In order to get married in Japan, a couple must apply to register the marriage at their local city office. If the application is accepted, the couple is then recognised as being married. Religious and other ceremonies do not form part of the legal process of marriage.
For required documents, please check with the local city office. Non-Japanese nationals will need to submit a document issued by their country certifying that there is no impediment to the marriage. In the case of New Zealand citizens, the document is called a Certificate of No Impediment(external link) and must be accompanied by an apostille(external link). Both these documents, as well as Japanese translations(external link) if required by the city office, can be issued by the Department of Internal Affairs(external link) in Wellington. Where both parties are New Zealand citizens, each must obtain a certificate and apostille.
A certificate of registration (kekkon shomeisho) will be issued by the city office as proof of the marriage. Where one party is Japanese, the marriage is recorded in the family register (koseki tohon).
A marriage registered in Japan will be recognised in New Zealand in its own right. For Japanese visa applications, Japanese immigration authorities may require evidence of this fact, and a document prepared by the Embassy to this effect is available here(external link).
It is not necessary to register in New Zealand a marriage which has been registered in Japan. In fact, it is not possible to do so unless an Embassy diplomatic staff member attends with the couple when the registration is lodged at the city office. It is stressed that while this option exists, it has no practical or legal benefit, and is rarely sought for other than personal preference. The fee for this attendance service can be provided on application.
Find out more about getting married outside of New Zealand here(external link)