Aokigahara is said to be one of the scariest places in the world from Japan. The forest is often a location of suicide!
Aokigahara located in the northwestern part of Mount Fuji, about 100 kilometers west of Tokyo. With an area of 30 square kilometers, the forest is quite fertile due to the outpouring of lava that came from Mount Fuji when the mountain erupted in 864.
However, it was not its beauty that made Aokigahara world famous. Instead, this forest is renowned as the most favorite place of suicide for Japanese citizens. Based on official records, 21,897 people died as a result of a death in Japan in 2016. That number is among the lowest for the past 20 years.
Looking back on history, Aokigahara is often associated with death because the area is believed to have been used to carry out ritual subacute to alienate the elderly when famine and drought-hit. Some Japanese even believe that there are spirits that roam in the forest.
The world community might have known Aokigahara as a suicide forest in 1961. At that time, Tower of Waves, a novel by Seicho Matsumoto published in 1961, contained the suicide of lovers in the Aokigahara Forest. Another book, The Complete Manual of Suicide (1993) by Wataru Tsurumi, describes Aokigahara as ‘the perfect place to die.’ The books sold millions of copies.
Some films also took Aokigahara’s popularity. There are at least two films inspired by Aokigahara’s reputation, namely Sea of Trees (2015), starring Matthew McConaughey, and the horror film The Forest, released in 2016. There are also some television shows that discuss Aokigahara in many countries.
Prevent Suicide Cases
With dense trees and almost no wild animals, Aokigahara is a quiet and gripping place filled with rocks with odd formations. In some places, there are markers and warnings containing information on anti-suicide counseling. Some tags even include an appeal to visitors to ‘contemplate the gifts of life as well as the pain you are causing for your family.’
To prevent potential suicide, the Japanese government mobilized patrol officers and installed surveillance cameras. Shop owners around the forest are also willing to volunteer to avoid death. The owner of a coffee shop at the forest entrance, for example, claimed to the Japan Times newspaper that he had foiled 160 deaths over 30 years by watching visitors come alone.
Some experts agree that loneliness is a cause of depression and suicide among adults and seniors. However, stress and financial factors also trigger death among young people. Japanese police show data that in 2010, 57% of all suicide victims carried out their actions after returning from office. Specifically, in Japan, another trigger factor is the tradition of suicide for the sake of dignity and honor. After all, there is no culture of criticism of death in Sakura.
Why do Japanese people want to kill themselves in Aokigahara?
“Many people have killed themselves in Aokigahara, so you will not die alone. That is why people want to kill themselves there because it’s like there are friends or other people who support it,” explained anthropology professor from Japan, Karen Nakamura.
Investigate a calibration, Japan entered the flat developed countries with the highest suicide rates. According to a World Health Organization (WHO) report, there are 15 suicides per 100,000 population broken down into 9 for women and 21 for men.
Top Things to Do Near Aokigahara Forest
Behind its prestige as a location for suicide, this forest has a charming place for tourist destinations. From inside the woods, we can see the peak of Mount Fuji covered with snow. Not only that, this forest has some stunning ice.
Commonly visited caves are Narusawa Cave and Fugaku Cave. Narusawa Cave is also called an ice cave because the stalactites and stalagmites there form thick ice. Not to mention, the walls and ceiling of the cave also froze. Meanwhile, Fugaku Wind Cave has a long passageway with temperatures reaching 0 degrees Celsius.
Because of this attraction, some travel agents offer trekking tours to Aokigahara!
How to Get Aokigahara
The journey from Tokyo to Aokigahara is actually quite easy but still has to go through a number of obstacles. You can take a bus from Shinjuku to Kawaguchiko Station. From there you can take a Saiko-bound bus to the Ice Cave next to the Aokigahara Forest. For more details, you can ask the station guard about the bus departure schedule.
When I asked a station clerk about the bus departure schedule to the Ice Cave, he immediately showed a worried face. The mother asked with a worried expression, whether I was traveling alone and where I came from. I answered, I was traveling with a friend, and we were travelers from the Philippines. I deliberately excited and smiled when answering his question. I have heard the story, if you tell others you will go to the Aokigahara Forest, they will forbid you and say that there are many evil spirits there.
Others say bus drivers don’t stop at the nearest station Aokigahara Forest if they see you tend to be depressive and will most likely end your life there.