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CHIBA (Kyodo) A newlywed couple were greeted Sunday with cheers from an estimated 6,000 people along a river in Katori, Chiba Prefecture, as they were carried along in a boat in the city’s traditional wedding ceremony.

Until the mid-20th century, the main mode of transportation in Katori was by water and brides would carry their belongings to their new home by boat.

The Yomeiri-fune (Marriage Boat) ceremony disappeared after the 1950s, but it was revived in 1995 at a local botanical garden that boasts 400 kinds of iris and 300 kinds of lotus flowers along a river and in ponds.

“Everyone gave us applause. It’s quite a precious experience,” said the 24-year-old groom, Takatoshi Yamanobe, who is self-employed.

“I’m happy because all the people there blessed us,” said the bride, Maki Nakajima, 26.

The marriage boat ceremony, part of a festival at the garden, will also be held next Sunday and the following Saturday.

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