Sayama Forest Chapel, 2014
Shrines and chapels in Japan are often so much more than religious sites; rather, they are places where the living can simultaneously greet the deceased and tend to some much-needed self-introspection. The Sayama Cemetery is an incredible place to visit if you want to understand this concept for yourself. It is no ordinary cemetery- while it is home to many Japanese ancestors, it also recently gained two gorgeous architectural monuments: the Sayama Forest Chapel and the Lakeside Cemetery Community Hall (2013).
Sayama Lakeside Cemetery is open to various religions and denominations. It is located in a nature-rich environment adjacent to the water conservation forest, and the site itself is in front of a deep forest. Hiroshi Nakamura envisioned an architecture that reflects on the way of life as it lives by the water conserved by the forest, and eventually returns to this place after death. Thereupon, the architect found the forest to be the subject of prayer that is mutual to various religions and conceptualized an architecture that prays to the forest while surrounded by trees.