Record Deaths in Japan Spurs New Businesses, Like Hotel for the Dead

The Liss Center stands three stories high, sandwiched between large warehouses on the outskirts of Tokyo. A flickering sign greets visitors in the parking lot, and the hotel’s “guests” are welcomed through large metal doors. The antiseptic white walls and smell of disinfectants don’t exactly scream business hotel, but owner Nyokai Matsushima affectionately calls this “a business hotel for the dead.”

“Guests” stay for 7,350 yen a night – roughly $88, while bereaved families can opt to seek out advice on funeral services from hotel staff. The center is the first business venture for the longtime Buddhist monk and is intended to give Japanese families a place to hold bodies while dealing with the grief and pressure of a funeral. “I was inspired to build this hotel, about 14 years ago,” Matsushima says. “I wanted to create a space where the deceased could come to rest, without any pressure from funeral companies.”

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