Discovering the Aokigahara Forest

The Aokigahara Forest can be found on the northwestern flank of Mount Fuji, although from the outside it seems like the perfect place to go for a hike, this forest hides a sad and disturbing history. Since the 50’s Aokigahara has mostly been known as the Suicide forest reporting almost 30 suicides annually. The forest is known as home for the Yurei, the ghosts of the dead who cause paranormal activity.

The Japanese authorities, as well as people who take care of the forest, have placed signs that remind those desperate souls on how precious their lives are, unfortunately, it doesn’t stop people from taking their lives in the forest.

The Suicide Forest

In recent years the Suicide forest has gained a lot of international popularity, attracting foreign visitors, the Japanese authorities have decided to stop posting numbers on how many suicides are actually happening to stop making the place so popular. The suicides are prompted by the Japanese economy, depression as well as in some cases because of the romantic novel Kuroi Jukai where the lovers join in a suicide. The legend says that if the body of the victim is left in the forest then the ghosts of Yurei scream during the night in order to help the souls to move on.

In 2018 the YouTube star Logan Paul visited the Aokigahara forest and sparked international outrage. The social media star showed great disrespect when he came upon a suicide victim when continuing filming the deceased and even going as far as uploading the video later. This event caused outrage and unfortunately popularized the forest even more.

If you still want to visit the suicide forest make sure to be respectful of those who have taken their own lives and do not continue popularizing the place by posting photos and videos on social media.

Aokigahara Forest Stories

In 2011 the Japan-based freelance writer Rob Gilhooly wrote about his chilling experience of visiting the Suicide forest. Rob starts by describing how he is walking through the forest maze while enjoying nature when suddenly he hears a scream which stops him in his tracks. He doesn’t run away, on the contrary, he walks towards the scream and stumbles upon what seems like a pile of clothes only to find out it is no clothing at all. Rob sees an old barely dressed man with grey hair curled up like a fetus, around him scattered documents and other personal belongings. Unfortunately, the Japanese authorities find many deceased like this, some are devoured by the wild animals, some cannot be found at all because of the vast area of the forest. Bodies are discovered during monthly forest checks, it is not known how many suicides occur exactly as the authorities have stopped publishing these disturbing numbers to stop popularizing the forest, it is said that these numbers can vary from 50-200 monthly.

How to get to Aokigahara

For those who are brave enough to visit Aokigahara, there are plenty of ways to get there. You can choose to go in your own vehicle. It will take you 1,5 hours on a 122 km drive, apart from the gas expenses there are tolls on this route. If you wish to avoid the expensive tolls you can go on a 3-hour drive early in the morning and avoid the traffic as well.

For those who cannot rent a car, there is always public transportation. The closest stop that is actually not that close is the Kawaguchiko Station, from here you will need to walk 13 km to reach the forest. Take the Chuo Line from Tokyo to Takao for 1000 Yen, change from Chuo to Otsuki for 500 Yen. If you wish to avoid changing lines you can pay an extra 1000 yen and take a direct train with Express Kaiji.
You can also take the express bus from Shijuku in Tokyo directly to Kawaguchiko for 2000 Yen.