Japan Data Archive

About Japan > Life and Customs > 

What is the most common type of funeral?

Most of the funeral services in Japan are administered according to Buddhist rites if the deceased is of no specific religion.
After a death, a wake is held usually at the home of the deceased.
A wake is an occasion when the surviving family and close relatives keep a night watch over the corpse, while candles are lit and incense sticks are offered.
During one of the follow days, a funeral is held either at the home, a temple or a funeral hall.
Ordinarily a funeral home takes care of the funeral according to the family's budget and the wishes of the deceased.
A funeral consists of a service in which prayers for the deceased are offered and a farewell ceremony in which those in attendance part from the dead.
In the funeral service, the coffin is placed on the altar and the priest chants a sutra while relatives and close friends offer incense.
Sometimes flowers are offered in place of incense.
Those in attendance offer incense during the farewell ceremony, after which the corpse is carried to the crematorium.