There are eight metropolitan cemeteries. The number of users is approximately 290,000, with about 1.3 million people entombed as of April 2017.
Demand is high for interment spaces at metropolitan cemeteries, with applications constantly far exceedin availability on a constant basis. To meet the demand, efforts are being made to provide more lots and niches, including accelerating the removal of neglected or abandoned graves, providing smaller lots, and building shared grave. Also, metropolitan cemeteries provide new types of interment spaces so as to meet the increasingly diverse needs of Tokyo residents.
Four of the metropolitan cemeteries, Aoyama, Yanaka, Zoshigaya and Somei, 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 a cemetery and a park so that a wider range of people can benefit from them. Revitalization projects are ongoing at some of the cemeteries, where uplight burial facility and open areas have been built in spaces created through the relocation of graves. Currently, the Bureau is advancing the project at Aoyama Cemetery and Yanaka Cemetery.
The other four cemeteries, Tama, Kodaira, Hachioji and Yahashira, are park cemeteries situated in suburban areas. While working to make efficient use of space, these cemeteries are providing interment sites, including new types of interment spaces, and maintaining the scenic nature of park cemeteries.
Uplight burial facility at Yanaka Cemetery
Shared grave at Kodaira 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 grave yard” and “tree grave yard”, where cremated remains are buried and covered with soil to satisfy the wish to 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. Based on these proposals, the Bureau began to offer a “forest grave yard” in fiscal 2012, and a “tree grave yard” and a small cemetery with a lawn to serve as a compact, landscape-sensitive burial site in fiscal 2014.
In fiscal 2013, Yahashira Cemetery started providing shared grave, 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.
“Tree grave yard” at Kodaira Cemetery
Shared grave at Yahashira Cemetery