Aokigahara Jukai - Japan's Suicide Forest

Caramello KoalaCaramello Koala Acolyte
edited March 2012 in Life
Maybe you've heard about this forest already, maybe you haven't. It's located at the foot of Mt. Fuji, sharing banks with Lake Saiko (pronounced psycho), which is one of the famous Fuji Five Lakes. The forest was formed on top of lava from one of Fuji's eruptions and is known for being the second most popular location in the world to commit suicide (next to the Golden Gate Bridge). More than 500 people have done the deed there since the 1950s and the numbers are climbing dramatically; each year volunteers, forest rangers and police comb the forest in search of bodies, while looters slip in unnoticed and steal wallets. Hundreds of bodies are found by wild animals before the search patrols, and many people go missing in the forest's depths. Recently the body searches have been stopped, in an attempt to downplay the area's association with suicide, as a result the bodies are left to decay and eventually fuse with the earth. Locals have believed the forest is haunted for centuries and all the popular Japanese ghost stories and movies, such as Ringu, have been inspired by it.

Last December two friends and I visited Aokigahara forest, it was cold and wet; naturally we brought umbrellas and cameras to document our experience. I wrote a post about the trip on my blog - it contains all of the pictures and video footage we took, along with excerpts from my travel journal, which I was writing in during my stint in Japan. You will find the link below, warning: it's quite a long read, but it's worth your time in my opinion.


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