Japan: 'Solo weddings' for single women

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Models wearing bridal kimonos at a fashion showImage source, AFP
Image caption,
Models wearing bridal kimonos at a fashion show in Japan

A travel agency in one of Japan's most beautiful cities, Kyoto, has started organising bridal ceremonies for single women.

Kyodo news agency reports that Cerca Travel's two-day "solo wedding" package includes choosing your own special gown, bouquet and hairstyle, a limousine service, a stay at a hotel and a commemorative photo album. "This package boosted my sense of self-esteem… the effect was equal to a more extraordinary experience, such as visiting a World Heritage castle," says Tomoe Sawano, one of the first to try out a "solo wedding". About 30 women from across Japan have become "solo brides" since the service was launched in May. Almost half of them were married women who either did not have a wedding ceremony or were not satisfied with that experience, according to Cerca Travel.

The company's president, Yukiko Inoue, tells Kyodo she created the package "to encourage women to have positive feelings about themselves", but admits that "some people have said it would be 'lonely, miserable and sad' to use it". "Nationwide, more Japanese are living alone for a number of reasons - among them aging, urbanization, later marriage age and rising divorce rates," The Japan Times notes in a recent article. It quotes the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research as saying that the country's population is expected to decline between 26% and 38% by 2060.

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