I introduce our Japanese traditional Shinto wedding.
We had a marriage ceremony at Kirithim-Higashi Shrine. The shrine is located in the deep Kirishima Mountains. The ceremony is the happiest memory in our lives.
We decided to make this report, because we hope many people will conduct their marriage at Japanese shrine and have wonderful memory.
Lake “Miike” beside the shrine
Temizuuya (Place to purify your hands before you pray for the God)
Gate to the main hall
Road reaching to the hall
Sanshin (March to main hall of shrine)
Sanshin is a ritual in which groom, bride and their family make lines and march to the main hall of shrine.
Japanese drum starts sounds in distance and the Shinto priest starts to lead us to the main hall.
No one is speaking and we could only hear the solemn sounds of drum and occasional birds singing in deep forests.
Sanshin is conducted in order to prepare our minds before meeting the Gods of the shrine.
We just went through the shrine gate.
Kirishima-Higashi Shrine is located in deep forests of Kirishima Mountains.
The shrine is famous as the powerful spiritual spot.
We feel lucky that weather is fine.
Cedar trees and camphor trees are very big.
Those tree creates sacred atmosphere.
Haiden-Chakuza (Sit on Shrine Hall)
We sit in front of the God after we arrive at the hall.
Bride and groom sit at just front of shrine. I feel as if the sacred wind is blowing from the front…!
(Strictly speaking, bride and groom fold their legs under themselves, but we sit on chair because my father has painful knees.)
Groom sits on the left side of God, while bride sits on the right side.
Our fathers sit at the back of us.
Mothers and other relatives sit at the hall behind us.
My heart beats very fast!
Shubatsu (Purification Ritual)
Shinto priest purify all participants of the ceremony with a big bundle of papers.
The Shubatsu is conducted in order to purify our minds and bodies before invite the God.
Shinto puts the most emphasis on the cleanses and pureness.
The priest purify bride and grooms before our parents and other relatives.
The large sound of the paper resounds in the silent mountain.
We feel thankful to be purified.
We feel as if our minds are calming down and ready to meet the God…
Norito (Shinto Ritual Prayer)
Shinto priest delivers Norito or the ritual prayer to the God.
Norito is conducted to deliver the report to become husband and wife to the God.
Norito is delivered in Yamato-Kotoba or the ancient Japanese language of about 1,500 years ago.
Honestly speaking, I could not understand the language. But main theme of the Norito is the prayer for the eternal love and harmony between our families.
Exchange of Marriage Rings
This is not the originally the part of Shinto-style wedding, but we exchanged the rings as many other couples do.
My wife made the ring pillows for our rings. She made the pillow so that it matches the atmosphere of the shrine wedding.
Oh my god, the pillow is so pretty!
San-san-kudo (Exchange of Sake Cups)
San-san-kudo is the ceremony of drinking Japanese Sake.
The sake is believed to have the power of the God.
Groom and bride drink Sake three times with the same cup. They repeat it 3 times with 3 different size of cup. (i.e. They drink 9 cups of Sake in total).
This process of drinking Sake means the marriage bows.
Even if you cannot drink alcohol, there is no problem. All you have to do is that you pretend to drink it. Nobody will scold you.
My wife didn’t drink it because she is pregnant, while I drank all 9 cups of Sake.
I got a bit fizzy.
Groom and bride stand in front of the God and groom reads the marriage vow.
The shrine priests will usually prepare for vow paper for you.
It is very precious occasion in our life, because it is the first and last time to speak to the God at this close vicinity.
(Normally worshipers cannot enter the shrine hall. Even if they are inside the hall, they have to keep silent!)
We appreciated the precious opportunity. I read the vow sentence as politely and honestly as possible.
I practiced reading the sentence everyday for 1 month, but I still felt nervous.
After reading the vow, we did “bowing twice, clapping hands twice and bowing once”
Do you know what those movement mean according to the Shinto religion? Let me explain each movement for you.
- We pay respects to the God by first 2 bows
- We clap hands twice to invite the God to us. Then we pray for the God.
- We make the last bow to send off the God.
Shinzoku-Katame-no-Sakazuki (Exchange Sake Cups between Families)
Both families of groom and bride drink Sake with the same cup.
After families exchange Sake cups, bride and groom drink Sake with the cup used by families.
This ritual is conducted to tighten the bond between 2 families.
I got a bit drunk but feel very warm thanks to Sake.
At the last part of the wedding ceremony, the shrine priest gave us greetings which ends the ceremony.
After leaving the hall, we took a picture at the twin cedar trees at the shrine garden.
Under Twin Trees
We will make the happiest family in the world!
Access to Kirishima-Higashi Shrine
- Address : Kamamura 6437, Takaharu-Cho, Nishimorokata-Gun, Miyazaki Prefecture, Japan
- Transportation : Road is narrow so be careful if you drive a big car, especially in winder season when the road is often covered with snow and become slippery. 道
About 2 hours from Kagoshima Airport by car. About 2.5 hours from Kagoshima City by car.
Recommend Articles of Kirishima-Higashi Shrine
We visited the shrine to see the annual festival of the shrine. It is very mysterious and spiritual.
Recommend for Other Shrines
Kirishima Jingu Shrine (Kirishima City, Kagoshima)
Udo Jingu Shrine (Nichinan City, Miyazaki) Sorry, Japanese Only
Hirakiki Shrine (Ibusuki City, Kagoshima)
Nitta Shrine (Satsuma-Sendai City, Kagoshima)