Across from a noodle shop in a Yokohama suburb, Hisayoshi Teramura's inn looks much like any other small lodging that dots the port city. Occasionally, it's even mistaken for a love hotel by couples hankering for some time beneath the sheets.
But Teramura's place is neither a love nest nor a pit stop for tired travelers. The white and grey tiled building is a corpse hotel, its 18 deceased guests tucked up in refrigerated coffins.
The daily rate at Lastel, as it is known, is JPY12,000 (USD157). For that fee, bereaved families can temporarily keep the dead bodies while they wait their turn in the queue for one of the city's overworked crematoriums. In Yokohama, the average wait for an oven is more than four days, driving up demand for half-way morgues such as Lastel.
|The hotel stores and chills encoffined corpses, delivering them through hatches and into a viewing room, day or night, whenever friends and family come to pay their respects.|
|An employee of funeral operator Lastel shows a kitchen of a condominium lodge where bereaved family members can stay|