Winter elopement in Japan, Yamagata

Foreword…

Yamagata prefecture is usually not at the top of the list of the average visitor to Japan. Even in Japan, it takes a back seat to places like Hokkaido or Nagano.

As I was wondering one day what I would like to shoot last winter, I ran into the pictures of a five-story pagoda in Yamagata prefecture, among many other nice places all over Japan. I thought it looked magical, perfect to be a part of a winter elopement, enwrapped in the old forest with the rays of sun breaking through. I’ve already been in Japan for 6 years, and I wondered how I had never seen it before.

Just a few days from then, a friend posted a picture of that same place on her Instagram stories, and that was all the push I needed to pack the bags.

I did a quick search of the area online and got in touch with a dress shop that I felt vibes well with my style. Turned out they were thrilled to have me, and before you know it, we even had a couple who was just getting married and was super excited with the idea. Sometimes I think I was just born blessed. Everyone was so kind and welcoming!

The fateful five-story pagoda was waiting for me all dressed up in snow <3

Check out few phone clips from the scouting day around the area.

Minami & Yosuke wanted to have something intimate and meaningful for their important day. We corresponded online prior to my arrival, and we met in Yamagata the day before.

She talked about what it means to her, how they met, and what brought them to this point where they want to have an intimate ceremony for just the two of them.

They wanted to include their family, so they went to change in her parent’s house before the portrait session afterward. They welcomed us with a hot homemade fish soup which was amazing. I immediately felt like part of the family.

The portrait sessions took place just a few minutes from the house where she grew up, by a picturesque lighthouse with a small tori-gate.

 

Minami messaged me later after I delivered the pictures and the GIF movie, saying how she couldn’t stop the tears seeing her father who recently passed away in the video. We can’t turn back the time, but we can preserve the memories of what we do and how we feel so that we can draw our strength from it later on when we need it.

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