Japanese Marriage Laws: Marrying a Non-Japanese Citizen in Japan | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan
Japanese Marriage Laws: Marrying a Non-Japanese Citizen in Japan

Japanese Marriage Laws: Marrying a Non-Japanese Citizen in Japan

By Guidable Writers Oct 2, 2016

This post is also available in: Chinese (Simplified) Chinese (Traditional)

How to get married in Japan according to Japanese International Marriage laws

There is no suitable place and time when it comes to love. It can happen to anyone and anywhere and if you are one of the few handpicked by Cupid, then congratulations are a must!

Being a foreigner in Japan can sometimes be overwhelming. There are a lot of rules to adhere to. That said, if you are one of the international couples living in Japan (which means that both of your are not japanese citizens), there is a wall that you have to overcome in order to be together in Japan. This includes figuring out where to live, agreement of both of your parents are approved, jobs, and so many other things! It takes a really great effort and many couples are trying hard to achieve this goal. However, the paper process of marrying a foreign person in Japan is a little bit different from the marriage between citizens of Japan. First, you should schedule the process of documents as well as your wedding ceremony in advance in order not to miss your memorable day! This isn’t a romantic love story, but I’d like to explain how to apply for your marriage registration in Japan.



The marriage in Japan is all based on Japanese Law. To marry a foreigner in Japan, the foreigner needs to prepare “Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contact Marriage” (婚姻要件具備証明書) to prove you’re single and above the age to marry legally. It really depends on the country you’re from, so you need to check what documents are to be prepared. You will also need to prepare your passport as well.


Here’s an example of a person married to American: You can click here.


Sample of Expat’s real-life experiences

In my husband’s case, he went to the American Embassy in Japan to get the document. He paid $50 to get it, and it’s only valid for 3 months. Also, the Japanese partner needs to check what documents are necessary for the international marriage in advance at the local city/town/village office where you’ll submit your marriage registration.

In Japan, we have a unique Family Register system called “koseki (戸籍)”, which doesn’t exist in many western countries. It provides the personal information about family relationships, marriage, divorce, adoption of child, and so on. Therefore, it is called a family and personal history. When Japanese people marry to foreigners, they make a new registration, but foreigners can’t be a part of the new family register. Your name will be written in a note of your new husband/wife’s family register. Don’t worry too much about this, since the koseki system doesn’t actually affect your status of getting legally married in Japan.


When we marry, we use a common family name (usually man’s name) in general. However in international marriages in Japan, we don’t have to change the family name unless we want. This really doesn’t sound like marrying because you don’t have to change the name of the driver’s license, bank account, or insurances.


I hope you research and prepare well in advance for your great happiness and wonderful future????