Japanese Dying to Get Into Highrise Cemeteries

High-tech facilities in demand as traditional grave prices top $100,000
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 13, 2009 3:29 AM CDT
Land pressures in Japan have caused a chronic shortage of final resting places.   (©jeremydeades)
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(Newser) – High-tech, high-rise cemeteries are sprouting across Japan as a shortage of land drives up prices in ground-level graveyards. The cemeteries, typically five or six stories high, store the dead in urns which can be retrieved by robots and delivered to mourning rooms by visiting family members with a swipe of a card. The efficient use of space means "plots" can be offered for less than half of what traditional graveyards cost, according to a monk at one Tokyo facility.

"One of the things to consider is the price, it's reasonable," an elderly man shopping for his own grave told the BBC. "And I think it will be nice to be stored with other people. It's more fun; there'll be company."