Couple Photography


Studio Trip January 24, 2024

Couple with their marriage certificate in a kyoto pre wedding photoshoot

Louise and Chris had been longing for some well deserved holidays for a long time and Japan was an attractive destination: a little bit of zen wouldn’t hurt. Finding inspiration in the sudden relief of their trip through Asia, something became clear: marriage wasn’t such a crazy idea in the end. And what better place than Kyoto to get married!

They wanted to escape conventionalities and run-of-the-mill wedding ceremonies; they wanted something in their own way: raw and fun. Like capturing in a wedding film the process of getting a marriage certificate in the town hall of Kyoto and celebrating it afterwards.

Of course, with such a fun and exciting premise we couldn’t help but say yes. 

Higashiyama Ward Office

We met at noon in front of the Kyoto City Hall only to discover that marriage certificates are exclusively issued in the ward offices, so we took a taxi to the office of Higashiyama, the closest to their hotel, in order to go through the paperwork as quickly as possible.

Although the Japanese bureaucracy posed a major challenge, Hugo, the main interpreter of our team, managed to deal with the situation and translated in situ some of the required documents. It was probably the first time most of the clerks there saw two foreigners getting married in their office. Some shy yet curious heads would rise a little bit above the office partitions to watch the show.

After an hour of filling in paperwork, the clerk disappeared for a while and came back with the marriage certificate. “You are now officially married under the Japanese Law. Congratulations”. A kiss and the whole office erupted in applause and cheering. They left the building like rockstars amidst the roar of the audience.

Pre wedding photoshoot in Kyoto
Any place can become a wedding hall if you are in good company.

P.S. The process of getting your marriage certificate in Japan isn’t as complicated as it might seem, but you need to bring all the documents with you and their respective official translations when necessary (or, as we did, come with an interpreter that can translate them for you on site). You can check the necessary arrangements here.

As soon as we left the Ward Office with the couple, we headed directly to the busy streets of Gion. Although the district was, as always, considerably crowded, we got to briefly enjoy the vibrant atmosphere and the traditional houses and temples before we arrived at their hotel: the Hotel Seiryu Kyoto Kiyomizu.

Pre wedding photoshoot in Gion, Kyoto
Walking through the streets of Gion with the Yasaska Pagoda as background.

K36, Rooftop Bar

With the marriage certificate in their hands and having visited one of the highlights of their trip in Japan, the only thing left to be done was celebrating their new start together.

The Hotel Seiryu Kyoto Kiyomizu is famous in Gion for its rooftop bar, the K36. Since it’s located in a pretty high area inside the Geisha District, the views from there are stunning: one can appreciate the whole geisha quarter up to the mountains surrounding Kyoto in a sweeping glance.

Pre wedding photoshoot in Kyoto
The Entrance of the Hotel Seiryu Kyoto Kiyomizu.

The staff of the K36 kindly provided us with sake so that the couple could perform an adapted version of the San San Kudo, a shinto ritual in which the couple drinks three times sake from different sized vessels as a binding ceremony.

San San Kudo from the K36 Bar
A not so solemn San San Kudo.

With the last sip, the video shoot was over. Regardless, Louise and Chris were so kind as to invite us to drinks and food after the experience. We were blessed to have such a lovely, clever and fun couple as customers.

Wish you all the best from Kyoto.

Kiss with the pagoda of Gion as background