Aokigahara – Suicide Forest in Japan

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Have you heard about the suicide forest in Japan? Today we will talk about the famous Aokigahara Forest, its curiosities, sights, number of suicides, urban legends and much more.

Aokigahara, also known as the Sea of Trees, is a 35km² forest located at the northwest base of Mount Fuji in Japan. The forest is made up of thousands of trees, rocks and ice caves, and has many popular sights.

Aokigahara [青木ヶ原] is known to be strangely silent, the density of the trees, which block the wind, makes wildlife difficult. There are many legends about this forest. Some of them related to demons and evil spirits from Japanese mythology. But its main fame is due to the large number of suicides that take place every year in the forest.

4. Fuji. forest

More than 50 people commit suicide in Aokigahara every year, the bodies found exceed 100, it is possible to find decomposing bodies and even skeletons. Aokigahara is considered the largest suicide point in Japan and the second largest in the world, behind San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge.

The high rate of suicides caught the attention of Japanese authorities, who posted notices in Japanese and English discouraging the act. Every year a team of prepared people advance into the dense forest looking for bodies.

mount fuji it is also another popular destination among Japanese people who wish to die. Some people think it would be easier to climb Mount Fuji than to climb Yama (the Hindu god of death).


What to do in Aokigahara?

While many believe that Aokigahara is haunted, it actually has numerous natural attractions for visitors to enjoy. For example, the forest has beautiful waterfalls and maple trees perfect for warm autumn walks.

In addition to its natural beauty, Aokigahara also has over 1,000 Buddhist temples and shrines to explore. To top it off, the surrounding area offers many accommodation options, including campgrounds and lodges managed by the Yamanashi Prefecture.

Other sights to be explored are caves, we have the Ice Cave and the Wind Cave. There are over 200 caves in Aokigahara Forest, some even have shrines.

Tourists often place ribbons in the forest to mark the trails they are exploring, so the forest is filled with ribbons marking trees so others don't get lost.

While there are several misconceptions about what happens in Aokigahara Forest due to suicides – these places really do have a lot to offer tourists beyond death.


Legends about Aokigahara

The legends already cited refer to demons and spirits. Some Japanese fear the forest, and believe that once they enter, they will never return. This may be true, it's easy to get lost on the trails, the volcanic ground makes compasses and phones not working.

Another reason why people believed that the forest is haunted is due to Yurei, souls filled with hate, sadness and a desire for revenge. According to legend, people take their family members to the forest and let them die there. 

In Japanese folk belief, if a person dies in a deep sense of hatred, anger, sadness, or a desire for revenge, their soul cannot leave this world and continues to wander.

This legend scares to this day. Body hunters often leave bodies found in a room before taking the authorities. Legend has it that if the body is left alone in the room, your yurei will roam around screaming in the room. Body hunters often play Jankenpo to decide who will take care of the body.

The Legend of Kobo Daishi

Do you believe that a positive accomplishment ended up generating stories of evil spirits? Kōbō-Daishi supposedly meditated in Aokigahara Forest for over fifty years until he reached holiness.

As would be expected from such a sacred site, Kōboh-Daishi encountered some devotees who would undertake long journeys here to achieve spiritual enlightenment with him.

To expedite their journey and gain peace of mind before their ascension to heaven, these pilgrims would end their lives in Aokigahara so that they could begin another journey immediately after death.

Over time, stories about evil spirits that inhabit this forest gained strength - is this why some Japanese decide to commit suicide in this forest?


Aokigahara Movies and Videos

There are 2 movies that tell a little about this macabre forest:

The Forest of Suicides – 2009, tells the story of some students who go to the forest to make a kind of amateur documentary about their legends and stories. They end up getting lost there and terrible things happen. Horror

The Sea of Tress – It tells the story of two men, American Arthur Brennan (Matthew McConaughey) and Japanese Takumi Nakamura (Ken Watanabe), who go to the forest wishing to commit suicide, but end up starting a journey of reflection and survival into the woods.  Drama

walking around Aokigahara

Finally, we will leave a video showing some paths in the forest:

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