High-tech Tokyo temple offers futuristic resting place for departed

Ruptly

This temple in Tokyo probably houses one of the most high-tech cemeteries in the world.

The Ruriden columbarium in Koukokuji temple in Shinjuku houses 2,046 small glass Buddha statues that are illuminated with light-emitting diodes (LED). Behind each statue is a drawer storing the ashes of the deceased. The ashes are kept for 33 years before they are buried beneath the Ruriden.

People who visit their beloved lost ones can scan their identity card and the corresponding altar that they are visiting will be lit up.

Head monk Yajima Taijun said the futuristic columbarium was created for single people so that they "would not feel lonely".

"I created this Ossuary for singles, unmarried people and for those who have no children. I placed a lot of little Buddhas here so single people and couples with no kids will not feel lonely," said Taijun.

He also explained that the changing colours of the Buddha glass wall "shows the world of Buddha".

About 600 altars are in use currently and another 300 are reserved.

klim@sph.com.sg