Embracing the Beauty of Japanese Shinto Weddings

By Staff Writer
February 29, 2024
Traditional Japanese Shinto weddings are a captivating display of ancient customs and spiritual beliefs. Rooted in the rich cultural heritage of Japan, these weddings offer a glimpse into a world where tradition and spirituality intertwine.
A Japanese couple in their Shinto wedding
Japanese Shintoism places great importance on the sacredness of marriage. Shinto weddings, known as "Shinzen kekkon," honor the divine spirits, believed to reside in all things. This belief forms the foundation of a Shinto wedding, where the union of two individuals is considered a sacred bond.
A Shinto wedding ceremony
To seal that bond, the bride and groom both wear traditional attire. The bride wears a sumptuous white kimono called "shiro-muku," symbolizing purity and exuding elegance, while the groom wears a black kimono called "montsuki hakama”, signifying formality.

The couple gets married at a Shinto shrine and is accompanied by their families. Upon arrival at the shrine, the couple walks towards the altar carrying "sakaki" branches, symbolizing purification and fertility, before getting blessings from a Shinto priest at the altar. Purification rituals, the exchange of symbolic items, and the offering of prayers to the divinities are integral parts of the Shinto wedding ceremony. The couple may also share sake, symbolizing their union. These rituals create a sense of spiritual harmony and set the stage for a joyful married life.
A Japanese bride on her wedding day
Shinto weddings are not only held at outdoor shrines but also at indoor shrines inside wedding halls, hotels, and traditional Japanese restaurants called ryotei. Furthermore, some people choose to hold their wedding ceremonies in gardens of hotels and ryotei restaurants.

Family members, dressed in traditional attire, also actively participate by offering support and blessings to the couple. Guests join in by offering prayers and well-wishes, fostering a warm and benevolent atmosphere that celebrates love and unity.
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