Almost every time I visit the grand shrine in Kamakura, the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu there seems to be a wedding going on. It’s a great opportunity to see the finest kimono and listen to the thousand of years old ceremonial music being played live. I caught this ceremony a couple of days ago, the bride looked really nervous as she was taking instructions from the priest assistants. Since it’s currently Golden Week here in Japan the shrine was packed with tourists and visitors enjoying the great weather and that in itself should be enough to make any bride nervous! The groom looked much more relaxed. It’s not all that common to see these traditional ceremonies performed out in the open, usually they are confined to the inner sanctum of the shrines. At most you can see the traditional wedding parade if you visit places like the Meiji Jingu in central Tokyo, but this shrine in Kamakura (Kanagawa prefecture) is one of the best for seeing traditional weddings!
Last weekend I was out for a walk in Tokyo’s premier tourist district, Asakusa. In the last few years the city officials in Tokyo’s Taito district has done quite a lot to raise the image of the area and there’s now better shopping and touristing than ever. In fact, if you go there you’re likely to see as many foreigners as Japanese checking out the traditional shops and huge temple near Kaminarimon Gate. I was checking out a store selling carpenter’s shoes and having a chat with the old proprietor who was at least as old as most of his stock when I heard someone yelling out behind my back. I spun around as I raised my camera and snapped two shots of the rickshaws (jinrikusha in Japanese) carrying a bridal couple and their parents on their way to the wedding ceremony at the local shrine. I’ve never seen a bridal couple in a rickshaw, and I missed getting any good shots but I thought it would be fun to blog about. The list of optional extras for my future (if any, if ever) wedding keeps growing!
In Kamakura’s Tsurugaoka Hachimangu I walked past this wedding ceremony taking place. It was a bit more traditional than even most weddings so I had to take a few photos of the ceremony. The fact that the young bride was stunningly beautiful in her traditional dress did nothing to stop me from taking even more photos. Beauty like hers should be shared with the world. Someday, perhaps I will have a wedding that is one tenth as beautiful as this. Who knows? Enjoy!