Subscribe to the Mountains of Wisdom Mailer

* indicates required

Practical thoughts on Japanese funerals

trees in park

In the past three years I have been to three friends’ funerals. All three were tragically young, each time it broke my heart, and I really do not want to make a habit of it. I’ve said this before in regards to my own dad’s death, but even though it is something extremely unfortunate, death is a normal part of life, and for me it is a stark reminder to do the things you always said you would.

At my dad’s funeral, it was a colourful affair. The only people wearing black were me and my wife as we were led to believe this is normal from watching TV and movies. Everyone else was wearing extravagant clothing to celebrate life rather than commiserate over death, which is something I can get behind. Japan is still very much traditional, and black is still very much the only acceptable colour (besides white). All three times I had to borrow a black tie from my brother-in-law. You’d really think I’d learn my lesson and go buy one, but I really don’t want to.

There are some other interesting points about funerals in Japan, one of which is that you don’t take the route you took to the funeral home on the way back to try and make any spirits that stick to you lose their way. You’ll also be given a small sachet of salt to throw over your shoulders as a purification for before you go back inside your house. On special occasions in Japan such as weddings, it is custom to give money in an envelope in the form of pristine notes that haven’t been folded. This is the opposite for funerals, money given should have been used somewhat.

I hope you learned something about funerals in Japan, but I really hope you don’t have to go to one anytime soon.




person writing on a notebook beside macbook
The Job is Never Done
photo of pathway surrounded by fir trees
Making the Most of That Compounding Interest
high angle photo of person going down the stairs
Focus on finishing


person writing on notebook
List it up: how to guarantee a project gets done
man wearing black cap with eyes closed under cloudy sky
Some feelings you can’t outlogic
The last 200m


photo of an athlete swimming underwater
Tested not simply talked about
Explore your boundaries with creativity
You gotta have the resolve


Subscribe to my yamabushi newsletter

Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi

Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi

Get In Touch

Sakata City, Yamagata, Japan 


Share this:

Like this:

Like Loading...
Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: