Marriage procedure in Japan.

Some months ago I promised I would do a post about marriage procedure in Japan. Here it is. When I was in Japan back in February, my fiancé and I decided to get married in April, meaning I had one and a half month to get documents ready while I was back in Denmark.

Birth Certificate & Certificate of Marital Status

First, I went to my city hall to apply for a “Certificate of Marital Status”. A document, which proves, I am unmarried. At the same time I applied for a new “Birth Certificate”. These papers arrived around one week later.

Then I needed a translation of these documents into Japanese. Everyone can do that translation, but a lot of places in Japan then require the translations to be verified by an embassy or consulate (of ones own nationality). But, my fiancé contacted his city hall (which is a small community in country side Miyazaki) and they didn’t seem to have much knowledge on the area and said that no stamps were required as far as they knew.

Marriage registration paper

Then I went to Japan in March with my two documents. Later on my fiancé and I then translated them into Japanese together in a regular word document. Then we filled out the required paper from his city hall, which asked for our personal information (including parents and birth order).

That paper requires to be signed/stamped by two witnesses, who verifies that our marriage is genuine. We choose to let my fiancé’s parents to sign. Then we went to the city hall there in Japan, bringing along the first two mentioned documents (+ translations), the Japanese marriage paper and my passport. At the city hall they checked the papers, took a copy of my passport and after some waiting they announced that we were now married. It was not fully over, yet, since we were now only married in Japan. We asked for a copy of our “Marriage Certificate” and went home.

Marriage Certificate

The next step was a trip all the way to the “Ministry of Foreign Affairs” in Osaka. There we applied for a “Apostille”, which we got the next day, attached to our marriage certificate.

Marriage Certificate with Apostille

Then I contacted the Japanese Embassy in Denmark and scheduled a time I would come by to get the marriage certificate translated. There I also had to bring along a copy of my husbands passport and money to pay the translation fee. Then I, after long waiting, obtained a English translation and a certificate that proved the translation to be true.

Translation certificate


All those papers (Translation certificate, English translation of marriage certificate and original copy of the marriage certificate with the apostille attached). Those papers I then finally handed in to my own city hall and I was then finally married in both countries. Then later I had to fill out papers to apply for my new, Japanese surname.

3 responses

  1. hey buddy, quick question – re the certificate of marital status (Certificate of Impediment to Marriage in my country) – you said you translated the document yourself into Japanese for the ward office – is this then signed by someone to verify the translation or… what happens to make that translated document official? I dont quite understand this… is the translation just to make your Danish document readable to the authorities? they dont need any verification of authenticity of the translation?

    some info on this would be great.


    • Hi!
      To be honest it seems like that the correct way of translating papers depend on your ward office. If you’re planning on getting married in Japan and need a translation I advice you to ask the ward office that will be handling your papers, whether they need a official stamp of authenticity.

      I was told that only Danish embassy or consulates would stamp our translation and since we lived far away from all of them, my husband asked his ward office, who told him that they didn’t need a stamp, they just wanted a translation, which ended up with us translating the papers together and handing them in.

      Though… for the papers for my own country, we needed to get the Japanese marriage document stamped at the ministry of foreign affairs in Japan. Then I paid the Japanese embassy in Denmark to make the official translation, which I could give to my own city office in Denmark, which finally made our marriage official.

      • thanks so much for your reply. I will ask my fiance to speak with the ward office and find out whether they need the translation verified. Really appreciate the quick and detailed reply.

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