Tomoe Sawano was feeling low. The 39-year-old was at a turning point in her career as an entrepreneur and felt the need to do something special.
She decided to get married.
No fiance? No problem. She got dressed up and had some photos taken — of herself, alone.
Sawano chose a wedding gown, made a bouquet, and got her hair and makeup done. Then she went to a Japanese garden to have some photos taken. The event cost her ¥250,000.
“I was really entertained and reinvigorated by this package. It boosted my self-esteem,” she said.
“I had always looked tired, but with the help of the staff I managed to capture the beautiful shape I have while I’m still in my 30s.”
She said the experience, in late May, was like a holiday.
“At that time I was stressed out due to work pressure and didn’t have time to travel anywhere. I only spent a short time doing this, but the effect was equal to a more extraordinary experience, such as visiting a World Heritage castle,” said Sawano, who runs a footcare salon and an art restoration company.
Sawano was the first to try a two-day “solo wedding” package offered by Cerca Travel Co., a travel agency in Kyoto specializing in female clients. The company’s other services include a private taxi tour for broken-hearted girls and ladies’ night visits to “izakaya” taverns.
As of late December, about 30 women from across the country had bought the solo wedding package, which also includes a one-night stay at a Kyoto hotel, a limousine ride and a photo album.
Prices range from ¥250,000 to ¥470,000, and clients can also opt to wear either kimono or a wedding dress, said Cerca Travel President Yukiko Inoue.
She said the service represents good value, as gowns used in real weddings cost at least ¥200,000 to rent, and hiring a professional photographer and make-up artist costs about ¥250,000. Most of the clients are in their late 30s, followed by those in their 40s and 50s, she said.