Japanese funerals are traditionally overseen by a Buddhist priest at the deceased's village temple. But people drifting to the cities are increasingly looking for alternatives as ties to their ancestral home loosen.

Funeral services are increasingly being supervised by new religious groups and in some cases conducted by their lay followers.

One such group is the independent GLA (God Light Association). Founded in 1969, its teachings center on the notion of an eternal human soul. In 2012 it opened a building housing burial vaults at its spiritual training facility in Hokuto, Yamanashi Prefecture.