Published on July 3rd,2011 at 9:18 AM
By >Ike

Let’s NOT visit: Aokigahara Forest

Aokigahara forest, based at Mount Fuji, is a well-known suicide destination in Japan. Referred to by the local population as “Jukai” which means “sea of trees”, a word used to describe the flourishing tree growth on the dried lava soil after Mt. Fuji last erupted in the year 864. In recent years it’s been commonly named “The Suicide Forest” by the media.

At a rate of an average 100 bodies are found every year, this haunted spot is one of the country’s most know locations for this kind of events to happen. The suicide plague has been so bad the last 10 years, that the local authorities who govern the sprawling 30 sq-km tract of woodland in the Yamanashi prefecture,  started putting signs up and deliberately stop publishing the rising number of discoveries they find. The one in the video says:

“ Your life is a precious gift from your parents. Please think about your parents, siblings and children. Don’t keep it to yourself, talk about your troubles. “

With a request below to contact the Suicide Prevention Association.

The attraction of Aokigahara is often attributed to the 1960 novel Nami no Tō (波の塔) by Seichō Matsumoto, which ends with two lovers committing suicide in the forest. This novel is still a popular trigger for modern day people to visit this lush green scenery.  Yet this dark place of stark beauty was, and actually still is, long associated with demons from Japanese mythology. Thus the appellation: “Suicide forest”.

Although the forest itself is a densely packed green sea consisting of mainly pine trees and a wealth of indigenous foliage of shrubs and mosses, it can’t seem to get rid of the grudge feeling surrounding it when you go for a hike. Commonly reported items by hikers & park officials are: liquor bottles, briefcases, clothing, beer cans, abandoned tents, prescription pills (mainly sleeping pills) and documents from former owners who sought their final resting place there.

Thoughts on the future of the forest, by Japan Times Online:

Experts are quick to point out the impact of the global financial crisis, especially since the world’s third-largest economy suffered its most severe contraction in over 30 years in 2009.

It is also believed that next year will see a further rise in suicides due to the magnitude-9 megaquake and tsunami that hit the Tohoku region of northeastern Japan on March 11. “It is likely to have a huge influence,” said Yoshinori Cho, director of the psychiatry department at Teikyo University in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, and author of a book titled “Hito wa naze Jisatsu Suru no ka” (“Why do People Commit Suicide?”)

Already there have been several suicides by relatives of disaster victims, while the long-term effects of life in evacuation shelters may also lead to depression and thus, directly or indirectly, to further suicides, Cho added.

“It’s not just regular depression, but also clinical depression due to the stress caused by the reality of their circumstances,” he said. “Depression is a huge risk factor when it comes to suicide.”

Category Offbeat
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  • keroro

    It is indeed a very sad place and should be treated with the necessary respect.
    I think it is also an important place to visit to get aware and be reminded of the social pressure many people are forced to experience here every day.

    • Ike Leus

      yes indeed, it’s a place that demands great respect. It’s strange to see the deceased almost always being people from outside the  Yamanashi prefecture. The locals regard the forest as the myths prescribed it, they are also very educational towards their children and local youth to stay away/out of the forest. On the other hand, it still is a beautiful forest.

    • keroro

      When I asked a woman in the local information office near the bus stops, she almost started to cry and denied to know anything about the wood.
      I can not say that I found this wood particularly beautiful. Small crippled trees with bizarre shapes.

  • Agustin Ross

    I think Japan does very little to deal with peoples problems. Theres not much in terms of counseling or psychological assistance/treatment.

    I have a friend who studied psychology and he said he could never find work in Japan as a psychologist since the field is non existent…

    Japan has advanced technologically and scientifically, but lags behind in the many social changes we take for granted.

  • Guilhem

    It is a beautiful forest. It has trekking trails, and quite a few people use them. When reading such stories, it is difficult to imagine that there are actually roads, businesses, even people living there, not different from any other forest. Also, you can go around it in a day, so it’s not a dangerous place in normal circumstances.

    Fun facts: It is a bit secluded, so most mobile phones don’t reach. The volcanic rocks prevent compass from working normally. Creepy, isn’t it? 😉 Of course, if it comes to that, you can just walk in a straight line until you get to a road, so no worries.

  • Kalina Ann

    i wonder if there is an urban legend about that forest. O__O i heard from my friends that the locals won’t give information about it. =__=

    • akihabaranews

      It is not an Urban legend.

  • Freddy Johansen

    Isit true that magnetic interference in the area makes a compass useless, and some people just can’t find their way out? I read that somewhere, but it may have been a different place.

  • Leulapin

    videos don t work anymore :/

  • Tom Bui

    There should be a anti-suicide squad patrolling the borders of these forest. I feel very sad for those whom chose the worst way out of life. We can only pray they are allowed peace and forgiveness at last for we know not what they went through in life.

  • Nue Nue

    Human is born with a soul n spirit, most precious to God the divine Creator of this universe..
    The devil has led many to kill themselves in the Suicide Forest. If in despair, do not self condemn but , quickly turn to the Light of God, do not enter into the darkness of Aokigahara Forest.



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