There are eight metropolitan cemeteries. The number of users is approximately 280,000, with about 1.27 million people entombed as of April 2013.
Demand is high for interment spaces at metropolitan cemeteries, with applications constantly far surpassing offers. To meet the demand, efforts are being made to provide more lots and niches, including accelerating the liquidation of neglected graves, providing smaller lots, and building columbaria. Also, metropolitan cemeteries provide new types of interment spaces so as to meet the increasingly diverse needs of Tokyo residents, setting examples for other cemeteries.
Four of the metropolitan cemeteries, Aoyama, Zoshigaya, Somei and Yanaka, are located in the ward area. They are all time-honored facilities opened in 1874. The TMG plans to turn these facilities into places which serve both as cemetery and park so that a wider range of people can benefit from them. Revitalization projects are ongoing at some of the cemeteries, where public mausoleums and open areas have been built in spaces created through the relocation of graves. As part of the projects, Aoyama Cemetery and Yanaka Cemetery resumed offering new interment spaces in fiscal 2003 and 2007, respectively.
The other four cemeteries, Tama, Kodaira, Hachioji and Yahashira, are park cemeteries situated in suburban areas. These cemeteries provide lots and niches including new types of interment spaces, which helps them make efficient use of their spaces and maintain the scenic nature of the park cemeteries.
Columbarium at Kodaira Cemetery
Public mausoleum at Yanaka Cemetery
New Types of Interment Spaces
In February 2008, the Tokyo Metropolitan Parks Council compiled a report on the future provision and maintenance of interment spaces in metropolitan cemeteries, in which it proposed that the facilities provide a “forest cemetery” and “tree cemetery,” where cremated remains are buried and covered with soil to satisfy the wish of peacefully returning to nature after death, as well as compact and landscape-sensitive burial lots, which are small but collectively look beautiful and blend in well with the surroundings. The TMG has since worked to realize the ideas, and in fiscal 2012, a metropolitan cemetery began accepting applications for burials in its forest cemetery.
In fiscal 2013, Yahashira Cemetery started providing niches in a columbarium, which is the fourth such facility at a metropolitan cemetery. The TMG will continue working to meet the demand for interment spaces, while creating attractive green spaces and landscapes and protecting the environment in urban areas.
“Forest cemetery” at Kodaira Cemetery
Columbarium at Yahashira Cemetery