To have an elopement in Nara is to experience something special, as this couple found out. Being the ancient capital of Japan, it is filled with gorgeous historical sites, and exudes an air of rustic elegance throughout the city. While Kyoto often gets all the plaudits as the cultural center of Japan, Nara tends to go under the radar. However, it is no less beautiful. In fact, the locals will argue that it is far more authentically Japanese than any other place in the country. Of course, they may well be biased, but who are we to disagree?!
This beautiful couple knew they wanted to elope in Japan, but they just didn’t quite know where. However, as soon as we introduced them to Nara, they were hooked! Nara park is home to hundreds of free-roaming deer (around 1,300 to be more precise) and is surrounded by a number of world heritage sites, and dotted with all manner of uniquely Japanese scenes.
This elopement in Nara was held in the stunningly beautiful Yoshikien Garden, which, in our opinion, is one of the most beautiful anywhere in Japan. And, despite being right inside Nara Park, it is slightly off the beaten tourist path and never crowded. Thus, it is a perfect setting for eloping couples.
In one word, it is simply stunning. Climbing the steps into the garden takes you in to another world; it will take your breath away.
The gasps of people stepping over the top step are audible from well inside the garden and are testament to its beauty. Don’t take our word for just how beautiful it is; check out these visitor reviews on Trip Advisor: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g298198-d3864400-Reviews-Yoshikien-Nara_Nara_Prefecture_Kinki.html
The garden has three parts: a pond garden with beautiful villa; tea ceremony garden and a moss garden. Beautifully and lovingly manicured throughout the year, it is the perfect venue for an elopement in Nara.
It also boasts picturesque autumn foliage in October/November and an artful use of moss in the spring. We fell in love with it at first sight and so did the couple.
The plan called for a ceremony in the Garden followed by a photo-shoot in Nara Park, courtesy of our Nara-based photographer: Kiki Photoworks. (It’s always handy to have a local show you the ropes!)
The couple wanted to have a simple garden ceremony, and came to Japan with two of their friends, who wouldn’t have missed this for the world. The tea house offers some seclusion from both the elements and prying eyes: perfect for this couple’s vision, and just what they wanted!
The weather was unseasonably warm, with clear blue skies and bright sunshine – always a good omen. And, after the cold start to spring, it was a blessing!
On the day Ayako and the hair and makeup artist met the couple at their hotel to help prepare for the ceremony. Rather than donning kimonos they opted instead for traditional western attire, looking incredibly chic and beautiful.
The friends waited in the tea house for the couple’s arrival who, contrary to western weddings, walked "the aisle" together. It was a beautiful moment; two best friends and lovers, walking each other down the aisle to declare their love and commitment in front of their two closest friends. This is what eloping is all about!
The ceremony space was tastefully, yet minimally decorated so as to not distract from the already picturesque environment of the teahouse and garden. Being early spring, the flowers were in bloom and there was a gorgeous green canopy overhead and surrounding the garden. Together with the quietness of the space it was the perfect location; one that we hope to use time and again, in all seasons.
Following a simple, yet beautiful, ceremony the photographer took over, taking them to various vantage points around the garden for some stunning shots. Then, once they had had their fill of the garden, a rickshaw awaited the couple to transport them the traditional way around Nara Park, where they posed for even more beautiful photos.
We’ll let the photos speak for themselves:
What did the couple say?
“We wanted a simple elopement ceremony in Japan, and Serendipity helped us achieved exactly what we dreamed. We had a small ceremony with just 2 guests at a tea house in a garden in Nara. the set up was beautiful and so delicate. The officiant’s words so meaningful and the entire experience delightful.
Ross and Ayako took care of everything! and made it extremely easy to communicate despite being in different sides of the planet. They listened to our wants and ideas and gladly accommodated our requests. We met Ayako in person on the day if the ceremony, but were able to reach her or Ross if we needed anything prior to that day. Ayako was even more lovely in person and super helpful to work with. Our only regret was not having more time to spend with Ross and Ayako, they are such great, down to earth people.
I would highly recommend this company for elopement wedding needs.”