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Drive-thru funeral homes are now a thing in Japan

Japan’s first drive-thru funeral home has come to the Nagano Prefecture, The Japan Times reports. The facility lets funeral-goers pay their respects without the whole hassle of leaving their cars. Instead, they simply pull up next to a window, offer their condolences, and hand out some incense, as is customary in a Buddhist funeral. To make sure their grief is noted, the faces of the car-bound mourners are shown on monitors inside the funeral home, so others can see they’ve paid their respects. While its easy to chalk up drive-by viewings as the ultimate laziness, the operator of the Aishoden funeral home says the idea was originally intended for the elderly and disabled. He admits, though, that it will probably appeal to another group, too–the extremely busy.

Japan is frequently a trendsetter in these areas (they do have robot-led funerals, after all), but the practice of drive-thru funerals has been in the United States since the 1980s, when mourners coming to pay their respect at Chicago’s Gatling Chapel were showed a video image of the deceased on a TV screen outside, according to Time. The drive-thru funeral at the Robert L. Adams Mortuary was a hit in Compton, California, in  2011, thanks to the ability to mourn but not “have to deal with parking,” as noted by the Los Angeles Times. And outside Detroit, a funeral home has been offering drive-thru viewings since at least 2014.

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