How to Get Married in Japan: Document Checklist + Step-by-Step Guide
Want to get married in Japan? Whether you're looking at a western-style wedding or a Shinto-style ceremony, if you want your marriage to be legally binding, you need to register your marriage according to Japanese law.
However, gathering and filing the necessary paperwork can be confusing, especially if you don't know where to begin.
We look at the requirements for how to get married in Japan, the legal marriage age in Japan, the documents to prepare, and a step-by-step on how to submit a marriage registration form (婚姻届 = konin todoke).
What are the requirements to get married in Japan?
For a marriage to be legal in Japan, you must register it at a municipal government office. In addition, you and your partner must meet the conditions outlined in Japan's Civil Code and follow the laws of your home country (if you are a foreigner).
Requirements for marriage as outlined in Japan's civil code are as follows:
Japan's marriage age is 18 years old. Previously, the minimum age for marriage was 18 for men and 16 for women in Japan. However, following the Civil Code revision regarding the age of adulthood in April 2022, the minimum age is now 18 for males and females.
Women are not allowed to remarry within 6 months of divorce.
Immediate and close relatives are not permitted to marry.
Is same-sex marriage permitted in Japan?
Unfortunately, Japan does not recognize same-sex marriage. Nevertheless, certain districts and cities implement a same-sex partnership system (同性パートナーシップ制度 = dōsei pātonāshippu seido) where local governments recognize same-sex couples as being equivalent to marriage and issue a legally non-binding certificate. You can learn more about this partnership system here.
What documents are needed to get married in Japan?
Here's a checklist of documents you'll need to prepare to register a marriage in Japan:
1. Marriage registration form (konin todoke)
This form is available at all city offices and, in most cases, downloadable from their official website. Although you can fill this form out on the day, there is a section that needs to be completed by two witnesses. Therefore, you must either have them sign the document beforehand or go to the city office with your witnesses to complete the application.
Image. Sapporo's konin todoke form.
2. Valid ID
In most cases, a passport, driver's license, residence card, or My Number card is sufficient.
3. Family registry (戸籍謄本 = koseki tōhon)
Required for Japanese citizens getting married outside of their registered domicile (本籍地 = honseki chi).
4. Certificate of no impediment (婚姻要件具備証明書 = konin yōken gubi shōmei sho)
Foreign residents must present a certificate of no impediment (also called an affidavit of competency to marry), which is a document that verifies one's legal ability to wed. You can obtain this document at your respective embassy or consulate.
5. Birth certificate
Depending on which municipality you register your marriage, your original birth certificate may be required.
You must attach Japanese translations to all documents submitted in a foreign language, including passports, birth certificates, and affidavits.
You don't need a registered professional translator to translate these documents; as long as names and places are translated and written in katakana, you're good to go.
Depending on your municipal office, additional documentation may be needed. Always check with your local city office before submitting the necessary paperwork.
Japan's Ministry of Justice site answers frequently asked questions related to getting married in Japan as a foreigner.
Step-by-step how to submit a konin todoke form to get legally married in Japan
Here's a step-by-step guide on how to submit a konin todoke form to register your marriage in Japan.
Step 1. Acquire the marriage registration form from a city office or download it from their homepage and fill it out.
You must complete the form in Japanese with signatures from two witnesses. For a filled-out sample of a marriage registration form, click here.
Step 2. Gather all required documents and translate them if necessary.
We listed the documents you need to register your marriage in the previous section. However, you may need additional documents depending on the rules of your municipality.
Step 3. Choose a date.
The day you submit your registration form is when you will be legally married. If you have a particular date in mind, prepare all documents beforehand to be ready when the time comes.
Step 4. Submit the paperwork to your city office.
Bring the marriage registration form and required documents to your city office on the day you wish to wed. Once they are filed and approved, you will be married in Japan.
Step 5. Report your marriage to your embassy or consulate.
Getting married in Japan for foreigners may necessitate reporting your marriage to your embassy or consulate. However, certain countries do not require you to register or report your marriage at the embassy of your home country. Check your embassy's home page or call them to confirm if you can skip this step.
Additionally, if one partner is a Japanese citizen, it's possible to register the marriage by postal mail. To do so, you need to submit all required documents by post, including a photocopy of both partners' IDs, family registry, etc.
Are marriage certificates issued in Japan?
There are two types of documents that certify marriage in Japan.
1. Certificate of Acceptance of Notification of Marriage (婚姻届受理証明書 = kekkon-todoke juri shōmeisho)
This certificate includes basic information such as names, dates of birth, nationalities, and registration date. It also proves that you registered the marriage officially at a municipal office. (Issuance fee, approx. ¥350.)
Image. Example of Certificate of Acceptance of Notification of Marriage from Osaka city office.
2. Certification of Information Recorded on Marriage Registration (結婚届記載事項証明書 = kekkon-todoke kisai jiko shōmeisho)
This is an extended version of the certificate above. It includes photocopies of all documents submitted to register the marriage at the municipal office. (Handling fee: ¥800)
You will not automatically receive these certificates after registering your marriage. Instead, you must request them separately at the municipal office where you registered your marriage.
We advise that you have at least one of these certificates on hand, especially if you are returning to your home country, as it will be your only proof of marriage in Japan.
English resources on how to get married in Japan:
MailMate is the ultimate virtual mailbox for Japan. We receive your mail, scan it, translate it, and store it. Then, you can read it from anywhere at any time.
Get a virtual office address and all your mail handled (we’ll even pay your bills if you want) risk-free for 30 days with our 30-day moneyback guarantee. Book a Consultation