San San Kudo

san san kudo ceremonyWhen Naoto and I got married we wanted to incorporate a Japanese tradition into our ceremony. We were married at Unity Temple, so we had a lot of freedom to create a ceremony that suited our beliefs and desires. Naoto suggested the san san kudo ceremony as an option.

093San san kudo (translated: three, three, nine times) dates back to the 1600s and is a binding ritual of sharing sake. During the ceremony, the sake is served from a special set of three cups symbolizing heaven, earth and humankind. The bride and the groom each take three sips from each of the three cups, making nine sips total. Nine is an especially lucky number in Japan. For our ceremony, Naoto’s sister Hisae poured and served the sake. Our set was a gift from Naoto’s mother, who also included a jar of sake for us. This sake was horrible!!! My three sips were not sips, instead I briefly touched the sake to my lips, hoping I wouldn’t taste anything. Naoto polished off the rest of the cup for me during his turn. (Thanks to our marriage vows, I can always count on Naoto to finish any sort of food or beverage!) Little did I know at the time, but the sake isn’t supposed to be delicious–just like all moments of marriage are not perfect, the terrible sake is supposed to remind us that we are bonded in marriage through the good times and bad (or the good cocktails and bad?) But the taste of the sake didn’t matter–we loved taking part in this small ceremony and having Hisae play a part in our wedding!

san san kudo set

Now we keep our san san kudo set on the sideboard in the dining room as a little reminder of our wedding day.

This was the last (& slightly delayed) post in my series celebrating Loving Day

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3 thoughts on “San San Kudo

  1. Shannan says:

    What an awesome tradition to have be a part of your wedding! It’s so interesting and meaningful that the sake is supposed to taste awful.

  2. Brittany says:

    Hello! I am also trying to do this in our wedding ceremony. Where did your mother in law buy this set? It’s beautiful and would like to purchase from the same place if possible! Thank you!

    • kimberly ah says:

      Hi Brittany!

      My mother in law sent the set from Japan so I’m not sure where she bought it. There are a few sets on Amazon, but nothing exactly like this one. Good luck! It’s such a beautiful ceremony and I hope you can find something that’s just right! ♥️

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