Japan’s Newest Tourist Attraction Includes Funeral Portraits and Scattering Fake Ashes

December 14, 2014
Advertisement

TOKYO (YOMIURI SHIMBUN/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – Housewife Reiko Wachi, 65, who lives in Kawasaki, poses for pictures as a photographer encourages her, saying, “Good smile. Very nice.”

The photo session last month was planned by a Tokyo-based travel company, Club Tourism International Inc., with the goal of having participants prepare portraits for their funerals while they are still full of energy. That day, nine people joined the event.

“The portrait will be my last picture, so I want a photo that really captures who I am,” Wachi said.

So-called shukatsu tours – in which participants can have portraits taken for their own funerals and experience a simulation of scattering their ashes – are rising in popularity mainly among elderly people.

Advertisement

Shukatsu means activities to prepare for the end of your life. Participants take part in these tours for various reasons, for example, thinking, “I want to think about my own death while I’m still in good health,” and “I don’t want to cause problems for my children.”

The company also provides a cruise on which participants can experience scattering “ashes” into Tokyo Bay. They throw bags filled with salt, used to resemble remains, into the sea from the ship.

“I was very impressed,” said Hatsue Toyo-izumi, 71, from Tachikawa, Tokyo. “Though my oldest daughter lives in the United States, the ocean is connected around the world, so I can stay with her all the time.”

Another tour offers an opportunity to visit buildings where ashes are deposited, and to visit graveyards. The day trip is priced at about 8,000 yen (S$90) to 10,000 yen. About 450 people have taken part in such tours so far with people on the waiting list.

“Demand will probably further increase due to the trend toward having a close-knit family and due to the fallen birth rate,” said Mitsuharu Nojima, director of the management planning division of the travel company.

Gotemba Total Service Co., which operates public facilities in Gotemba, Shizuoka Prefecture, also offers shukatsu tours. In the tour, people visit local cemeteries in addition to residences for elderly people and tourist attractions. People from neighbouring regions, including Kanagawa Prefecture, participate in the tour.

“We hope the tour will encourage participants to spend their last days in Gotemba,” a company employee said.

Professor Haruyo Inoue of Toyo University’s Faculty of Human Life Design, who is an expert on sociology and familiar with funeral services, said: “Although people have let their family members take care of their funeral arrangements in the past, now they have to think about it on their own, due to the trend of closer-knit families and such. These tours are gaining popularity because people can go to funeral companies and other places, which are difficult for them to visit by themselves.”

[H/T: The Sunday Times]

CDFuneralNews

ConnectingDirectors.com is the leading online daily publication for funeral professionals with a reader base of over 45,000 of the most elite and forward-thinking professionals in the profession. With ConnectingDirectors.com we have created a global community through an online platform allowing funeral professionals to Stay Current. Stay Informed and Stay Elite.
Advertisement

You may be interested

Foundation Partners Group Adds Anderson-McQueen to FPG Family
Funeral Industry Press Releases
471 views
Funeral Industry Press Releases
471 views

Foundation Partners Group Adds Anderson-McQueen to FPG Family

CDFuneralNews - August 17, 2017

Orlando, FL – Foundation Partners Group (FPG), a leading provider of innovative funeral, cemetery and cremation experiences and products, has…

Jobs
5 views

Sales Professional – North FL/Georgia

CDFuneralNews - August 17, 2017

Wilbert Funeral Services Inc. is a wholesale product and service provider to the funeral industry. Our manufactured products include burial…

On Our Soapbox: The Truth About Cremation | FUNERAL nation 085
FUNERAL Nation
197 views
FUNERAL Nation
197 views

On Our Soapbox: The Truth About Cremation | FUNERAL nation 085

CDFuneralNews - August 16, 2017

Cremation truth and Social Media Screwup: Watch Ryan & The Commander tell it like it is on their soapbox! (more…)

Comments