A hotel for the dead, now that’s something. This one is for real, actual corpses. And it’s pretty luxurious, going from the pictures. It’s a place where your folks check you in, and you wait it out until it’s time for you to be cremated. Also, it’s pretty luxurious.
The hotel Lastel run by Hisayoshi Teramura in Japan’s Yokohama suburbs, looks like any other building from the outside. In fact, young couples mistake it for a regular hotel and come asking for accommodation. But the place is not meant for lovers, or for weary travelers. Only for those who have already made their final exit from this world. The need for such a hotel very much exists in Japan, where there is a wait time of at least four days for a crematorium. With a total of 1.2 million deaths in the country in 2010, the annual death rate is at 0.95%, while the global average is only 0.84%. The Japanese also apparently tend to splurge on funerals, on the cost of flowers, coffins and memorial services. Mr. Teramura seems to have found a business opportunity in the area of death.
The corpses stored at the hotel are placed in refrigerated coffins that cost about 12,000 yen (approx. $157). They lay there until an opening is available at one of the overworked crematoriums in the city. Apparently, entry into the business is not all that difficult with the absence of mandatory qualifications or licenses. An office and a telephone will suffice to get started. Mr. Teramura has plans to expand. His second branch will be a bigger space, able to hold up to 40 corpses. His neighbors however, have not even the slightest inkling that they sleep every night next to a group of dead bodies.