Japanese people are cremated after death and their ashes are traditionally interred in special family graves within the grounds of Buddhist temples. Such family graves are normally very well maintained by surviving family members. However, as time goes by many such graves are forgotten and even abandoned as family lines die away and people move or marry into new families. Real estate is dear in Japan even within the grounds of Buddhist temples, and most temples will have a special area within their grounds for the collection of abandoned family grave stones. These collections are sometimes stacked rather unceremoniously in a out-of-the-way corner of the temple while other temples may choose to place the forgotten stones in a high visibility area to invite the attention and possible prayers of those whose kind hearts go out to the forgotten souls. Buddhist statues are often found amidst these old grave markers giving the spirits some blessed company as they while away the centuries. This short video showcases one such collection of grave stones located at the entrance to a Buddhist temple near our home. The grave markers and statues form a small four-sided pyramid with a large monument situated at the top. Many of the grave stones are so old that the carved names have been completely worn away by weathering.
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