Relatives can view their loved one's body at any time, day or night at The Lastel, in a suburb of Yokohama, offers 18 refrigerated coffins for dead guests at a daily rate of $160.

Bodies chilled and stored at the site are delivered through hatches and into a viewing room, day or night, when friends and family visit to pay their respects.

The profits being reaped at the 'half-way morgue' reflect a booming death industry in the country, where 1.2m people died in 2010 - up 55,000 on the previous year.

The number of deaths in Japan has risen sharply in recent years.

Annual deaths are expected to peak at 1.66m in 2040, as the majority of the nation's baby boomer generation expires.

Hisayoshi Teramura, who runs Lastel, suggested the trend could see his business face stiff competition over the coming years

He added that the inn was occasionally mistaken for a love hotel by couples, and joked: "We tell them we only have cold rooms."


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