Suicide Forest Of Japan

The Aokigahara forest in Japan is known as a place where many people choose to commit suicide, but why? What is it about this place or is there something more sinister here that drives a person to do such a terrible thing.

The forest, also called the Sea of Trees, sits right along the edge of Mount Fuji, roughly a two-hour drive west of Tokyo.

At the entrance of the forest, a sign reminds visitors that “life is a precious gift” from their parents.

“Quietly think once more about your parents, siblings or children,” the sign says in Japanese. “Please don’t suffer alone, and first reach out.”

It is an eerie and quiet place, where the trees are densely populated, making a thick cover that the sunlight barely penetrates beneath the top.

Why here?

Many visitors have chosen this place as the setting for their final moments, walking in with no intention of ever walking back out. So much so that this area has the second highest rate of suicide in the world after the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

Many say they travel to the forest to commit suicide in order to not be alone.

One man, Taro bought a one-way ticket to the forest, having been fired from his job at an iron manufacturing company. He lost any sense of financial stability.

“You need money to survive,” he said.

When he got to the forest, he cut his wrists, but the wounds were not fatal. He collapsed and nearly died from dehydration, starvation and frostbite but was found by a hiker and saved.

Hanging is the number one method of suicide with self-induced poisoning and drug overdose come in second.

Those who stray from the trail sometimes encounter disquieting reminders of past tragedies: scattered personal belongings. Moss-covered shoes, photographs, briefcases, notes, and ripped clothing have all been discovered strewn across the forest floor.


In years past, Aokigahara was also believed to contain yurei, or mythological Japanese ghosts filled with anger and vengefulness.

Yurei are predominately believed to be women, because the Japanese believe that women experience deeper, stronger emotions than men and thus are more likely to become Yurei. A woman dressed in white with long black hair.

In Japan, when a person dies, their soul leaves the body and enters a kind of purgatory. When the proper funeral rites are performed, the soul can go to the ancestors and thus become a protective spirit. However, if the proper rites are not performed, or if the person dies by suicide or murder, their soul may become a Yurei.

Yurei also, possibly due to their corporeal nature, have no problem interacting with the physical world, much to their victim’s dismay.

Yurei can be incredibly dangerous. They are said to seek vengeance against those who wronged them in life, and little can be done to stop them. The Yurei will only disappear when their desire for vengeance is sated, either by the Yurei itself or by its family members. In some cases, the Yurei may haunt a lover until its passion is fulfilled.

Sometimes a Shinto or Buddhist priest may be able to exorcise the Yurei, but more often than not the spirits are unstoppable until they fulfill their desires.

The worst kind of Yurei become a curse. Their desire for vengeance is so strong that even destroying the original object of their fury cannot sate it. They will destroy anyone who enters their territory.

Aokigahara is also reportedly home to Tengu, a mythical Japanese bird demon, in addition to spirits of the human variety.

These entities might encourage the person to go through with their thoughts of ending their life.

It’s unique

The trees have grown so closely together that visitors will spend much of their time in semi-darkness. The gloom is relieved only by the occasional stream of sunlight from gaps in the treetops.

There is barely any wildlife in here, thus making it very quiet. Making it a popular destination among locals. However, this quietness hides a more macabre side of it as the Aokigahara is the number one suicide spot for Japanese.

Its quietness has attracted people to consider it haunted, and there are plenty of Japanese who would not dare to enter the forest.

The forest floor is made of volcanic rock, cooled lava from Mount Fuji’s massive 864 eruption. The stone is hard and porous, full of tiny holes that eat the noise.

But even if you are not attracted to ghost stories, the truth is, the place has a errie feeling to it.

Inside the Aokigahara Forest, you’ll find the Narusawa Ice Cave, a popular tourist attraction. This cave, which remains frozen year-round, has an average temperature of just 37.4 degrees Fahrenheit all year.

There is also The Lake Sai Bat Cave, located inside a lava tunnel, is the largest cave in Aokigahara. It is over 1268 feet long and serves as another tourist destination.

The forest is thought to be the site for numerous cases of ubasute, the practice of leaving an older or unwell person to die somewhere remote.

Call for help

The forest’s soil is rich in magnetic iron, which can disrupt cell phone service, GPS systems, and even compasses. If you get lost, you may not be able to report your emergency. If you ever go visit the forest stay on the paths.

An annual sweep

There are many deaths here but not all corpses are found in the thick forest. Maybe because the large scavenger birds get to them before they are discovered by forest workers.

Volunteers patrol the area and recover the remains of the deceased every year. Police and volunteers trek through the sea of trees to bring bodies out of the forest for a proper burial. In the early 2000s, 70 to 100 people’s remains were uncovered each year.

Numbers for recent years are unavailable, the Japanese government, fearing that the totals were encouraging others to follow in the footsteps of the deceased, stopped releasing the numbers.

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