Long Distance Marriage in Japan


In Japan, marriage process is through marriage notification at the city hall. Ceremonies are not necessary to make it official.

There are also some city halls in Japan that accept “long distance marriage.” This means only one partner has to be in Japan and the other can be in a different country, even if both of your are foreign nationals.

First thing you have to do is check with your city hall if they accept long distance marriage. You may contact us at 03-5937-6345 for assistance.

Who can marry?

  • Both Japanese nationals
  • Japanese national and foreign national
  • Both foreign nationals

What are the requirements?

Well let’s first start with the Japanese law in order to marry.

  1.  Male partner must be 18 years or older and female partner must be 16 years or older
  2. Those under 20 years old cannot marry without parental consent
  3. A woman cannot get married within 100 days after divorce

Now the basic documents you will need.

  1. Proof of identity and nationality
  2. Marriage notification (Konin Todoke) – must be filled out in Japanese
    • signed by both partners and 2 witnesses
  3. Proof of singleness/recognition of divorce
  4. Birth Certificate

*Any documents in foreign language must be translated to Japanese.

Once completed, we can now go to the city hall. Please take note that most city halls cannot speak English or any other foreign language. They can only speak Japanese. When you contract with Wakai International Law Firm for assistance with long distance marriage, our Gyoseishoshi lawyer, Sensei, will go there with you to be your interpreter and help with submitting your marriage notification.

Then, we wait…

Marriage notification acceptance is case-to-case basis. Some city halls may accept the notification same day after reviewing your documents for 30 minutes or so. Once accepted, they will issue a certificate and you are married!

However, there are some cases even after city hall thoroughly checks the documents, they may not be able to decide whether to accept the notification or not. In these cases, the city hall forwards the documents to the Legal Affairs Bureau to ask for their instructions regarding acceptance. We will receive a call from them about a month or so from the day of submission for a schedule of interview. You must go to that interview and answer their questions with complete honesty. This is just to prove your relationship is real.

After the interview with the Legal Affairs Bureau, we wait for 2-3 weeks for an update from the city hall regarding the acceptance. Once confirmed, then you are married! You can go back to the city hall to request for a certificate.

Your marriage day will still be the date when you submitted your marriage notification.

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