September 18, 2017 / 10:34 AM / 2 years ago

Pet deaths in Japan: dignified but dog-gone expensive

A staff prays in front of an altar for a pet dog during a demonstration of pet funeral services at the Pet Rainbow Festa, a pet funeral expo targeting an aging pet population, in Tokyo, Japan September 18, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

(Reuters) - In Japan, caring for pets goes beyond the grave.

At Pet Rainbow Fiesta, a pet funeral expo, held in Tokyo on Monday, visitors were given a host of options on performing rites for dead pets, including cremation, constructing a household altar and making offerings of incense.

The basic funeral service fee starts from 95,800 yen ($860.66) for a one-kilogram hamster or bird and can go up to 114,800 yen for a 20-kilogram dog, according to funeral services company Kokolone. A flower altar can be added for 30,000 yen or pet owners can hire the services of a violinist or pianist to add somber music.

The funeral rituals underscore a Japanese belief that spirits need to be pacified - even if that comes at a tidy cost for your pet.

Reporting By Kyung Hoon Kim; Writing by Shri Navaratnam; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

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