Photo/IllutrationLGBT couples take commemorative photos while simulating their wedding ceremonies at a wedding festival in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward on April 30. (Naoko Kawamura)

Even though they could not marry legally in Japan, gay couples took their vows in a simulated wedding ceremony in Tokyo's Setagaya Ward on April 30, which they hope helps lead to the real thing someday.

“I want to raise awareness of sexual minorities’ weddings in society by diversifying the format of weddings,” said Soichi Honma, 28, head of the Tokyo-based wedding planning company Juerias LGBT Wedding, which started six years ago.

The Wedding Festival for Everybody allowed anyone to participate in a simulated wedding, regardless of their sexuality.

The LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) couples enjoyed taking commemorative wedding photos and participating in a simulated marriage ceremony with big smiles on their faces.

Honma himself is a bisexual and planned the event with other staff members.

“I hope the legal framework will be streamlined on LGBT marriage,” said Honma, who has produced weddings for LGBT couples.

During a round-table discussion at the festival, LGBT participants discussed their fears and concerns about obtaining a notarial deed, the foster parent system and other issues they could face with their partners.

“I also felt anxious about my wedding,” said Kohei Inagaki, 25, from Saitama, who held a wedding ceremony with his partner last year. “I would be grateful if I could encourage somebody even in an indirect way by participating in this kind of event."

During the current Golden Week national holidays between late April and early May, events as part of Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2017 are being held at venues mainly in the Tokyo metropolitan area with the aim of enhancing understanding for sexual minorities. For more details, visit the website (http://tokyorainbowpride.com/).