"Yumiko Nakajima, a woman in her 70s, is selecting her grave. But instead of choosing a hunk of stone in a regular, outdoor cemetery, she has her sights set on a glowing blue glass Buddha statue inside Ruriden—a small, futuristic charnel house belonging to Koukoko-ji temple in downtown Tokyo.
Nakajima’s chosen Buddha statue is flanked on all sides by a collection of 2,045 LED-lit statues of variant hues, spread across the walls of this alternative graveyard space. Each statue—which is placed on the wall inside a transparent glass casing—either already represents a deceased person or will do so in the future, once a visitor like Nakajima decides to have his or her cremated remains housed in a storage locker located directly behind the wall. Synced up to swipe cards, the statues glow a different color when a visitor arrives so they can be located more easily.
“It’s fate that I got introduced to this style of graveyard. It’s much more convenient,” said Nakajima, as the technicolor Buddha statues reflected off of her glasses, and her shopping bags rustled beside her. “I don’t want my relatives to go to the trouble of maintaining my tombstone when I’m gone.”"