japanese funeral traditions

Five things you need to know about Obon–one of Japan’s biggest holidays 【Videos & more】

If the idea of your loved ones leaving this earth never to return again seems unfair, then you should consider the Japanese view of the afterlife. While nothing can change death itself, it is comforting to know that in Japan there is a special time of the year when the souls of the dead come back to visit the living. This is called Bon (or Obon using the honorific “o”) a holiday period from August 12-16 (exact dates may vary depending upon location), a time when the entire country takes a break to celebrate the “festival of the dead.” It’s a lively few days when the living and the dead can once again unite to eat together, drink together and share good times.

The Bon tradition gives the country some of the unique dances that Japan is so famous for. Tokushima’s Bon dance, called Awa Odori, for example, draws over one million tourists every year. Traditional Bon entertainment is so lively, colorful and intriguing that a Bon dance is a must-see on every traveler’s itinerary.

Today we’ll introduce you to a five things you should know about Obon. Needless to say, it’s a very exciting time to be in Japan as a tourist!

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The Mother of all Bentos–a Japanese meal that’s to die for

If you’ve been to Japan, you may have been told about the two most common table etiquette faux pas, both related to funerals and death. If you’re not very familiar with Japanese customs, these gaffes are way too easy to commit because on the surface, nothing seems obviously wrong with them.

Since we at RocketNews24 believe that unraveling the mysteries of Japanese culture is part of the fun of traveling and even living in Japan, in this article we’re going to explore strange new worlds, seek out new life and new civilizations, and boldly go where no gaijin has gone before: We’re going to reveal the meaning behind the mother of all lunch boxes: the funeral bento. It’s big, it’s bulky, it’s boisterous, and it’s drop-dead gorgeous.

This veritable feast in a box contains a seven-course meal which is big enough to share with the deceased. Yep, that’s right. Join us while we eat with the dead. Read on!

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More Japanese Choosing Fertilizer as Burial Option

Have you thought about what you would like done with your body after you die?

Of course, it’s uncomfortable to contemplate your own death or the death of a loved one, but we’ve all got to go sometime. In Japan, the vast majority of people are cremated and their ashes interred at a family grave. While this is certainly more space-efficient than the Western practice of burying the casket, room in the plot does eventually run out. Then the family is faced with the expensive choice of either expanding the existing plot if possible or finding and purchasing a new one. Then there are all kinds of hidden costs, like construction and maintenance fees. It’s a lot to think about.

With these concerns in mind, a new style of internment has been gaining popularity even in traditional Japan. It’s called a forest cemetery. Read More


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