While Japan does not officially recognise same-sex marriage nationwide, the country is home to a vibrant LGBTQ+ community and offers various welcoming spaces where couples can celebrate their union. From the neon-lit streets of Tokyo to the tranquil gardens of Kyoto, Japan boasts unique venues that cater to gay weddings, offering a blend of traditional elegance and contemporary charm. Here's a guide to some of the top places in Japan where you can celebrate your love and host a memorable gay wedding ceremony.
1. Tokyo Rainbow Pride-Friendly Venues
Shibuya and Shinjuku Districts, Tokyo
In 2015, Shibuya Ward became the first area in Japan to issue partnership certificates to same-sex couples, marking a significant step forward for LGBTQ+ rights in the country. Both Shibuya and Shinjuku are at the heart of Tokyo's LGBTQ+ scene, with various venues offering inclusive wedding packages. From chic urban hotels to private event spaces overlooking the city's skyline, couples can find the perfect setting for their big day.
2. Traditional Shrines with a Modern Twist
Shunkoin Temple, Kyoto
Shunkoin Temple, nestled within the historic Myoshinji temple complex in Kyoto, offers a unique blend of traditional Japanese aesthetics and progressive values. The temple openly conducts same-sex wedding ceremonies, allowing couples to experience the solemnity of a Buddhist ceremony amidst serene Zen gardens. It's an ideal choice for those seeking a spiritual and intimate setting.
3. Luxurious Resorts and Onsens
Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture
Hakone, known for its hot springs and breathtaking views of Mount Fuji, is home to several resorts and onsen ryokans (traditional Japanese inns) that welcome LGBTQ+ couples. Imagine exchanging vows in a private outdoor ceremony surrounded by nature, followed by a celebratory soak in a hot spring bath.
4. Hotel Granvia Kyoto
Nestled within the bustling Kyoto Station complex, Hotel Granvia Kyoto is not only a testament to modern luxury but also a venue that embraces diversity and inclusivity. With its elegant ballrooms and banquet facilities, the hotel offers a sophisticated setting for gay weddings. The experienced wedding planning team is dedicated to creating tailor-made ceremonies and receptions that reflect each couple's unique story, ensuring an unforgettable celebration of love.
5. Beachfront Bliss
For a tropical beach wedding, look no further than Okinawa. The islands offer pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a laid-back atmosphere, making it a dream destination for a wedding ceremony by the sea. Several resorts in Okinawa are LGBTQ+ friendly and can arrange everything from a simple beachfront ceremony to a lavish reception.
6. Contemporary Art Spaces
Benesse Art Site Naoshima, Kagawa Prefecture
For art-loving couples, the Benesse Art Site Naoshima provides a unique backdrop for a wedding. This contemporary art museum and resort on Naoshima Island integrates art, architecture, and nature. Couples can celebrate their love among world-class artworks and stunning architectural landmarks, creating a truly memorable experience.
Planning Your Gay Wedding in Japan
While planning a gay wedding in Japan, it's essential to work with venues and service providers who are explicitly LGBTQ+ friendly. Many venues now advertise their inclusivity, and there are wedding planners who specialise in LGBTQ+ ceremonies who can help navigate the planning process, ensuring that your celebration is joyous, respectful, and tailored to your wishes.
Japan offers a captivating mix of tradition, modernity, nature, and art, making it a beautiful destination for gay weddings. Despite the lack of official legal recognition for same-sex marriage, the country's diverse venues and supportive communities ensure that LGBTQ+ couples can celebrate their love in style. From the historical ambiance of Kyoto to the tropical beauty of Okinawa, each venue presents an opportunity to create a wedding that reflects your unique bond and shared values, surrounded by the unparalleled beauty of Japan.