The Marriage Procedure
Find out about the documents required in order to get married and have your wedding in Japan...
In order to get married in Japan, the following documents should be taken to the local Ward office:
- Marriage registration form (kon-in-todoke) which must be signed by two witnesses, who are over 20
- Family register (koseki tohon) or its extract (koseki shohon) and the seal (inkan) for Japanese people
- Certificate of No Impediment (yoken gubi shomeisho) for foreigners (issued within the last three months). If it is not in Japanese it must be translated. This can be obtained from the Embassy or Consulate
- Identification: if a passport is not Japanese it should be translated into Japanese
- Alien registration card
- A personal seal (inkan), otherwise a signature is sufficient
- Those under 20 years old need their parents' signed permission (douisho)
- Sometimes a birth certificate and its translation is necessary but this depends on the local Ward office
The Marriage Procedure
The necessary documents should be taken to the local Ward or city office closest to the couple's place of residence. There is no ceremony and an appointment is not necessary. It is best for the couple to go to the office, but a proxy can submit the documents in the event that the couple are unable to go themselves. In this case, proof of identity of the proxy is necessary. A seal or inkan (an official stamp bearing the person's name) or signature is also required.
Certificate of Acceptance of Notification of Marriage
A Certificate of Acceptance of Notification of Marriage (kon-in-todoke jyuri shomeisho) is handed to the couple by the local Ward or city office either on the day or a few days after the documents have been handed in.
The marriage is recorded in the family register if at least one partner is Japanese, but if not the Certificate of Acceptance of Notification of Marriage is the only proof that the marriage took place. Two versions of this certificate are available: large and small. Should a translation be required, it is necessary to ask home country consulates for a translation.
Name Change after Marriage
A Japanese national can change their name after marriage and record it in the family register. However, this must be done within six months of the marriage or it may be necessary to go through the courts to effect the name change.
A foreign spouse marrying a Japanese person must contact their home country consulate for further information on changing their name. Proof of the marriage is required.
Following a name change, the foreign spouse has to update their alien registration card at the local city hall or ward office.
Same-sex marriage is not legal or recognised in Japan. Foreigners in Japan can register as married in Japan as long as they were married in another country. However, a Japanese person can't be married to a same sex partner.
The following Embassies provide information about getting married in Japan: