Aokigahara Forest – More Famous For Its Suicides Than Its Trees
Aokigahara is probably the most (in)famous forest in Japan. It is set at the base of Mount Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan, located on Honshu Island. When you see it from the outside, you’ll think “it’s not that special”. Just an ordinary forest full of moss, trees and rocky caverns. We may say it’s even beautiful in a way – full of gnarled, twisted trees and branches that are interlocked, just like in a fairy tale. It’s eerily quiet and dark, but that can be easily explained. Dense vegetation blocks the winds and most of the light and there is almost no animal life here.
Some parts of the forest are popular tourist attractions (mostly caverns), but if you step deeper into the woods you’ll find only pristine nature and several additional things that make this forest the creepiest one in Japan and beyond. This “unusual” forest is also called the “Suicide Forest”, “Sea of Trees”, “Demon Forest” and even creepier – “a perfect place to die”. Its nicknames describe it very well. This ghost wood is the second place in the world by the number of committed suicides (after Golden Gate Bridge).
The authorities are completely aware of this fact. Therefore, on many trees you can see encouraging messages which are somehow supposed to stop the suicides. However, messages like “Your life is a precious gift” or “Please consult the police before you decide to die!” don’t seem to work. Since the 50s, the rate of suicides is higher and higher, every single decade. At least 500 people decided to end their lives in this terrifying forest.
People say that the history of suicides dates far back before the 60s, when the novel “Black Sea of Trees” was released. It tells a story about lovers who kill themselves in the end, right here, in this forest. That just inspired hundreds of people to end their life in Aokigahara, mostly by hanging. That’s not all: Wataru Tsurumui’s controversial bestseller “The Complete Suicide Manual” (1993) is a book that describes various methods of suicide and even recommends Aokigahara as “the perfect place to die”! The Japanese suicide rate has always been high and these books just contributed to its increase.
Knowledge of the forest’s “purpose” is not the only frightening thing about the woods. If you decide to take a hike through the deeper parts of Aokigahara, you’ll see “no entry” signs everywhere. They mark the suicide scenes, with the belongings of the unfortunate men and women left on the ground. Sometimes, you’ll even see bones, scattered all across the forest. Some people are searching the forest for the bodies and looting their belongings.
Like all of this wasn’t enough – Aokigahara is connected with Japanese demonology and people swear it’s haunted. All things considered, this is, with no doubt, one of the creepiest places on the face of the Earth.