How much does a funeral cost?
A 2003 survey by Japan Consumer's Association shows that funerals cost an average of 2.366 million yen.
There are large differences from one part of Japan to another.
Funerals are on average the most expensive in the Tohoku region (2.509 million yen) and the least expensive in the Hokkaido region (1.862 million yen).
Speaking of national averages, 64% of the money is paid to funeral service organizations, 20% goes to temples, and 16% to cover the expenses of food and drinks for those attending the ceremonies.
Friends, relatives and acquaintances of the deceased provide monetary offerings which can be appropriated for part of the funeral expenses, but the mourner has to return something to them as a token of gratitude.
Usually, one-half of the amount of monetary offerings received is returned.
In addition, it costs 2 to 3 million yen to set up a grave, and a typical Buddhist family altar costs 200,000 to 500,000 yen.
So the surviving family has to shoulder a large financial burden.