Though Aokigahara may be a gorgeous forest, it was born from grim circumstances and its outlook hasn’t gotten any more favorable since. In Japan, Aokigahara is known as suicide forest, and it’s reported that up to 100 people take their own lives in this forest every year.
Even prior to becoming known for the number of suicides that take place in it, Aokigahara was associated with Japanese mythological demons.
Aokigahara sits at the base of Mount Fuji, Japan’s highest mountain and an active volcano. The forest was formed after a long-ago eruption.
Despite its grizzly associations, this is a beautiful forest, and it’s a popular destination for hikers and tourists. For obvious reasons, visitors are warned to not wander off the hiking trails.
Another name for Aokigahara is Kuroi Jakai, which means black sea of trees. Kuroi Jakai is also the name of a novel that was published in the 1960’s about a young couple who commits suicide in Aokigahara.
The most common suicide method in Aokigahara is hanging.
Since the 1970’s it has been necessary for local police to conduct annual searches of the forest to remove bodies.
However, the forest is 14 square miles and thick with vegetation. Not everyone is found.
In order to try and dissuade suicides, the government has stopped confirming the number of suicides in the forest each year. There are also signs throughout the forest urging people to seek mental help.