Now I know what you might be thinking from reading the title. No, I didn’t get married in Japan and the wedding photos aren’t about my wedding. In fact I don’t even know the people in the wedding photos that I took but alas I ended up as a wedding photographer and here is how it all began.
As I have said before, Japan is full of temples and Shinto weddings are increasingly uncommon in a country that has adapted and adopted many western wedding traditions. These two points are very important in understanding why it is that I started to take photos of newlyweds. First of all, I went to a lot of temples/shrines while in Japan and I mean A LOT! Which is to say that my chances of running into a Shinto wedding were increased that much more than the average Japanese person or tourist. Naturally as someone who likes to take photos I ended up capturing many of these ceremonies throughout my stay in Japan.
My first experience with weddings here I have already talked about in my post on Miyajima. It was really interesting to see a traditional ceremony though if I’m honest I would not be comfortable having the ceremony performed in front of random people as they passed by.
On another occasion, while visiting Hakone on a UCEAP excursion I was able to take some pictures of a couple while walking around the lake. This photo that I captured is one of my favorites because of the setting sun, the reflection on the lake and the silhouette of the newlywed husband and wife.
My next two photos are from two separate occasions of visiting Meiji Shrine which as it turns out is a popular place to see newlyweds. In fact on the first visit I saw five couples who performed their wedding ceremony together and subsequently paraded in a wedding procession.
There’s something beautiful about witnessing weddings abroad, especially witnessing weddings of traditional style that are different from one’s own. Given the context of a decreasing population in Japan and the rarity of marriages in general, being able to see ceremonies like this is very special.
For my part it started a bit of a hobby or challenge of trying to capture weddings in the different countries that I visited. Japan was just the beginning.