Kyoto Shimbun 2014.3.17 News

"Japanese Wedding in Kyoto" Attracts Foreigners
Collaborative Association Founded

Cooperating with local wedding companies, temples and shrines, Kyoto Prefecture established "Wakon Ukeire Kyogikai," or an association for attracting foreigners to have their wedding photographs taken in Kyoto, on March 17. They will establish an application and acceptance system via a website and other ways, which will promote an increase in weddings and traditional industries, as well as the understanding of Japanese culture.

The number of foreigners, mainly from Taiwan and Hong Kong, who visit Kyoto temples and shrines for the purpose of pre-wedding photographs and "Photo Wedding," which is a substitute for a wedding ceremony, has been increasing. However, some have had their photographs taken in Japanese dress with no prior announcement, which sometimes disturbs other tourists.

The association aims to organize the acceptance system, while attracting additional tourists. Founders include Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto City, four wedding companies headquartered in Kyoto City, "Kyoto-fu Jinja-cho," or the Kyoto Prefecture association of Shinto shrines, and the Kyoto Buddhist Organization.

Up to now, Kyoto Prefecture has implemented some monitoring projects, including the event in which one of the couples from Hong Kong had had their photographs taken in shrines and temples. In the future, each wedding company will draw up business plans in which shooting services, costumes and locations can be selected. They are planning to post the information on the dedicated website scheduled to be opened sometime in April, through which applications will be accepted and the attractiveness of "Photo Wedding" will be introduced.

From March 18 to 21, five guests from Taiwan and Hong Kong, consisting of travel agencies executives, wedding magazine editors and others, were invited to Kyoto. To promote this attractive project, the association gave them the experience of a Photo Wedding at Kamigamo Shrine in Kita Ward, Kodaiji Temple in Higashiyama Ward, and other places.

Hidetoshi Watabe, president and CEO of Watabe Wedding, who was elected as chairman of Wakon Ukeire Kyogikai, said, "We would like to make wedding in Kyoto a brand, and also consider a definition of good manners in order to preserve our culture."

(translated by Galileo, Inc.)

Photo= Wakon Ukeire Kyogikai established with the aim of attracting foreign visitors for Photo Weddings (Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto)