Aokigahara: The Haunted Sea of Trees
Aokigahara Forest is one of the most famous places in Japan, though not as a typical tourist destination but as one of the most haunted forests in the world. It is widely known as the “Sea of Trees” or the Suicide Forest.” In fact, Aokigahara earned the world’s second most popular place to take one’s life, next to Golden Bridge.
Aokigahara is at the northwest base of the iconic Mountain Fuji of Japan. It is about 12 square miles of thick trees, plants, and wildflowers. The forest is rocky, cold and has many caves. There are a few numbers of animals but the forest is known as an eerily quiet place that you’ll think no animals live there. Two of the most well-known and wonderful caves beyond this forest are the Fugaku Wind Cave and Narusawa Ice Cave. You need to traverse the forest first before you can go to these wonderful tourist destinations.
The abundant and concentrated trees in Aokigahara blocks out a lot of sunlight, this is the main reason it is called the “Sea of Trees.” Locals and tourists who visit the place used tape to prevent themselves from getting lost due to the unnerving atmosphere that the forest gives off.
The forestland was created from the erupted lava of Mountain Fuji centuries ago. As stated by some locals and tourists, compasses, smartphones, and GPS services are useless inside the forest. The magnetic content from the lava rocks causes havoc to these gadgets.
Aokigahara has a rich history of haunted stories dating back to the nineteenth century. The “Ubasute”, a term in Japanese that means allegedly abandoning elderly women to resolve the problem of famine in the past. Based on the dark history of Aokigahara, Ubasute was purportedly done in the forest. Locals claimed that the “Yurei” (disturbed souls or ghosts) initially came from the victims of the Ubasute. These days, local ghost stories are not just from the Ubasute but also from thousands of suicide victims of the Aokigahara forest.
In a filmed documentation by the Destination Truth crew in 2008, a ghost was apparently caught in their video. In the video, there was an unusual white silhouette moving behind the trees in Aokigahara forest. You can see below that the thing was moving and disappearing for a few seconds. This video was aired on SyFy cable channel on October 1, 2008.
According to statistics, the suicide rates in Aokigahara varies. This is generally because of the lushness and unusual topography of the forest, which makes it harder for authorities to find dead bodies. Nevertheless, the rate of suicide death in Aokigahara is about 100-105 deaths a year.
The history of suicide was popularized because of the 1960’s novel “Tower of Waves” written by Seicho Matsumoto. The book is about two lovers who commit suicide beneath the Aokigahara trees. As years passed by, the reputation of the Aokigahara as a Suicide Forest continually increased. In 1993, Wataru Tsurumi published his book entitled “The Complete Manual of Suicide” and called the forest as the perfect place to commit suicide. This book became a bestseller in Japan.
Today, Aokigahara remained a disturbing “Suicide Forest” in the world. The Japanese government is continually making efforts to prevent the increasing mortality rate caused by suicide. On the other hand, the haunted “Sea of Trees” lingers to scare tourists from different parts of the world, as well as the locals near the Aokigahara forest. The ghost sightings, unusual and unexplained phenomena of getting lost in the forest, and hearing spooky screams and voices will never fade. As long as the forest continues to attract death, it will breed more dead souls that will turn into a disturbed ghosts or Yurei.