Trip to Aokigahara Forest

The Suicide Forest

By Michael Ying    - 2 min read


Aokigahara Forest has an unfortunate reputation as a destination for those struggling in their lives — if this describes you, please consider talking to someone.

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I had heard the stories and seen the videos. A trailer for a mediocre looking horror movie had just come out and now, more than ever, my interest in Aokigahara had peaked. I decided to take the day trip from Tokyo down to Mt. Fuji so I could experience the eerie silence of the 'Suicide Forest' myself.

Aokigahara is an incredibly beautiful forest located near Mt. Fuji in Yamanashi. You can probably guess from its nickname that it's most famous for the amount of suicides that take place within the forest. The forest has little to no sound due to the lack of fauna. The entire base of the forest is lava rock that twists and turns throughout the main path. This beautiful backdrop is juxtaposed to an incredibly sad reputation, and I wanted to witness it for myself.

After taking the bus from Kawaguchiko station, I had finally arrived at the forest. I could immediately tell the entire forest seemed a bit out of place, because the lava base which the forest is grown on, stretches from the shore to the middle of the lake.

While I was there I was still aware of the myths surrounding the trees—that they were haunted and such—but I never once felt scared of course. In fact, the forest itself is a beauty to behold and a shame it's been associated with such tragic events. This is a walk for the nature lover in fact, as there is nothing quite like the maze of roots on the forest floor. And no, I didn't encounter any spirits, but I did bring an Omamori just in case.

All in all, this was a very worthwhile trip. Do not be deterred from the stories – Aokigahara is nature at its most beautiful.

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Michael Ying

Michael Ying @michael.ying

Originally from San Francisco, I graduated from UC Berkeley in 2011 and have been living in Tokyo since 2014. I'm currently a photographer and dancer, and spend most of my free time finding new places to eat. I love it here in Tokyo! Insta: mikemisc

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