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Resizing ancestral heritage for compact homes, Yuidan makes miniatures of household altars

In Japan, traditional Buddhist household altars called butsudan are often passed down through generations, serving as tangible connections to ancestors. However, as people downsize to smaller homes and apartments, these shrines are increasingly difficult to accommodate. Shizuoka City-based Yuidan solves that problem by transforming full-sized butsudan into palm-sized versions. The service allows people to retain their altar's personal history and profound meaning in a compact form tailored to modern living spaces.

The process begins with a temple ceremony, during which the souls of ancestors are removed from an altar. Skilled artisans then carefully disassemble it and meticulously create a miniature version incorporating the original wood or bamboo. Customers can choose from various shapes, starting from JPY 118,000, or request a fully customized replica of their butsudan. Ordering multiple copies allows several children or grandchildren to each place one in their home. Yuidan, which has filed for a patent for its service, also sells miniature accessories, like a tiny yet functional singing bowl.

Hand striking a ceremonial singing bowl on a tiny shrine

Trend Bite

Yuidan's novel offering combines minimalist living with heritage preservation. By downsizing large yet priceless altars, the company provides a path for carrying family traditions forward, even in the smallest dwellings. Other brands operating in the homes and interiors space: could you deliver innovative solutions for cherished belongings that no longer fit contemporary lifestyles? And how can you blend respect for the past with adaptations for present-day realities?