We’ve seen hotels for dogs, new divorcees, and now in Japan — in response to the problem of over-crowding in crematoriums — there’s Lastel, a hotel for dead bodies.
The death rate in Japan is on the rise, with an average of 23,000 more people dying each year over the past decade, according to a report by Reuters. The result is an average waiting time of four days for a crematorium. Owner Hisayoshi Teramura says Lastel — located in the suburbs of Japan’s second largest city, Yokohama — offers families an alternative to keeping bodies in their home, with refrigerated coffins available to rent for JPY 12,000 or USD 157 per day. The hotel currently accommodates 18 “guests”. An automated storage system delivers coffins through hatches and into a viewing room, so friends and families can pay their respects to the deceased until there is space in the crematorium.
Planning permission for crematoriums in Japan is reportedly difficult, so a hotel for corpses is a practical answer to a growing need. Also, unlike the US, no license is required to work in the “death” industry. So while this hotel may mark a departure from traditional death rituals, it does offer a practical solution to a very real problem, and could well lead to a string of copy-cat establishments being set up in Japan’s congested cities.