KYOTO--The bride wore a sumptuous red kimono embroidered with floral and crane designs ornately finished in gold thread. The groom was dressed conservatively in black, with a white-striped hakama and a black montsuki coat.
It was an impeccably traditional Japanese ceremony in every respect, except for one small detail: neither of the couple were Japanese.
On Saturday, Watabe Wedding, a company which previously specialized in spectacular Western-style weddings for spendthrift Japanese couples, particularly in the bubble economy of the 1980s, welcomed the 26-year-old groom, a banker from Shanghai, and his 25-year-old bride to Okazakijinja shrine in Kyoto's Sakyo Ward. They were married with the time-honored exchange of nuptial cups of sake.
The Kyoto-based firm is offering luxurious wedding packages to rich young Chinese couples, which it hopes will help replace a domestic market in long-term decline because of Japan's low birthrate and economic woes.