Preparation before the ceremony (for people attending the ceremony)
1. Please arrive at Kamigamo shrine at 45 minutes before the start of the ceremony.
*as soon as everyone arrives the staff will guide you to a waiting room at Kamigamo shrine (roughly 5 minutes walk from the meeting place)
2. The flow of the ceremony will be rehearsed with the groom and the bride inside the waiting room. Guests attending the ceremony will be asked to stay in the waiting room until the start of the ceremony.
3. 5 minutes before the start of the ceremony the shrine maiden will guide you to the next area.
*you will not be going back to the waiting room so please make sure to take all of your belongings with you
4. The groom and the bride will be asked to do the Chōzu ceremony (a ceremony where you wash your hands to cleanse your body and mind).
5. A Shinto priest and the Shinto maiden will lead you to Hosodono (a long narrow structure set in front of the main sanctuary) and start the Sanshin (a Japanese wedding procession).
Everyone will walk in a line with the groom and the bride in front, the parents behind them, the rest of the family and relatives behind parents and guests in the back (groom’s family and guests should walk on the left side and bride’s guests on the right).
6. Once you enter the wedding ceremonial hall the seats for the groom and the bride will be located in the centre of the hall and the seats for the guest will be located on both sides of the hall so seat in the order you enter the hall.
*seats for the groom’s guest will be on the left, bride’s on the right
About the Wedding Ceremony
In order to keep the ceremony sacred everyone in the hall will be asked to refrain from taking pictures and using any devices between steps 1 to 3. Abide this rule by all means.
1. Shūbatsu Ceremony (Shinto purification rite held prior to every Shinto event)
Before the wedding ceremony the Shinto priest will purify everyone attending the wedding. Everyone will be required to stand up, bow and wait in this position until told to raise your head.
2. Kansen (a music performance of an old Japanese court music gagaku)
Shinto priest will make an offering to the gods.
3. Saishu norito sōjō
The priest will pray to gods to give the groom and the bride great happiness.
During the prayer everyone should stand up, bow and wait until instructed to raise their heads.
From here on you will be able to take pictures while seated.
4. Sansankudō no sakazuki ceremony (with gagaku music performance)
The groom and the bride will exchange the sake cup filled with sacred sake in front of the gods and will be bonded forever.
The groom and the bride will stand up and drink the sacred sake poured by the maiden in the order below:
(1) first groom and then bride
(2) first bride and then groom
(3) first groom and then bride
*it’s enough if you dip your lips in the sake if you can’t drink it
5. Exchanging the wedding rings
Please exchange the rings, First from the groom to the bride and then from the bride to the groom.
6. Wedding Vow Reading
The groom and the bride will stand up and read the vows.
They will swear their bond in front of the gods.
*it’s a Japanese text so we will write it in roman alphabet and hand it to you
(please see a separate sheet and practice reading it)
The bride will stand next to the groom and only read the name at the end.
7. Tamagushi Hairei (worshipping the branch of a sacred tree)
The groom and the bride will stand in front of the gods and offer the branch of a sacred tree (you will be able to practice it at the rehearsal).
Everyone will stand up, bow twice, clap twice and then bow again together.
The groom and the bride will go back to their seats and everyone else will be asked to take a seat too.
8. Isuzu Ceremony
The maiden will grant blessing to the groom and the bride with a bell.
During the ceremony everyone will be asked to bow down while seated.
9.Family Sakazuki Ceremony (with gagaku music performance)
Everyone will be asked to stand up. Everyone will be asked to say “Kampai!” at the same time and pass the sake cup filled with sacred sake around.
10. Addressing the master of the ceremony and exit.
The priest will address the new bond and award you with a memento.
After that you will leave the ceremonial hall. Please form the same line as when you entered the hall.
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