February 18, 2018

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Wedding Ceremonies at Chapels in Japan


In Japan, people usually have weddings in either the Shinto style, or the Christian style.

Only a few have them in the Buddhist style. Most Japanese people do not affiliate with a religion, so the religious style of the ceremony often depends on the couple’s preference of wearing a kimono, as in the Shinto tradition, or a dress (bride) and dress suit (groom), as in the Christian tradition.

There are buildings in Japan that look exactly like churches, but do not have any religious function, and are only used for wedding ceremonies. People in Japan tend to refer to this kind of building as a “chapel,”written as “チャペル” in Japanese, and pronounced similarly to the word “chapel” in English. However, there are also actual churches in Japan which do serve a religious function, and these places are referred to as “kyokai,” written as “教会” in Japanese.

I have heard that at chapels, in addition to actual priests, foreign actors often act as priests during the wedding ceremonies there. When I told this to a friend of mine, who is a devout Christian from America, she was very shocked.


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