Mt. Fuji, the often snow capped and Japan’s highest mountain, is the focal point for tourists for many reasons. One of them being the Aokigahara forest.
Warning: Reader discretion is advised.
The Aokigahara forest in Japan has the unfortunate distinction of being the world’s second most popular place to end one’s life.
Aokigahara is a dense forest at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan. The foliage here is so thick that it has came to be known as ‘Sea of Trees’. The forest thrives on 30 sq. km of volcanic land and is just around 2-hour journey from Tokyo city.
But believe me it is no place for a leisurely walk.
The woods are filled with densely twisted trees, their roots winding across the forest floor in a treacherous manner giving visitors an eerie sense of solitude.
According to Atlas Obscura, Japanese spiritualists believe that the suicides committed in the forest have permeated in the trees, generating paranormal activity and preventing many who enter the forest from escaping its depths.
Moreover, it has also been reported that compasses, cellphones, and GPS systems become useless in this volcanic land because of rich deposits of magnetic iron. So if you are lost, there is no way you can call for help.
It is so difficult to get out of here, that people carry tapes with them and wrap them around the trees so that they can find their way out.
Japanese authorities no longer release exact numbers of the people who commit suicide in Aokigahara. Some estimates claim that as many as 100 people a year successfully kill themselves here.
Several reports suggest that people also camp in the forest for a few days figuring out if they want to die or not.
“I’ve seen plenty of bodies that have been really badly decomposed, or been picked at by wild animals.”
Just at the entrance there’s a sign to stop people from committing suicide.
All through the forest suicide counselors and police have also posted signs with messages like “Think carefully about your children, your family” and “Your life is a precious gift from your parents.”
Some people also believe that the forest may be haunted by the spirits of those who committed suicide here. These spirits called ‘yurei’ lure and torment those visitors into suicide who are sad and have lost their path in the forest.
The Aokigahara forest has been featured in several bestselling novels and movies, like The Forest and The Sea of Trees.