and we too have our 3 cups etc given to us by the shrine. Such happy memories!

I wish you both the best of luck with your wedding plans!

by Justine rate this post as useful

Thanks for the info 2006/4/14 01:11
On the US Embassy website, it doesn't say anything about a 21 day waiting period and they didn't tell me about on when I called them, so hopefully the rules are different for us. I'll definitely call and ask thema bout it just to make sure. I appreciate all of the information you gave and I hope our ceremony can be as wonderful as yours was.

NIce touch getting married in your bike leathers. lol

by Josh rate this post as useful

... 2006/4/20 23:14
The other day I had to go to the city hall (or "ward" hall) for the area of Tokyo where I live, so I went around to the counter that deals with marriages and all that to ask. (I just mentioned that acquaintances of mine who loved Japan wanted to come visit, hold a ceremony, and possibly get "legally married" in Japan.) What city hall people are used to seeing in that "ward" of Tokyo has always been marriages where (1) at least one of the couple was a Japanese, or (2) both were non-Japanese, but both were residents of Japan. The person I asked there apparently did not know, but another guy joined and they took the trouble to look up some ordinances that relate to this matter.

Provided that all the papers are in place to demonstrate that in "substance" you are eligible to marry, the question focused on "in terms of *formality*, whether someone who are in Japan only *temporarily* meaning staying a hotel, etc. should be governed by the law of Japan, where the marriage ceremony is to take place, or by the law of their home country."

What they told me eventually (according to a Ministry of Justice ordinance dated.... I do not have the name in English) was that for Japanese law to be applicable thus relevant to non-Japanese when it comes to "koseki" (domicile register) administration (that includes marriages), that person would have to have been residing in Japan for at least one year. So for a couple, both non-Japanese and non-Japan-residents, coming over on a visit to get married, could not be covered by Japanese law; your application for marriage would not be accepted. So I asked, suppose two non-Japanese wanted to get married in Japan while they are on student visa less than one year (though over 90 days of stay, they would have their alien registration card with their address in Japan on it), would the application for their marriage in Japan be accepted, and they said no.

Seeing that the opinions among ward halls differ, I might recommend that you might want to check again, possibly select THE ward hall that you intend to go to, and ask. THe rules must be consistent, but interpretations *could* differ, and you would not want any disappointment later...

I'm no lawyer here, just found this out from my visit to a ward hall; if anyone is interested, the name of the Ministry of Justice "civil matters" notification is named as follows:


Anyway, good luck in everything! :)
by AK rate this post as useful

Follow-Up 2006/7/27 14:41
I just wanted to follow up in case anyone else had the same situation as us.

We went to the Chuo city hall in Tokyo because it was the closest one to the hotel we were staying in with our dual Affidavit of Competency to Marry signed and stamped at the US Embassy alone with a translation of the document provided by the wonderful people at our hotel. The man behind the counter began helping us fill out initial forms we had to fill out. He asked for our alien registration cards and we told him we didn't have them because we were only there for two weeks. He walked away and began speaking with two other men and looking through a few different what appeared to be law books. This made us very nervous.

After about 30 minutes, he came back and asked for our passports. We provided them and he helped us fill out the Kon-in Todoke in Japanese. We then went back to the hotel and two workers there gladly signed as witnesses and provided their seals.

We went back to the ward office and in just 15 minutes we were presented with our certificates. (We ordered two)

It was all painless really and there wasn't much hassle. The forms he gave us didnt' even ask for our alien registration cards, but did ask for our passport numbers. We were allowed to use the hotel address as our address. (I guess this would be similar to someone actually living in a hotel for a year on business and getting married, I'm sure it happens.)

I want to thank everyone for taking the time to answer our questions and especially those who did research for us. I guess law, no matter where you live, is only up to interpretation and luckily three clerks at the Chuo City Hall agreed we could marry!

Now it's time to report the marriage here. This is going to be much more fun I'm sure. :/

by Josh rate this post as useful

Congratulations 2006/7/27 15:19

Thanks for reporting back. I have to admit I was doubtful that you would be able to do this in Japan, but I'm glad to hear that it was relatively smooth in the end. Congratulations to you both!
by Dave in Saitama rate this post as useful

... 2006/7/27 15:32
The same here, thanks for writing again. Since your last question/post, I've been wondering how things went :) Glad to hear that things worked out fine, and congratulations to you both!! :)
by AK rate this post as useful

question for Josh... 2007/10/4 11:03
Hi Josh,
I am going through a similar situation. I was wondering if you could tell me about the paper work that you got from the US embassy. Did they help you to translate the form into Japanese? I know that you can print up the forms online, but can you submit those or do you have to get original forms from them in Japan.
Thank you,
by Sarah rate this post as useful

answer for Sarah 2007/10/6 15:47

We did get married in Japan without any problems. I have to refresh my memory, but basically we took the downloaded forms to our hotel and had the hotel graciously translate them for us, which they were more than happy to do. We then took the paperwork to the CIty Hall in the sect we were staying in. When you get to the hall, they will talk to you for a while and help you fill out a form. Once the form is filled out, you must get two (maybe three, can't remember exactly) people to sign (if not Japanese) or seal (if Japanese) it. It doesn't matter who, anyone can do it. Again, the hotel employees were more than happy to do that for us and felt honored that we asked them. Once that was complete, we took the form back to the hall and they gave us a certificate. It was pretty painless, but you do have to write in Japanese on the form (he wrote it on scratch paper and told us what to write where).

Once you are back in the US, you don't have to do anything, you're legally married. You must take the certificate to the Social Security office if you want to change your name though, which they will need to make a copy of to verify and send you a new SS card. Then you take the SS card to the DMV or likewise for your state id or driver's license.

I hope I answered your question. It has been a while and it all seemed like such a mess at the time, so I hope it's all accurate. It really was simple looking back at it, but we were really confused and nervous that they would deny us since we weren't "residents" as others have stated in this thread. If it didn't answer your question, please let me know, I'll try and be more specific.


by Josh rate this post as useful

to add... 2007/10/6 15:59
Think of this as a PS...as I didn't really answer your question I don't think.

When downloaded the original and Japanese forms from the website. We filled out the English one and took it to the US Embassy in Japan to have them stamp and notarize it. We then took the Japanese copy, unstamped, to our hotel and asked them to translate the English one to the Japanese one. The US Embassy will not do it for you, but anyone can and both forms do not need to be notarized, just the English one. (The Embassy won't even stamp the Japanese one, they only accept English) The hotel did the translation for us. Simply having the English one notarized at the Embassy with a Japanese copy was enough for the city ward to accept it as a completed form. It was pretty painless really. From there, it was exactly as I posted above your post.

Hope that helps. If it doesn't, feel free to contact me on messenger. I'm vampysirmouse on aim, msn, and yahoo. I'd be happy to ease your mind. I hope yours is as painless as ours was and I know how mind bending it can be.

by Josh rate this post as useful

Thanks 2009/9/28 11:51
Thanks so much for all the info! I was getting so stressed reading your prev posts! My fiancee and i are getting married in Japan in the Summer of 2010. I am making sure I have "all my ducks in a row" before I go there.

Thank you again so much for checking in w/all the info! Hopefully are process goes as smoothly as possible!
by Carlita rate this post as useful

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