This couple wanted to have their marriage certificate in our original display version style but also in the Japanese language, so we made this for them.

If you are currently in Okinawa, planning on coming soon, or in another country and want to have a legal procedure completed on Okinawa, this is a guide to help you.

In most cases, you most likely don’t need help from a lawyer in Okinawa and that is because legal procedures are split among different types of offices that service each request.

Any lawyer in Okinawa who is a foreigner such a US National, even with a law degree, cannot practice law in Japan. That means they can only provide ‘advice’ which in most cases can be easily obtained online.

Reasons to consider before contacting any lawyer in Okinawa.

1. Being Held in Jail

The main use of a Japanese lawyer for a foreigner in Japan is if a crime (civil or criminal) was committed and they are being held in jail. In that case, a lawyer will be appointed to you to assist you (a public defender) by the Japanese Government although this lawyer will not speak English.

In this case, our office, Okinawa Translator, can assist you by providing an interpreter so that you can communicate with your Japanese Lawyer.

2. Real Estate / Land Division / Inheritance

If you have an inheritance case in Okinawa, this does not have to be referred to by a lawyer. In most cases, a lawyer will overcharge for this procedure and most of the technical procedures will be contracted out to a judicial scrivener (a judicial person specializing in real estate or other specific area, a lawyer is not required) or an administrative scrivener.

3. Getting a Divorce in Okinawa

In the case that you are getting a divorce in Okinawa, there are many situations. A lawyer is not necessary if you are in mutual agreement for a divorce and your spouse is Japanese.  This can be completed at the city office where you were married.

If you are a US passport holder and your spouse is also a US passport holder, this can be completed without a lawyer and through a service located here: which allows you to avoid any high lawyer fees by doing a direct filing at the Family Court.

If you are not in mutual agreement then you must attend court mediation meetings until you and your spouse can come to an agreement. This procedure is costly, but Okinawa Translator can assist on the filing and on-site interpreting at the family courts.

4. Obtaining a document, reissuing a document, or retrieving a copy of a marriage certificate, birth certificate, family registry or any other type of official document.

This procedure can be done with Okinawa Translator. Our office specializes in obtaining legal documents on behalf of clients with expediency. You can email directly and make an inquiry here:

5. Applying for Visa Applications in Okinawa, Japan

To apply for a visa in Japan seems at first like a daunting task but, all the information for the requirements for your nationality and types of visas available can be found directly at the immigration office. There are two locations in Okinawa, one near the Kadena Rotary in Kadena Town and the other downtown in Naha City.

When submitting any of the required documents from a foreign country written in a language other than Japanese they will need an official translation of those documents.

Okinawa Translator can help provide translation services for any of those documents into Japanese no matter what language they may originally be in.

The Philippine Consulate in Okinawa has recently closed for good. They will not reopen at a later date – the reason that the Consulate has closed is because the contract for the Consulate has expired. I am not exactly sure what that means either.

For Philippine and US passport holders wanting to get married in Okinawa now must take a different course of action.

Both parties (US and Philippine Passport Holding Couples) must go to the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo together to apply for the LCCM document.

The turnaround time is 5 working days, at that point they will mail it to you via Letter Pack Express or you can come back physically to the Tokyo Embassy and pick it up.

For those customers that do not have a Japanese mailing address you can use our offices mailing address to send the letter pack express.

After you receive the LCCM you are ready to go get married at the city office and we can complete the final documents that you need to submit to the city office.

Please contact us if you have any questions:


US passport holders, married in Japan, and reports of marriage that were submitted to the US Consulate or Embassy in Japan before November 9th, 1989 the record of your Certificate of Witness of Marriage Abroad is not on file at the Japanese City or Ward Offices in Japan.

The Certificate of Witness to Marriage Abroad is actually on file at the US Department of State in Washington. You can obtain the document yourself by following the procedures in this link here:

If you were married after this period of time Okinawa Translator can assist you in obtaining a issue of your marriage certificate anywhere in Japan.

In order to assist you in obtaining a reissue we need to the following data/documents  to process your request:

  • Both parties names
  • Both parties birthdates
  • Both parties nationalities
  • City Office where you were married
  • Marriage date
  • Reason for a reissue
  • Copy of your passport or driver’s license
  • Mailing address
  • Phone number

Once we have the information/documents we can obtain a the reissue of your marriage certificate.

In addition, if you want us to obtain a document other than your marriage certificate, such as:

  • birth certificate;
  • family registry;
  • divorce decree;
  • death certificate;
  • name change document;
  • any other city office issued document, we can help you obtain any of these documents as well.

After we have obtained the document, depending on the case, it may or may not need to be officially translated, Apostille’d or notarized. Okinawa Translator can assist you in all of these services upon request.

Please contact us if you have any further questions about our services.

Email us:

What do the symbols and designs around the border signify?

Among many Chinese traditions that have been introduced to Japan, it is said that “the origin of certificates” was introduced by China. The symbol of “Chinese Phoenixes” were used on ornamental frames for official letters and honorable mentions for personnel announcement documents and medals issued within the Emperor’s palace. The symbol of “paulownia trees” were used on religious documents used at official events held within the palace of the Japanese emperor. It seems that the design of the modern-day certificate paper came from combining these two symbols. The modern-day certificates were used only for some of the official events held within the Japanese palace. They became the official paper used for formal events after Meiji era, and have gradually started to be used by the general public.

There are 3 components that structure the design of the periphery of the certificate paper (frame).

(1) A “Dragon Cloud” in cloud form that is placed in the upper middle part

Dragon Cloud

(2) A pair of “Chinese Phoenixes” that is placed on both sides of the Dragon Cloud

Chinese Phenixes

(3) “Paulownia Trees” that extends from the bottom all the way up to the Chinese Phoenixes on both sides

Paulownia Trees

Why the Chinese Phoenixes?

“Chinese Phoenix,” an auspicious imaginary bird that were believed to appear as a sign of imperial virtue, is one of the Four Beginnings (dragon, tortoise, qilin, phoenix) that were believed to be extremely sacred and congratulatory, and were used in imperial events in ancient times to modern-day China. It is said that the conjugal relationship of a pair of Chinese Phoenixes is very well and they will accompany each other for their lifetime. The male is called “Hou (鳳)” and female “ou (凰),” and the two are combined to form the word “Phoenix (鳳凰).” On the certificate paper, the female is placed on the left side and the male is placed on the right side, and are facing each other.

Chinese Phoenix

Why A Dragon Cloud?

The term “Dragon-Cloud” is originally used to describe a set of clouds and a dragon, but could also indicate the lucky cloud that brings rain along with the dragon that is one of the Four Beginnings like Phoenixes.

Why Paulownia Trees?

“Paulownia Trees” have been thought to be “auspicious trees that the phoenixes dwell” since ancient times in their country of origin, China. It is also told that “phoenixes wake up to the light reflection off the leaves of paulownia trees that bathed in sunlight.” Because of their white-colored tree trunks and having little warp from elasticity and cracking, as well as having low moisture absorption ability, they were introduced to Japan as a sacred and auspicious plant. It became the crest of the Imperial Household along with chrysanthemum, and started to be used on religious documents (written covenant to the gods).

Paulownia Trees

Hi, I’m David Higgins and I’m a legal translator in Japan. Okinawa Translator has been operational since 2012 and we specialize our translation and interpreting skills on legal marriages anywhere in Japan. We are a home-based business with my wife and one employee working full time on translating/interpreting many languages into Japanese.

Our main website is:

For any couple wishing to get legally married in Kyoto please contact us directly so we can obtain the necessary details for the documents required for the city office. If you have any questions about the marriage procedure in Kyoto please reach out to us directly at this email  

Here is an overview of how to get married in Kyoto.

Every foreign nationality wishing to marry in Japan must obtain documents specifically requested by the city office. Once the documents are obtained they must be translated into Japanese and then we complete your marriage application. The city office requires two witnesses, my wife and I will fulfill this necessary requirement. As my wife and I are Japanese residents we do not have to be physically present on the day of your marriage.

In Kyoto, every Ward Office will have variations of requirements and timelines for issuing the marriage certificate. We will contact the Ward Office and get the specific requirements for your nationality to get married at that Kyoto Office. In addition, we will confirm the timeline of the issuance of the marriage certificate.

In most cases the smaller sized marriage certificate type will be issued the same day or the next day but the larger more elegant version has a turnaround time of one to ten days. In the case that you cannot be there to pick up the marriage certificate we will assist you by obtaining the marriage certificate on your behalf and mailing it to you.

If you have any questions regarding getting married in Kyoto or any other location in Japan please contact us and we would be happy to answer all of your questions.

Hi, I’m David Higgins, a legal translator in Okinawa, Japan and I am going to explain how to get married in Japan for people who are Malaysian Passport Holders.

Getting married in Japan requires legal paper work only. Any celebration, party or ceremony is completely separate and not necessary for a marriage to be considered legal in Japan.

Malaysian passports holders need the following documents to apply for a marriage license to get married in Japan:

  • A Valid Malaysian Passport
  • A Statutory Declaration issued from Malaysia.

The Statutory Document must be issued from Malaysia within 3 months if it is to be used in Japan. You can find out on how to apply for this Statutory Document using the link below:

Applying for your Statutory Declaration of Single Status:

The Statutory Declaration must be brought to the Malaysia Embassy in Tokyo and they will issue a letter of Non Impediment for marriage.

This document needs to be translated into Japanese. You can do that by sending us a scan or photo of the Malaysia Embassy issued Non Impediment for marriage and we will translate it into Japanese. This document will be brought to the city office and completes the necessary documents for Malaysian Passport Holders to obtain to get married in Japan.

If you plan to marry a US citizen, your fiancé must obtain the following:

  • A single affidavit notarized at either a US legal services office, US Embassy or US Consulate.

A passport, birth certificate or naturalization document is required. In most cases the passport does not need to be translated into Japanese but the birth certificate or naturalization document would need to be translated from English to Japanese.

At Okinawa Translator, we provide that service. You can scan or photograph the documents and send them to our email address and we will translate the documents into Japanese on your behalf.

Once the translations are finished, we will complete your marriage application. The marriage application can only be completed only after all documents have been translated into Japanese. These translated documents must mirror the information provided in the originals. The advantages of having all the documents translated at one time by the same translator will be to avoid possible discrepancies that may occur otherwise thereby creating delays in processing.

The marriage application must have two witnesses. My wife Hazuki and I can be your witnesses and as we are both Japanese residents, we do not have to physically accompany you to the city office. If you want to choose your own witnesses, you will need to submit their full names, birth dates, nationalities and local addresses to us. They must physically accompany you to the city office on the day that you get married.

When the above mentioned steps are completed, you will submit your documents to a city office closest to your residence in Japan. If you submit your documents to a town or village office, they may or may not require additional documentation to be translated and submitted. As a result, we strongly suggest that you consult with our office for the appropriate city office for submitting your documents. This will ensure that all submission procedures run in a smooth and timely manner.

The certificates that you receive will be written in the Japanese language. We will translate your marriage certificate into English and provide you with several certified copies in English so you can use these to successfully report your marriage to the authorities in your home country.

If you have any questions about getting married in Japan, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are experts at this process and can alleviate the unnecessary stresses that obtaining multiple language documents can occur during one of the most important experiences in your life. – Dave ( )

Portuguese Embassy authenticated Japanese Marriage Certificate legalized by the Portuguese Embassy and Consulate in Japan.

At Okinawa Translator we assist customers with authenticating their documents at the Portuguese Embassy and Consulates in Japan.

We can also reissue that official document prior to having it authenticated by the Portugal Embassy or Consulate in Japan.

In addition, we offer the service of having the entire process expedited so that everything can be completed as soon as possible,

If you have any questions regarding our authentication and legalization services that we provide, please shoot me an email with any inquiries:

-Dave, Okinawa Translation and Interpreter Services Office

Okinawa Translator provides translation and interpreting services on Okinawa we specialize in legal marriage, translation of legal documents and procedures along with many other services all displayed on our website:

Hazuki and I would like to thank all the people writing positive reviews for our business and for everyone using our services over the years, it means a lot to us. We appreciate it all and are very thankful! 🙏
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Okinawa Translator offers translation services for Nepali Passport Holders living in Japan. We specialize in:

  • Helping Nepali clients get married at the Japanese City Office

  • Translation of legal documents

Do I have to be located in Okinawa?

No, we offer our services to clients located anywhere in Japan.

How do I use your services?

If you are located in Okinawa:   Come and visit us at our office Google map to our office

If you are located outside of Okinawa:  Send documents by email.

What are the legal requirements for Nepali Citizens?

For Nepali Passport Holders wanting to marry in Japan you can view our blog and watch our YouTube video. This will provide an understanding of the marriage legal requirements for Nepali citizens.

How much do you charge?

Our translation fees are 5000YEN for the first A4 document and 4000YEN for every additional A4 document after that.  If our services are used in the future, the fee is 4000YEN.

When do I have to pay?

Payment must be made up front before we begin the work.  You can do this in four ways:

  1. In person at our office

  2. Over the phone with credit card ( cel: 080-2696-4960)

  3. I can send you a credit card invoice or a PayPal invoice

  4. You can use a Japanese Bank Transfer

How long does it take?

We translate documents in 1-2 days and charge an additional 1000YEN per document for a same day turnaround RUSH fee.


If you have any questions about our services please feel free to contact us at: