Soul Society. Some call it Heaven, others call it Elysium, or Zion, or a host of other names. But whatever the name, it's unlikely to match expectations for those who are not spiritually aware. This 'paradise' many religions preach is little more than a life after death, with all the ups and downs experienced in the mortal realm.
Soul Burial, by way of a Shinigami's Zanpakuto, will send a soul to one of two places. For the truly vile, there is hell, but for most souls, the destination is Soul Society. A heavenly land reminiscent of feudal Japan (and in fact a large cultural influence on the aforementioned time and place), Soul Society is a place for souls to live out the rest of their existence. 'For to man is given 120 years,' and as such, what remains of those years are spent in Soul Society, living and aging as one would in the Living World. The only notable difference, is spirits don't suffer the effects of aging in the same way that mortals do. Arthritis, increased risk of disease, high blood pressure, none of that bullshit applies to a soul. Some time during it's 120th year, a soul fades away, being conceived once more upon the Earth. Those souls that 'die' before their time are instead sent to the 'waiting realm,' to wait until a living conception is available for them.
An exception from the standard, however, are powerful souls. Those souls that exert a spiritual pressure, and most often come from spiritually aware mortals. When these souls receive the Soul Burial, they revert to their prime (typically some time between 18 and 24 years of age) if they lived beyond it, and will age far more slowly than normal souls. The value of this decelerated aging varies from soul to soul, but especially in the case of Shinigami it's not terribly uncommon for such a soul to live in excess of 2,000 years.
Soul Society Geography
Rukongai is the largest region of soul society which most of the population calls home. The city sprawls for a megameter in every direction (with an approximate total landmass about the size of India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Bhutan combined), radiating outwards from Seireitei. This massive city is divided into four Quarters - North, South, East and West - each with eighty districts numbered by how far they are from Seireitei. As a result, the higher the number, the weaker the lawful order, and more decayed the district becomes. Divisions 6 and 9 of the Shinigami share the task of maintaining order in the Rukongai, with the aid of locally recruited sheriffs. No easy task, given the size of Rukongai and the losses suffered by the Shinigami during the Hellbreak.
Seireitei is the small region of soul society, less than 1% the size of Rukongai, with a 100 kilometer diameter. It is here, however, that the power of Soul Society sits. Within the massive, 'impenetrable' walls of Seireitei reside the ruling class and its enforcers. The Rukongai citizens have mixed views on Seireitei, but one thing rings true. These are the rulers of the afterlife, whose power is unquestionable.
Soul Society Governmnt
Seireitei is home to the ruling class of Soul Society, which comes in three groups as follows. The Noble families are the top of the pile, carrying most of the wealth and influence in Soul Society. These 'noble families' so to speak, are more like loose clans, formed for the most part from those born in Soul Society, who have never lived a mortal life, and as such are considered 'special.' Next comes the Central 46, a 'republican' elected body, much like the Roman Senate, which supposedly holds the power and rules Soul Society. The truth of the matter, however, is that the Central 46 dance on the puppet strings of the noble families, and seldom make a move without their approval. Lastly are the Shinigami, the 'pride' of Soul Society, which has fallen so far in recent years. The Shinigami answer directly to Central 46, although the Captain Commander has reserved the right to act independently should the need arise.