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Bringing ash/urn to Japan

cocoichi

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Hi all,

This week my father unexpectedly passed away, and he will be cremated. I will receive part of the ash to have him near. Since my wife and I are still thinking about moving to Japan, I was wondering if anyone could tell me if there is a particular procedure to bring ash or an urn to Japan? I would be devastated if I had to leave him behind completely. It might be my bad google skills, but I could not find any. I haven't asked my wife, because I am already leaning on her a lot these days.

Thank you for any help in the right direction.
 

Uncle Frank

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Sorry for your loss. I couldn't find anything on bringing remains into Japan, but it sounds like getting through TSA inspection and dealing with the airline can be a hassle. Seems each airline has it's own policy you have to follow. They mention needing a form for the cremation and also the death certificate to clear you on the US end. They make it sound like the urn can't be metal so it can be x-rayed . One airline said it has to go in the cargo hold , not in luggage. If no one has a good answer , contacting the Japanese consulate might be the way to go. Sounds like calling the airline you plan to use ahead of time would also be a good idea.
 

Mike Cash

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I am saddened to learn of your loss.

Useful information here:

http://改葬.jp/海外で火葬した場合の埋蔵.html

Essentially, you will need the paperwork associated with his cremation and a Japanese translation. Still, please check with an embassy or consulate for complete and authoritative information.
 

cocoichi

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Thank you guys. I appreciate it. I'll read through the information and ask my wife to contact the Japanese embassy. I will contact mine.
 

cocoichi

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Hi guys,

Don't know why, but in Holland it takes a whole month before you will get the remains after cremation. So I had an appointment with the institution today, to pick an urn to keep my father in. The lady at the "shop" told me that some people have a bigger urn for permanent placement, and a tiny urn to keep spread ash at a place to their liking. This has inspired me to bring a little bit of ash to the top of mount Fuji, have a beer with him, watch the sunrise, and then "leave" him there. It would be very nice for me to have a special place to go to in Japan, far away from where he lived, which would also have a symbolic meaning.

I was wondering if this would be illegal, rude or disturbing to others? I don't know how Japanese people feel about that. I would not want to soil their spirited mountain or anything. If this would be outrageous, I would like to spread him at Kamogawa in Kyoto.
 

Majestic

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The question has been asked on Japanese forums. The collective wisdom of the crowd is: it is illegal, but who will notice? It is the intersection of a legal, spiritual, and practical dilemma. So many people trudge up Mt. Fuji every year, and so much rubbish is left behind on the mountain (or, it used to be, I have never been there myself, but it used to be famous for how littered it was). How does that compare to a little bit of ash? (And, what is a little bit? A symbolic tiny bit? A full urn?). If everyone did it, would it be a health issue on top of an aesthetic issue?
Personally, I think there would be no harm in bringing a tiny, symbolic bit. Fuji is a massive, active volcano...it will eventually be covered with perhaps millions of tons of ash at some point in its future. But I admit there is a contradiction here in that if everyone started dumping the ashes of their loved ones on Fuji, it would be unpleasant.
For some reason, I find Fuji a more acceptable resting place than Kamogawa.
遺灰を富士山にまく事は出来ますか? - その他(法律) 締切済 | 教えて!goo
 

Mike Cash

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How about a mountain near where you expect to live someday and which isn't essentially just a stop for a never ending stream of tourists?
 

cocoichi

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The question has been asked on Japanese forums. The collective wisdom of the crowd is: it is illegal, but who will notice? It is the intersection of a legal, spiritual, and practical dilemma. So many people trudge up Mt. Fuji every year, and so much rubbish is left behind on the mountain (or, it used to be, I have never been there myself, but it used to be famous for how littered it was). How does that compare to a little bit of ash? (And, what is a little bit? A symbolic tiny bit? A full urn?). If everyone did it, would it be a health issue on top of an aesthetic issue?
Personally, I think there would be no harm in bringing a tiny, symbolic bit. Fuji is a massive, active volcano...it will eventually be covered with perhaps millions of tons of ash at some point in its future. But I admit there is a contradiction here in that if everyone started dumping the ashes of their loved ones on Fuji, it would be unpleasant.
For some reason, I find Fuji a more acceptable resting place than Kamogawa.
遺灰を富士山にまく事は出来ますか? - その他(法律) 締切済 | 教えて!goo

Thanks for this information. I indeed intend to spread only a symbolic amount. The urn for spreading is like the size of a S&B jar of pepper/salt.

Kamogawa is a special place to me because I asked my wife to marry me there. When in Japan, we always go there for a stroll and enjoy the flowing shallow water.

How about a mountain near where you expect to live someday and which isn't essentially just a stop for a never ending stream of tourists?

I can still think of a different location indeed, it is just that I've "climbed" Fuji twice, and I have never experienced a nicer sunrise than on top of Fuji. In addition, it is a mountain that can be seen when flying or taking the shinkansen between Osaka and Tokyo, so I can say hi to him when traveling between the two cities. I know a lot of tourists go op there (including me), but 9 out of 12 months it is prohibited right?
 
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