The eerily quiet Aokigahara Forest calls out for lost souls. This forest, situated at the northwest base of Mount Fuji, has a long and storied history in Japanese mythology as a place of evil, demons, and paranormal activity. It’s not all ancient history, though; today, Aokigahara Forest sees more suicides per year than anywhere in the world other than the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
The forest has several nicknames, including the “Sea of Trees,” and – less flatteringly, “Suicide Forest.” Locals around the area say that people come into the forest for three reasons: hikers looking to see the splendid ice caves that dot the deep forest floor; people attracted to the stories and looking to see the carnage for themselves; and those people who do not plan to return. Suicide has become such a problem in the Aokigahara Forest that local authorizes have taken steps to curb it. There are signs throughout the forest encouraging those who have lost hope to reconsider, and security officers frequently patrol the park. The creepy Aokigahara Forest is a destination of mythological proportions.
Aokigahara Forest looks serene from above. The dense trees look up to the grand peak of Mount Fuji. Hikers should be extra careful here; large deposits of magnetic iron in the volcano’s soil are known to skew compasses, making orientation in the forest challenging. Despite the macabre lore, the Forest is a beautiful, unique hiking destination. From Tokyo, the Forest can be reached by the bullet train within a few hours.