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Shopping for Wedding Rings in Japan

Here are some quick tips on finding the perfect ring for your perfect partner.

By 6 min read

Congratulations! You’ve decided to propose! Now it’s time to go shopping for wedding rings in Japan.

Nowadays, Tokyo has a wide variety of engagement ring options but that wasn’t always the case. Wedding rings, while not historically a staple of Japanese wedding culture, became increasingly popular from the 1960s on. While only 5% of Japanese brides owned a diamond ring in 1967, over 60% did by 1981. Portraying diamonds and diamond wedding rings as modern, European and fashionable, De Beers, a giant in the diamond industry, and others convinced Japanese consumers to adopt the practice.

As with many aspects of consumer life in Japan, there are lots of options for potential buyers. We’ll cover a few key questions, such as:

Where Do I Start?

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Who is choosing the ring?

When deciding on rings, there are many angles to consider. The first, and arguably the most important, is who is making the major decisions. In Japan, surveys show that about 50% of couples expect the proposing partner to choose the ring solo, while 17% leave it up to the proposee and 36% choose together. Once that is out of the way, you can start considering all the exciting options available for wedding rings in Japan.

What Are My Options?

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Will you be designing or renting one? Here’s what you need to know

Rental Wedding Rings 

Before buying, you may want to think about renting a ring purely for the proposal. Once you’ve proposed, if the ring doesn’t suit your partner’s finger or tastes, you can change it. This has a few names in Japanese, but these terms are the most commonly understood:

  • プロポーズリングをかしpurpozu ringu o kashidashi (renting out a proposal ring)
  • レンタルこんやくゆび rentaru konnyaku yubiwa (renting an engagement ring)

Buying a Wedding Ring: Things to Consider

Budget

According to Japanese bridal magazine Zexy, slightly over 50% of engagement rings in Japan are between ¥200,000 and ¥400,000, with 32% of people choosing to spend under ¥300,000.

Size  

The standard size of the stone in an engagement ring in Japan is between 0.2 and 0.4 carats. According to Brides.com, this is closer to the European average of 0.5 carats rather than the United States, where rings of one to two carats are preferred.

Design 

While you can buy a pre-designed ring, you can also design one yourself or have one designed per your preferences. There are some general trends in Japan regarding design that you may like to know about.

First, 95% of brides go with a diamond, and 88% go with platinum as their metal of choice. As for the design or setting, over 50% prefer the solitaire, or one stone set atop a simple band, while 33% choose a single stone flanked by small melee diamonds.

Materials

In the same Zexy survey, platinum was by far the most popular material for wedding rings, with gold coming in second at 7.7%. While you may find other materials, including silver, titanium and tungsten, they’ll be rare compared to platinum and gold.

Material Pros Cons
Platinum
  • Very durable
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Has a natural white color
  • Can be expensive due to the difficulty of working the metal
  • Heavier than gold rings
Gold
  • A classic look
  • Comes in several varieties like yellow, rose and white gold
  • Scratches easily
  • May require occasional specialized care

Natural Diamonds vs. Lab-Grown Diamonds

When it comes to choosing the stone(s) that decorate your ring, one of the first choices to make is natural or lab-grown diamonds. While natural diamonds are created in the high-heat and high-pressure depths of the planet’s mantle, lab-grown ones are developed in a lab from the same core ingredient of natural diamonds, carbon. In terms of composition, durability and color, natural and lab-grown diamonds are the same.

There are three key differences between natural and lab-grown diamonds: how they’re created, their price and their value. With one mined from the Earth and the other made in a lab, the topic quickly turns to ethics. Diamond mining has been tied to human rights abuses ranging from child labor to forced labor. Meanwhile, critics of lab-grown diamonds have cited the large amounts of electricity used to create the product.

Natural diamonds are also more expensive than their lab-grown counterparts. As a result of their rarity, diamonds are valued more as long-term investments. Ultimately, it’s up to you to choose which you prefer. But for the average person, they are indistinguishable from each other.

Where Can I Buy Wedding Rings?

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The neighborhood where you choose to buy your ring can also influence the pricing.

Within Tokyo’s vast consumer landscape, there are plenty of options when it comes to buying wedding rings. With neighborhoods specializing in jewelry and Japanese and international brands, Japan’s capital city has you covered.

Popular Neighborhoods in Tokyo

Area What can I find? Budget
Ginza Luxury, high-end brands ¥¥¥
Omotesando High-end brands mixed with smaller boutiques ¥¥ – ¥¥¥
Okachimachi Tokyo’s jewelry district has a wide range of sellers ¥ – ¥¥¥
Shinjuku A large number of department stores and jewelry stores ¥ – ¥¥¥

Famous Japanese Jewelry Brands

Why choose a Japanese brand? There are a few reasons why this might be an attractive choice. For one thing, there is easy access to after-care services for your ring. As indicated above, Japanese engagement ring trends can differ from those overseas. A Japanese company will provide options that fit in with the trends and tastes in the country. Finally, Japanese brands are comparatively cheaper than their foreign counterparts, at least in terms of minimum pricing.

Store What can I find? Minimum Budget
K.Uno
  • Famous for their Disney-inspired motifs and custom-orders
¥100,000
Ginza Diamond Shiraishi
  • Brand concept based on the Aegean Sea near Greece
  • Offers a wide selection of rings
 ¥180,000
I-Primo
  • The largest bridal ring specialist in Japan
  • More than 200 original designs
¥171, 600
4℃ Bridal
  • Offers one-week trials to check the comfort and appearance of different rings
  • Offers engagement ring rental services
¥172,800
The Kiss Anniversary
  • A relatively affordable brand
  • Known for its colorful stones and cute designs
¥157,600
Vendome Aoyama
  • Specializes in lace-patterned designs
  • Offers a wide range of styles
¥194,000
Ginza Tanaka
  • Opened in Ginza in 1892
  • Rings are based on European designs and are crafted to look like flowers
¥147,000
Agete
  • A newer jewelry brand founded in 1990
  • Offers reasonably priced rings that are easy-to-wear
¥135,000
Star Jewelry
  • Provides an original engagement ring box that, when opened, creates a heart-shaped shadow
¥129,000
Mikimoto
  • The first jewelry store in Japan to offer pearls and diamonds
  • The first store opened in 1899 in Ginza
¥200,000
Niwaka
  • Jewelry brand originating from Kyoto
  • Features rings inspired by Japanese landscapes
¥182,000
Mokumeganeya
  • Ring bands are designed using a traditional metalworking technique from the Edo period
  • Offers specialized sakura diamonds
¥176,000

*Diamonds are priced separately

Popular Jewelry Brands From Overseas

Why choose an overseas brand? For one thing, the global name value of a brand such as Tiffany & Co. comes with cultural capital that transcends national borders. Also, while Japanese branches of these brands may cater to the domestic market, you may find some options that are more popular overseas but have yet to make a dent in Japan’s marketplace. Be warned, these top brands come with a hefty price tag attached.

Store What can I find? Budget
Tiffany & Co. Home of the Tiffany setting (six prongs holding a single diamond), one of the most popular in the world

Instant brand recognition

¥¥¥
Cartier Cartier’s Love ring is a classic high-end choice ¥¥¥
Bulgari Modern and elegant aesthetic ¥¥¥
Van Cleef & Arpels Classic designs with a modern edge ¥¥¥

Have you ever bought wedding rings in Japan? We would love to hear your experiences in the comments below!

This article was originally written by Cassandra Lord.

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