• The drive-thru funeral service allows mourners to say their final goodbyes from their car. (Kankon Sousai Aichi Group)Source: Kankon Sousai Aichi Group
You can sign your name, leave condolence money and light an electronic stick of incense without leaving your car.
Alyssa Braithwaite

18 Sep 2017 - 12:12 PM  UPDATED 18 Sep 2017 - 12:12 PM

A company in Japan is opening the country's first drive-thru funeral service, allowing mourners to pay their respects without having to get out of their car.

Set up like fast food drive-thrus, funeral attendees will pull up to a window where they can sign their name on an electronic tablet, offer customary condolence money, and pay their respects to the deceased using a touch screen to light an electronic stick of incense, the Japan Times reports.

Mourners inside the funeral home will be able to monitor drive-thru attendees.

The service will be offered by a new funeral home that will be opened in Ueda, central Nagano, in December by Kankon Sousai Aichi Group.

"All in all, it will cut down the time it takes to attend a funeral by around one-fourth or one-fifth."

The head of the company, Masao Ogiwara, says the initiative is primarily aimed at people who have limited mobility due to old age or physical disability. 

"I've been in this business for a while and have seen how burdensome attending funerals can be for old folks in wheelchairs," Ogiwara tells the Japan Times.

"The new service will allow those who would otherwise stay home [to] go out and bid farewell to friends and family."

As funeral ceremonies in Japan are often held at midday or in the early afternoon, people who are busy at work and are only allowed a short time to leave the office can pay their respects without getting changed into appropriate funeral attire or spending too much time.

"All in all, it will cut down the time it takes to attend a funeral by around one-fourth or one-fifth," Ogiwara says.

The service will be the first in Japan, but a handful of funeral homes in the US already offer drive-thru viewings as part of their funeral services.

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