There’s a reason why you don’t find many cemeteries in the middle of cities. When land prices come at a premium, the economics of sprawling tombstones simply don’t make sense. But as lifestyles change and evolve, so too does our relationship with the deceased. And in turn, so do the cemeteries and ossuaries that look after our deceased and offer a sacred space where we can revisit their memories.
Hyakutsuki-in opened in 2021 in a residential neighborhood of Tokyo’s Ota-ward. With a combination of dark hues and bright interiors, the stylish space successfully reimagines what a cemetery could look like. But Hyakutsuki-in, which literally means “100 Moons” and was inspired by the series of woodblock prints “One Hundred Aspects of the Moon” (1892) by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, goes further by offering numerous options for diverse needs.
The main indoor burial is a narrow hallway brightly lit by a skylight and offers different-sized ossuaries that are reminiscent of coin-lockers you might see at a train station. Inside is a small space dedicated to individual families that house a family plaque, a flower decoration, incense, water and any other religious objects.
For families who prefer a more traditional memorial, Hyakutsuki-in also has an outdoor space where families can maintain a more conventional tombstone, albeit at a slightly higher price.
And in addition to those options, Hyakutsuki-in also offers a tree burial. The architect who designed the space, Yukio Asari, created a gorgeous, sculptural monument where families can return their loved ones to the earth in poetic fashion. You can see more photos on the architect’s website, as well as keep up with their work on Instagram.