Tokyo’s most famous cemetery solidified its to-die-for reputation when a rare public sale of burial plots attracted more than 40 applicants for every available space despite prices topping 10 million yen.
In front of a crowd of about 70 people at city hall, officials began drawing lots Tuesday for the chance to buy a final resting place at the scenic downtown Aoyama Cemetery. A total of 2,205 people had applied for 50 bed-sized plots ranging from 1.6 to 3.65 sq. meters and carrying price tags of 4.5 million yen-10.3 million yen.
Aoyama opened in 1874 and is famous for its cherry trees, which make it a popular picnic spot in springtime and a long list of prominent occupants, including politicians, writers, artists and actors.
For some, the sale was the opportunity of a lifetime: new spaces last went on sale in 1960.
“It’s a beautiful spot in the middle of the city,” one unidentified man told NHK. “I’d love to get in there.”
The city planned for years to convert the cemetery into a park but decided to start admitting new remains to relieve pressure for burial spots in one of the world’s most crowded — and expensive — cities.
Buyers must have lived continuously in Tokyo for more than three years and have the dead ready for immediate burial.