Nokotsudo (A Japanese Ossuary) (納骨堂)

A nokotsudo is the building in which the remains of cremation are kept. It is also called nokotsuden or reido in Japanese. Generally, it is built in the precincts of a temple.

It is equipped with lockers to keep the remains, and in some cases it's equipped with Buddhist altars above the lockers on which to place the Buddhist mortuary tablets. Some Buddhist sects or schools place the honzon (principal image of Buddha) at the center of the room.

These days, compartmental nokotsudo (called indoor cemeteries) have increased; in Tokyo there is a nine-storey nokotsudo, one of the largest in Japan.

In some cases, nokotsudo is used as the place in which to keep the remains temporarily before the tomb is built, and in other cases it's used as the place to keep the remains almost permanently, without burial. The nokotsudan, a nokotsudo equipped with an altar, is mainly used as the latter one.

Nokotsudo run by the public sector
Apart from the nokotsudo built in the precincts of a temple, there is the type built by the municipality. The standards for deciding whether to build nokotsudo or not vary from town to town. Generally speaking, nokotsudo have often been built as part of welfare in poor communities that haven't previously had temples, and they have often been built in so-called Dowa chiku (areas where people subject to unfair discrimination have lived) as measures to eliminate social prejudice. In many cases, the nokotsudo is of the Buddhist style, but some municipalities prepare the option of the Shinto style.

[Original Japanese]