Meiji Shrine Weddings are perfect for your Japan travel Photos

Meiji Shrine weddings are popular. Who doesn’t want to wear a beautiful kimono or hakama? Who doesn’t want their ceremony to be held at a place with huge historical and cultural significance? Who doesn’t want their wedding to be seen by thousands of people? So grab your camera and join the crowd. This is one of the best places in Tokyo to get some outstanding Japanese travel photos.

When are the Meiji Shrine weddings?

Before visiting the shrine to see one, look online for a Japanese Rokuyo calendar. They show the good or bad fortune days. Click here to see one. The culture for it comes from ancient China.

The luckiest day is Tai-an (大安). It will give you the best chance to see a procession. And there will probably be many of them throughout the day. Everyone loves good fortune. Don’t you?

And there are days to be avoided.  A few are even favorable before or after certain times.  Japanese couples plan their wedding days accordingly to make themselves as lucky as possible.

But having said that, many shrines offer discounts on unlucky days.  That keeps business coming, so don’t be surprised to see people getting hitched on Butsumetsu, the worst of days.

There will be fewer of them during the hottest and coldest months for obvious reasons. Summer is a terrible time for these events as they are formal. No one likes to spend an afternoon in hot clothes, slowly getting drenched in sweat.

What is a Meiji Shrine wedding procession like?

They are very solemn. Two priests usually lead them them. Then the Miko (shrine maidens), attendants, and the couple, under a red umbrella, with their attendants, follow. Family and friends bring up the rear. Everyone enters the courtyard in front of the main hall and moves across it to the shrine.  The procession returns in the same order and route once the ceremony ends.

Visitors rush to find a good position to watch when the processions appear. Smartphones and cameras form a wall along the route. The click of shutters becomes very audible.

When photographing a marriage procession, getting lost in the moment is easy. It’s possible to forget where you are trying to get a good picture as the bridal couple pass. Avoid creeping forward, trying to get that perfect picture. 

Some people move too far and enter the procession path. It’s happened to me. Luckily, staff in the courtyard announce the comings and goings of parades. They keep an eye on everything and will warn people who get too close.

Recommended lenses for Meiji Shrine weddings

Anything will work. With longer lenses, you’ll be able to fill your frame more. But with shorter lenses, you’ll be able to work in more of the background. My favorite for this place is the Fujifilm 55- 200 mm lens. It’s a nice compromise. Of course, you could take more than one lens!

Wrapping up

Meiji Shrine weddings are great opportunities to see these traditional events up close. The brides’ kimonos are beautiful. Some cost a fortune. If you’re lucky, some couples appear again with a photographer to take more casual photos around the shrine. That might give you another chance to get more snaps.

Many shrines in Japan offer wedding ceremonies, but Meiji is the best place to see one. It is the perfect place to get your ultimate Tokyo travel photo. You can read my full article about the shrine here.

For more wedding photo articles, look at:

External website about Meiji Shrine weddings

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