How to get married in Japan – Canadian Passport Holders

Hi, I am David Higgins, a legal translator in Okinawa, Japan and I am going to clearly explain how to get married in Japan for those individuals who are Canadian passport holders.

First of all, let’s clarify that getting legally 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.

There is one document you need to retrieve from the Canadian Embassy or Consulate that is located in Japan.

That one document is called the:

To retrieve Affidavit, you will need to be present at the Canadian Embassy or Consulate.

There are six places in Japan where you can retrieve the Affidavit. They are:

The Affidavit will be written in English and must be translated into 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 get to work translating the document into Japanese for you.

Once the translation is finished, we will complete your marriage application. The marriage application must be completed only after the Affidavit has been translated into Japanese. The marriage application must mirror the information of the translated document. One of the big advantages of having all documents translated at one time, by the same translator, will be avoiding possible discrepancies that may occur otherwise.

The marriage application must have two witnesses. My wife and I can be your witnesses and due to the fact that we are both Japanese residents, we physically do not have to 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. These individuals must physically accompany you to the city office on the day that you get married.

Once the above mentioned steps are completed, you will submit your documents to a city office closest to your residency 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. We strongly suggest that you consult with our office as to which city office you should provide your documents to. This will ensure that all submission procedures run in a smooth and timely manner.

After you receive your marriage certificate, you will have the option of two different types of marriage certificates. We suggest that you obtain several copies of the small A4 sized Japanese marriage certificate version to keep for your records, as well as the B4 version which is more aesthetically pleasing for you to hang on your wall at home.

The certificates that you receive will be written in the Japanese language. We will also translate your marriage certificate back into English and provide you with several certified copies in English so you can use these to successfully report your marriage to the Canadian Embassy, Consulate, Japanese city office or back in Canada.

And that’s all. If you have any questions about getting married in Japan for Canadian passport holders, 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 present during one of the most important experiences of your life.


David Higgins is a full time Japanese/English translation company owner located in Okinawa, Japan. David, his wife Hazuki and four employees and various freelancers of other languages run Okinawa Translator. They specialize in translation of all kinds of documents, technical manuals and on site interpreting for instructional safety classes with the military to family reunions. They have expanded they’re business all over Japan and overseas to serve customers in any location.

17 Comments on “How to get married in Japan – Canadian Passport Holders

  1. Hi Dave. Thanks for the write-up. I have a slightly better understanding now about Canadians getting married in Japan. Affidavit and marriage application must be filled out and translated to Japanese.

    What I’m a little confused about is your mention of city office. Is that the same as Canadian consulate? I would greatly appreciate some clarification.

    Thank you

    • The Canadian Consulate in Tokyo is the place where you obtain your Affidavit along with their notary seal stating you are single and eligible to get married. After you obtain this all the heavy lifting is over and you can get married. To get married you need to submit your documents with your fiance to the village, town or city office closest to your residence. Since I live in Chatan Town, Okinawa I submitted mine to the Chatan Town Office. Anything else let me know! – Dave

  2. Hey Dave!

    I’m going to be strapped for time/location. Is it possible to get an affidavit while in Canada that is signed by a Notary Public here? And then have that translated? Or does it have to be from an embassy/consulate (I believe Notary Public has same power for oaths & declarations if I’m not mistaken, embassy/consulate is just the foreign office of the same thing)

    Thanks so much

    • Good Afternoon Justin,

      So the city, town or village office in Japan all require that the issued Affidavit be from within Japan at either an Embassy or Consulate. They do not accept a notarised copy of the Affidavit from any other person authorised to notarise anywhere in the world or in Canada. You will need to fly to Tokyo and have an appointment at the Canadian Embassy. – Dave

  3. Hi Dave,

    I am Canadian wanting to wed a Japanese female. Is a birth certificate needed? I was told at one of the Tokyo offices that is was required but I don’t have one. I was born in Thailand and can’t get one. Do I just have to try visiting a different office? If so, can you recommend one?

    • Hi Eric Chen, you should just be able to use your Passport and Affidavit but sometimes a city office will create their own rules. The best thing to do is to explain that a birth certificate is not a requirement according to the Canadian Embassy located in Japan and have them re-look up the rules for Canadian Passport Holders. I cannot recommend one in your area as there are just so many. I hope this helps, – Dave

  4. Do you need to show and bring a certified and stamped divorce decree?
    OR is the affidavit swearing you are single all Canadian Embassy requires in Japan (unlike other countries?)

    • If you are a Canadian Passport Holder the ward office usually just needs the Affidavit to prove your single status. It is best to go there and check with them before proceeding to start anything.

  5. Hey Dave,
    How many days does the affidavit take?
    And what Japanese address would I put on the affidavit form if I’ll just be a tourist in Japan for 1 week?

    • Good Morning Steve, Sorry for the late reply. If you want to reach me immediately hit me up directly by email:

      To answer your questions: We will translate your affidavit in 1-2 days. Expedite it for 1000YEN extra and we can complete it within 4 hours. If you are a tourist, write your hotel address or where ever you are staying.

      • Thanks for the reply!
        What I meant was, how many days does the affidavit take to get from the Canadian embassy?
        I’ve heard approx. 5 days after you hand in the affidavit request? Is that true?

        • Good Morning Steve,

          They will issue it immediately you don’t have to wait but you need to schedule an appointment beforehand.

          – Dave

  6. Hey Dave, wondering what kind of service should I be paying for a notarized service or simply translation of legal documents? The Japanese translation template given by the embassy needs to be signed before or after?

    • Hi David,

      Our translation fees are as follows, we charge 5000YEN for the first A4 document and 4000YEN for every
      additional A4 document after that, that offer goes to the future if you use our services again, it’s 4000YEN.

      Notary Services vary depending on the document. In most cases all the notary services can be accomplished for free
      at the Embassy or Consulate so please explore your options. If you would like to use our notary services first please
      send us the document via email and we can confirm if it can be notarised by us.

      Anything else feel free to reach out to me at:

      We really appreciate you considering using our services, thank you very much! – Dave

  7. Can the date on the marriage certificate be on the weekend if the city office is closed on weekends? Or if we wanted to get married while in Japan but wanted to put a date on the marriage certificate that is special to us but that is a month away in the future would that be possible?

    • It is possible but I recommend only attempting this at a city office located in Okinawa, Japan so we can assist with the procedure
      of making this happen as normally most city offices in Japan don’t see many foreigners getting married so adding another variable of
      getting married on the weekend add to the task for them. – Dave

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