Legal Requirements for Getting Married in Japan
Allow least a few days from arrival in Japan to wedding date to process paperwork. With careful planning, it is possible to complete the paperwork in a day. We recommend giving yourself more time due to weekends, holidays or unexpected delays.
Necessary legal documents:
Please note that some municipalities require documents to be submitted in Japanese. Contact the Embassy in your home country or the Embassy in Japan for an authorized translator. If your documents are translated, be prepared to submit the original copies in your native language for verification as well as the translated version.
- Original or certified copy of birth certificates
- Valid Passports
- Certificate of No Impediment*/Competency to Marry (obtained at your Embassy in Japan in the district you plan to marry or to save time check with the Japanese Embassy or local Registrar in your home country)
- Japanese Citizens: family register (koseki-tohon)
- Divorce or death certificates, if applicable. Women must have finalized a divorce at least 6 months prior to remarrying.
Legal requirements to get married:
- Ceremony (Civil/Religious)
Legally recognized weddings preformed in Japan are civil ceremonies. If the ceremony is preformed in a language that either party does not speak, an interpreter should be hired. Traditional, religious, non-denominational or secular ceremonies are not legally recognized, but can proceed a civil ceremony to fulfill the desires of the bride and groom-to-be.
- Age and Relation
The bride and groom must be at least 20 years of age. If they are underage, parental consent is necessary. With parental consent, women must be at least 16 years of age and men must be at least 18 years of age. Note that the legal age in your home country must be met to be recognized. For example, the United States requires that both parties be 18 years of age for your marriage to be recognized upon your return to the United States. The bride and groom cannot be related by blood, marriage or adoption.
Two witnesses must be present for the signing of the sworn affidavit of Competency to Marry.
Take all paperwork to your Embassy and a Japanese Municipal Government Office (Tokyo, Hamamatsu, Nagoya, Osaka, Sapporo, Yokohama, etc.). You will want to make an appointment ahead of time. US citizens: Tokyo , Naha. UK Citizens: Tokyo and Osaka.
- The municipal government office issues a Japanese language “Certificate of Acceptance of Notification of Marriage” (Kon-in Todoke Juri Shomeisho 婚姻届受理証明書). This will be signed and issued the day of the ceremony.
- You will need to translate and notarize your Certificate of Marriage. Contact your Embassy to proceed. Make an appointment and bring the Certificate of Acceptance of Notification of Marriage, the translation and passports to your Embassy.
*A Certificate of No Impediment, is also known as a Single Status Affidavit, Single Status Statutory Declaration, Certificate of No Record, a Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage, Certificate of Nulla Osta or a Certificate de coutume (plus an MP2A form).
Note: This information can change at any given moment. For up-to-date information, contact your embassy in the country in which you plan to marry.
We invite you to contact us with any new information. Be sure to note, “Update Marriage Requirements in Japan” in the subject line.