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Foreign Couples Are Keeping Japan's Wedding Industry Alive

As the Japanese government struggles to spur the country's marriage rate, even resorting to matchmaking in some cases, Japan's wedding industry is flourishing thanks to foreign couples.

Walking around the busy streets of Tokyo, it’s not uncommon to come across couples clad in traditional Japanese wedding costumes posing for photos against a backdrop of colorful signs and high-rises. However, nowadays a majority of those couples are foreigners, coming from neighboring countries such as China and Taiwan, reports Nikkei Asian Review.

Local Japanese couples are increasingly staying away from lavish wedding activities due to rising costs, instead preferring simple weddings or no wedding at all; some only apply for a marriage license at their local government office.

Japan is appreciated worldwide for its cultural richness and pristine natural landscapes, attracting foreign couples who seek a gorgeous setting for their wedding albums.

“Shooting in Japan is popular now,” one Chinese couple told Nikkei. “We chose Karuizawa because we like highlands, but Okinawa is more popular.”

Japan’s southernmost island, Okinawa, is a go-to location for wedding photographers and their clients, with foreigners making up one in 10 couples who shoot wedding photos or hold their wedding on the island, according to the local government.

The flock of foreign couples has not only revived the stagnant local wedding industry but also created a crop of new business ventures which complement the more traditional wedding services. For instance, Value Bridge, a studio in Okinawa, produces wedding videos in which couples dress as characters in famous romance stories, making use of drones and advanced videography equipment.

[Photo via Avior Pictures]

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