NAGANO – A funeral home with a drive-thru window will open in Nagano Prefecture on Sunday, allowing mourners to pay their respects without getting out of the car.
The operator of the Aishoden funeral home in Ueda said the service is the first of its kind in Japan. It is primarily aimed at allowing seniors and the disabled to attend funerals but may also be used in the future by people short on time.
During a tour Saturday, residents lined up to get a look at the innovative facility, which allows drive-thru mourners to stop their cars next to a window and enter their names and addresses on a device handed over by a waiting receptionist.
The mourners can then hand over their condolence offering and give incense. At regular Buddhist funerals, the incense ritual would be performed at an altar.
The faces of the mobile mourners and their incense offerings are shown on monitors in the funeral home so others can take note.
“It responds to the feelings of people who have given up on participating in funerals,” said Kazuhiro Ogura, 30, who joined the tour.
Even if such mourners don’t get out of their cars, “I think the chief mourner would also be happy about the fact that they came,” he added.