Aokigahara a.k.a Japan’s Suicide Forest.
This Forrest lies on the northwestern side of the famous Fuji Mountain, in Fujikawaguchiko, Japan. The Forrest is also sometimes called “Jukai” and the “sea of trees.” Aokigahara covers about thirty-five square kilometers of land and is full of beautiful trees with thick foliage, ice caves, and faces the great mount Fuji. Also, the place is dead silent and a bit creepy, so people easily get lost here. However, that’s not the reason why it’s famous. It’s mainly popular because of the number of people who committed suicides here. The quiet and deserted surrounding attracts all the frustrated people who are fed up with their lives, and it serves as the “perfect” place for them to kill themselves.
People have committed suicides in Aokigahara in both the ancient and the present time, but recently it gained massive attention after the Youtuber Logan Paul filmed a dead body over there and showed it to the whole world. However, the mysteries of the Forrest are not only limited to suicides, as many people believe the souls of dead people also haunt this place. And the legend says that all those who committed suicide never joined their ancestors because of the nature of their death. So these free spirits now inhabit the Forrest.
Anyhow, there are many legends and facts related to this creepy Forrest, and we’ve compiled some of them for you. So, scroll down and take a look!
The Forrest lies behind the Mount Fuji.
The “sea of trees” is located at the base of Mount Fuji, it has tall trees and has a rock solid floor due to the volcanic eruptions. The gigantic trees and their thick green leaves make it difficult for the hikers to stick in the right direction. So, the hikers usually mark their path as they walk through the forest to avoid going the wrong way. And that’s not all, iron and other volcanic deposits in the soil cause distortion in signals coming from electrical devices which makes it impossible to use cell phones. So easily getting lost here is not uncommon.
Trees are gigantic and extremely thick.
Dense canopy and enormous trees make it almost impossible to look beyond 10-feet up in the air. Sunshine is easily blocked out by the tightly packed leaves, and so the seemingly dark and deserted environment makes it easy to lose focus on what’s ahead. That is why the Japanese officials advise the hikers not to take odd paths and to use colored tapes to leave a trail behind.
It’s Dead Silent.
The thick leaves make the canopy dense and impenetrable. So the wind is also pretty much blocked out, creating a distinct inner environment which is almost completely silent. The silence makes echoing easy, and so people can be heard crying and screaming over there from time to time. And that also somewhat explains the stories of moaning ghosts “haunting” the forest.
There is no wildlife.
Animals are nowhere to be seen in Aokigahara. That is primarily because of the denseness of the trees and the unusual environment which makes it difficult for the wildlife creatures to find their way in and out of the forest. Also, there isn’t much for them to eat. However, there are some birds over there, but they are nocturnal. So, the beautiful and sporadic chirping of birds is uncommon.
Aokigahara is not only limited to the canopy of trees.
Although the foliage of trees is most prominent in this forest, there are also other numerous natural and beautiful features. For example, the deep icy caverns such as Narusawa Ice Cave, and the Wind Cave. And if you decide to go deep into these caves, you can witness sheets, columns, pillars, and walls of ice all at temperatures below zero.
The forest holds the record for second most suicides in the world.
Second, only to the Golden Gate Bridge, this forest is known for the highest numbers of committed suicides. Even though the exact amount varies, but according to an approximation more than 500 people have taken their lives here.
The exact number of suicides is still unknown.
Similar to the Golden Gate Bridge, the exact number of suicides has never been published or shown in records as it would just encourage more people to do it. But unlike the Golden Bridge and other popular suicide sites, no one knows the exact number of the people who have died here. That is because the whole suicide thing goes a long way back to ancient times. And even though the workers in Aokigahara report about 70 suicides a year, due to the environmental conditions, sometimes the corpses are never found. So after being engulfed the corpses just become a part of the soil.
Spirits named Yurei haunts the forest.
According to the Japanese mythology, spirits named Yurei haunt this place. These spirits shapeshift and take up the form of pale women in white gowns with black hair. The legend says Yurei spirits roam around the forest because these are the souls of people who killed themselves and so they can never unite with their ancestors. Thus, these cursed spirits haunt the forest.
Even today some people continue to believe in this Japanese mythology.
All kinds of people have killed themselves here.
Primarily it was believed that only the “Japanese salarymen” had committed suicides in Aokigahara. However, that’s not true at all. People with all kinds of different life situations have taken their lives here. From people with terminal illnesses to victims of depression and anxiety, to the members of mourning families everyone has been here. Aokigaraha has seen people with the kind of cases that the world probably doesn’t even know about.
Forest Workers are responsible for taking out the bodies.
It’s already known that the Forest Workers take out the bodies. However, there is much more to their job than this. Every time they find a body they have to perform certain codified procedures and rituals. For instance, after the bodies are carried out, they are taken to a special room in the police station. Over there, the forest workers play Jan-ken-pon (rock, paper, scissors) to decide who gets to “sleep” with the corpse. All of this is a part of their ritual according to which the spirit of the deceased should not be left unaccompanied.
An ages-old legend says that old people were left all alone in Aokigahara.
The practice was known as ubasute. And according to it the older adults mostly women were abandoned in Aokigahara in times of drought and famine, mainly because of food shortage. The women would then die of hunger, and according to their belief their spirits would inhabit the trees and haunt the forest.
The suicide epidemic has a strong background history.
Even though people have been committing suicide in Aokigahara for a long time now, the sharp increase in suicide rates was seen only after 1950. However, it became a national problem in the 1960’s mainly after Seicho Matsumoto published a book called Kuroi Kaiju (Black Sea of Trees). The book had a story of its own and ended telling the tale of two lovers who killed themselves in the forest. It appears the book had a negative influence on people as the rate of suicides increased even more. But, that’s not all, Wataru Tsurumui’s controversial 1993 bestseller The Complete Suicide Manual represented Aokigahara as the best place to die.
There are anti-suicide signs everywhere in the vicinity of the forest.
Aokigahara is a place open to the public and can’t be closed off. However, to keep people from committing suicide the Japanese officials have put up anti-suicide signs everywhere. These signs discourage suicide and use an emotional approach to bring sense into people. The signs say things like “Your life is a precious gift from your parents,” “Think of your family!” and “Please consult with the police before you decide to die.”
Scavenging in Aokigahara exists.
There are people always in search of valuables that the person leaves behind. They even set up and wait for people to kill themselves so they can get a hold of the valuables before the forest workers find them.
Besides all the creepy things, Aokigahara has also been featured in games, movies, and books.
Aokigahara has been featured in various games, films, and novels till now. For instance, in 2016 The Forest movie starring Natalie Dormer came out. Then in 2015, Gus Van Sant’s film Sea of Trees, with Matthew McConaughey and Ken Watanabe came out along with many other features of the forest in Japanese manga, anime, and several video games. And last but not the least in 1960’s Seicho Matsumoto’s novel Kuroi Jukai (Black Sea of Trees) gained attention and became popular.
So that’s all for now. What do you think about this all time legendary forest? Would you like to pay a visit here sometime? Let us know in the comments below!