There are a lot of valuable lessons I learned while recently traveling to Japan. However, the Japanese culture for burials is one that fascinated me. Hubby and I spent quite a bit of time in Kyoto in a massive cemetery. This one was close to the Gion district in an area known as Higashiyama-Ku / Kiyomizu.
There is true beauty in the way that the Japanese organize their cemeteries. Like much of Japan, there are clean lines (architecturally), symbolism and a deep sense of tradition. I was taken aback by the amount of small gifts left at so many of the tombstones. From cups of green tea, flowers and even Saki bottles! Many had hanging Ojuzu (Buddhist prayer beads), as well. As a practicing Jew, I am accustomed to leaving stones at the gravestones of beloved family. But, a Saki bottle – well that kind of took me by surprise and frankly, made me smile.
I decided to learn about the Japanese customs for caring for their cemeteries. This was a very useful link, if you are so inclined to read more, too. ( Funerals, which I did not witness, is about honoring the deceased’s ancestry. )