What are Weddings and Anniversaries Like in Japan? – A Brief Overview

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Japanese culture is unique in many ways. However, it is true that Western influences have impacted traditional celebrations to merge with some old traditions.

If you are invited to a Japanese wedding in a wedding chapel, there will be elements that will be familiar to the west. Gift-giving is seen as an act of appreciation, a show of respect, and a presentation of gratitude, which is the ethos behind all gift-giving in Japan and something that many in the West could learn from. In this article, we’ll talk a bit about the wedding practices in Japan, as well as some ways you can celebrate your anniversary in this beautiful country.

Japanese Western-Style Weddings 

At Japanese Western-style weddings, the bride is often seen in a white dress at a Christian church rather than wearing formal silk wedding kimonos at Shinto shrines where the couple exchange cups of sake as a symbol of their union rather than rings.

Most church weddings are about style rather than religion in this predominantly Buddhist country.

The church gives couples the chance to have the event photographed and videoed, which isn’t always possible in a shrine (though many do allow this).

See an example of a traditional Japanese-style wedding here:

 

A church ceremony also allows more people to attend since a shrine will limit the number of guests. Shrines tend to be much smaller, and guests sometimes sit on the floor.  

Other western rituals that have been adopted in Japanese wedding celebrations are the cutting of the cake and the honeymoon after the wedding. 

The wedding reception has always been similar to that in the West, with relatives and friends invited to a meal where speeches are made and there is plenty to drink.

When it comes to Japanese wedding gifts, the gift is money that is presented in a special decorative envelope known as a shugi bukuro.  

 

Romantic Japan  

For those already married, Japan is a wonderful place to celebrate an anniversary.

There are many things to do for anniversary to cover all interests and personalities. From hitting the town in some bustling Tokyo districts to relaxing in the serene wilderness of bamboo forests, hot springs. and mountain temples.

You can soak in the atmosphere of Tokyo‘s izakaya pubs and 24-hour entertainment before some quiet time together at a private inn hidden in the hills or at Okinawan beach resorts. 

 

Wedding anniversaries in Japan 

Wedding anniversaries in Japan are celebrated in ways that mirror traditions followed in the West. They both include symbolic traditional and modern materials related to each wedding anniversary that mirrors the strengthening of the couple’s relationship.

Gifts can start with fragile and low-value gifts for the first anniversaries and progress to stronger or more expensive materials like silver or gold for milestone anniversaries.  

Traditionally, in the West, the fourth anniversary is represented by linen or appliances and the 10th anniversary by tin. In Japan, the fourth wedding anniversary is known as the “Flower anniversary” and the 10th wedding anniversary is the “Tin anniversary” where gifts are given of bouquets or items made from tin. Whilst tin may be a cheaper metal in the West, it has a stronger meaning in Japan since it is used as a sacred material for Shinto rituals. Tin sake drinking cups are also said to make dry sake or wine mellower.

A tin cup will also hold the temperature of the drink for longer than cups made from glass, porcelain or other material.  

Here are the materials that traditionally represent each anniversary: 

  • 1st Paper  
  • 2nd Cotton  
  • 3rd Leather  
  • 4th Flower  
  • 5th Wood  
  • 6th Iron  
  • 7th Copper  
  • 8th Rubber, Bronze, Electric appliances 
  • 9th Pottery  
  • 10th Tin  
  • 11th Steel  
  • 12th Silk, Fine linen  
  • 13th Lace  
  • 14th Ivory  
  • 15th Crystal  
  • 20th Porcelain  
  • 25th Silver  
  • 30th Pearl  
  • 35th Coral  
  • 40th Ruby  
  • 45th Sapphire  
  • 50th Gold  
  • 55th Emerald  
  • 60th Diamond  
  • 75th Platina  

List via Eternity Rose

Anniversary Vacations in Japan 

Japan offers a romantic anniversary vacation for every couple, with guaranteed snow in Hokkaido in the north for those that like skiing, ice-carvings, and evenings at capital Sapporo’s namesake brewery. Nara is a UNESCO city with temples and shrines to rival Osaka, with fewer tourists. 

Okinawa is a cluster of white-sand beaches, turquoise surf, and superb diving whilst the Fuji’s Five Lake region offers the best views of sacred Mount Fuji, which is technically an active volcano. 

 


We hope you enjoyed this article! This article was posted in partnership with Eternity Rose. Check out their website for anniversary gift ideas.

Looking for more gift ideas for that special someone? We’ve got you covered:

  1. 8 Best Anime Gift Ideas for Him – Otaku Overload
  2. 9 Best Anime Gift Ideas for Her

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