Japan is known as the safest place on earth but did you know that a notoriously common site for suicide can also be found? A dense forest known as Aokigahara is a popular tourist destination due to its large number of icy caverns. It lies at the northwest base of Mt. Fuji and is believed to be greatly associated with the ghosts of the dead known as “yurei” in Japanese mythology. This is the reason why suicidal visitors are given a sign ahead of the trail to think of their families and loved ones or to contact a suicide prevention association before heading into the woods.
Aokigahara is a very dense forest made of volcanic rock which makes it difficult to leave any trails. Because of this, you can immediately get lost in the forest. In order to avoid getting lost, most hikers use a plastic tape to mark the path they’ve gone through. The common trail followed leads to some tourist attractions such as the Ice Cave and Wind Cave. So don’t be surprised if you see some tape and rubbish left by hikers along the way. After the first kilometer, it is the only time you will be seeing less rubbish with almost no sign of a human’s presence.
Aokigahara is often called “the perfect place to die.” But why? It all started with Japanese businessmen wandering into the forest since 1950 with at least 500 of them who never went out. And year after year, the number has continuously increased. It is the reason why the forest is reportedly known as the suicide forest in Japan. The high rate of suicides led officials to place a sign at the forest’s entry urging visitors not to take their own lives or to seek help before doing anything. This associated the forest with many deaths which most Japanese spiritualists believe to permeate paranormal activity which, in turn, prevents people from leaving the forest.
It is also believed that once their corpse is left in the forest, it brings bad luck to the suicide victim. It leaves their spirit wandering around and screaming all through the night. Sometimes, their bodies also start moving. So whether you believe in the spiritualists or not, Aokigahara’s forest is still receiving many visitors every year. Imagine shutting yourself off from the world with all the natural sounds of the forest.
You can reach the forest via the bus route from Kawaguchiko Station.