In the Western world, we take a very traditional approach to our graveyards and mausoleums. While they've gotten slightly less foreboding in the last century, we are very steeped in tradition: marble stones, gentle fonts, flowers, quiet serenity. But in Tokyo, a new mausoleum is taking, shall we say, a lively approach to honoring the dead.
The exterior of the Ruriden columbarium looks like most Japanese mausoleums. But when you take a look inside...
You might think you've wandered into a dance club.
Brightly colored lights illuminate the walls of this cavernous room.
Each of the lights is actually an illuminated Buddha figure.
The cemetery and columbarium are operated by the Buddhist monks of the Koukokuji temple.
Ruriden contains 2,046 altars, which are represented by the illuminated Buddhas.
The Buddhas are thought to protect the deceased's ashes and bring peace in resting.
The ashes stay in the columbarium for 33 years. The remains are then laid to rest beneath Ruriden.
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