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The Beauty of Aokigahara

A day trip to the base of Mount Fuji


Aokigahara Forest has an unfortunate reputation as a destination for those facing struggle — if this describes you, please consider talking to someone. This is not a recommended tourist destination for those seeking macabre delights.

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If you love spending time in the woods, hiking Aokigahara should be on your list of must-dos. Sitting at the base of Mount Fuji, the forest is a lush entanglement of tree branches, roots, moss, rock formations and fungi. The only forest to grow on top of lava, the spindly branches and trunks gnarl in directions against gravity. It truly is a beautiful experience that photographs do not fully capture. There is a stillness and quietness that can border on eerie. 

Overall, it is an easy hike. Paths are marked clearly. At the end of one trail you can visit the Narusawa Ice Cave (Narusawa Hyoketsu), underneath the forest. It is very inexpensive and the line moves quickly. Deemed a natural refrigerator, the cave requires a short decent down tiny stairs and through several small tunnels. Crouching and crawling are necessary, but once you arrive in the room with the ice, it is quite stunning. The ice blocks shine like crystals. Overhead lights cause a glowing effect and allow for photographs inside the cave. The cave itself is not very big, so with wait time in line, you will only spend about an hour or less for the entirety of this excursion.

There are many other things to do this area, including visiting the lakes that surround Mt. Fuji. Fishing, camping, and canoe rental.

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Find out more about Aokigahara Forest.

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