Continued from here.
The next day, we woke up at 9+. We were supposed to go to Meiji Shrine at 2+ to attend the Shinto Wedding and thereafter the wedding reception. I decided to head out for some final shopping since we were taking the early flight home the next morning.
So I headed to Loft across the street which opens at 10am, shopped there for an hour before popping to Uniqlo for clothes, and finally Tokyu Food Show for some pastries and also packed lunch. Then rushed back to the hotel, took my lunch and dressed up for the wedding ceremony. Ladies typically wear a black day dress and accessorize with pearls or kimono whereas men in dark suit and white tie. After making ourselves presentable, we took the JR on the Yamanote Line to Harajuku which is the station nearest to Meiji Shrine.
Entrance of the Meiji Shrine. It has been a long time (probably 8 years) since we last visited. After a long walk on gravel and stones into the shrine, we finally reached the hall. Phew! It was tough walking in heels!
After their photo-taking, we were ushered to the waiting room where we met N's relatives and friends. Not sure if it is a custom/tradition, N's father made introductions of everyone present, including us. The couple as well as guests were also given instructions by the staff of the shrine on what to expect and observe during the ceremony later. Soon it was time to enter the shrine, all of us lined up in a procession and walked towards the shrine, just like what we saw when we visited Japan shrines. This time round, we were the ones in the procession :) It felt surreal and also a little funny as we were the ones being filmed/photographed this time.
The ceremony was around 30 mins, done in a very sacred and solemn manner. We wished we knew more of the Japanese language to understand the meaning of the rituals.
After the ceremony, we were ushered back to the waiting room to wait for cabs which would take us to the wedding reception, held at adding: blue restaurant at Omotesando. This is an intimate French kitchen attached to the Blue Note jazz club next door.
The reception started with R giving a speech in Japanese. The couple was very thoughtful and gave us a translated script in English so that we could understand. Followed by N's father, who also gave a speech in Japanese. Once again, translated script were given to us. Thereafter, the couple proposed a toast to start off the dinner.
Towards the end of the reception, R's father made a speech in English, and N's brother helped to translate into Japanese so that the relatives could understand. One of N's uncle who stayed in Hokkaido (he was ex-Mayor of a town) also made a speech and invited us to Hokkaido next time. In fact, throughout the reception, many of N's relatives came forward to chat with us, made us feel at home as we were the only foreign guests present. They were ever so gracious, despite speaking limited English and I limited Japanese. They kept thanking us for attending the wedding even though it was a trying period for Tokyo, and saying that they were very appreciative and grateful. N's parents even gave us a gift. We were truly very touched by their graciousness and hospitality! This was really one of the best and most cozy wedding reception I have ever attended.
Thereafter, we took a cab back to the hotel. Although we were still high from the reception, we decided to just pack our luggage and rest for the night as we were catching an early flight the next day.
The skin of the gyoza was pan-fried to a crisp and the innards of pork filling oozing with juice. Nice!
Well, with the sumptuous breakfast, we rushed back to the hotel to board the airport limousine bus, off to the airport and back to SG.
This was indeed one of my most memorable trip to Japan, due to the fact that it was after a 2-year hiatus and most significantly, attended a Shinto Wedding followed by a special and cozy reception.
I missed Japan already :(
Stay tuned for the final part, some sharing of my shopping!!!