My Journey Into Aokigahara Jukai (青木ヶ原 樹海) – The Suicide Forest

aokigahara suicide forestDisclaimer: Firstly, there are a lot of images and videos in this post, so I had to break it up into 10 pages to save loading time – you will see the page numbers on the bottom just before the comments section. Secondly, everything written below actually happened, nothing is fabricated.

Lastly, and most importantly, if you’ve happened upon this post and you live in Japan, keep an eye out for your close friends and talk to them if you think they might be having suicidal thoughts; here is a very helpful pdf which details the warning signs of someone who may be suicidal: Suicide First Aid Guidelines For Japan. Also, if you are having suicidal thoughts yourself, try to stay positive and remember that your pain is only temporary once you realise that others can help you – there is help out there. Please talk to your friends and loved ones, if there is nobody who you can trust, please visit the Tokyo Counselling website or the Japan Counseling directory and find a professional to talk to. Life is worth living, if you give it another chance, you might realise that too.

“Meaninglessness inhibits fullness of life and is therefore the equivalent to illness. Meaning makes a great many things endurable – perhaps everything.” - C.G Jung

Contents

  • Page 1 - Aokigahara and paranormal activity (the page you’re reading).
  • Page 2 - Point of no return – Departing for Aokigahara.
  • Page 3 - Caves and graves.
  • Page 4 - Thoughts on suicide.
  • Page 5 - An omen?
  • Page 6 - Splitting up and getting lost. Spooky occurrences in the forest.
  • Page 7 - Night falls – Escaping Aokigahara.
  • Page 8 - Photos: Morning (Group still together).
  • Page 9 - Photos: Afternoon (Group split up).
  • Page 10 - Photos: Night (Trying to find our way out of the forest).

aokigahara mt fujiAokigahara Forest, which is located at the foot of Mt Fuji in Japan, is one of those places that few wish to visit. Most people who do enter the 35 km2 forest never return due to its reputation for having the second highest suicide rate in the world (first place goes to San Fransisco’s Golden Gate Bridge). An average of 70-100 bodies are found there every year, and many are left undiscovered. The forest was created when Mt. Fuji – an active volcano – erupted 1,200 years ago and the trees emerged on top of the dried lava. The forest is known by many names: Aokigahara (青木ヶ原), Jukai (樹海) which translates in English as The Sea of Trees), Suicide Forest, the Cursed Forest, the Black Forest, and finally the locals I asked in Japan called it ‘NOOO, don’t go there!’ while they made the shape of an X with their arms. Sadly, the forest has long been associated with death and evil spirits (even before it became a popular place for suicide) as ubasute is believed to have been practiced in its woody depths, which is an old Japanese tradition where the elderly and sick are carried up a mountain or into a forest and left to die – sort of like the story of Hansel and Gretel, except with old people.

aokigahara_fuji_view

If you’ve ever seen The Ring, then you are already familiar with the spooky girl in white rags who scares people to death. She wasn’t a character created specifically for the movie, but actually a century old archetypal image of what an unrested Japanese spirit is reported to look like. These spirits (called Yūrei) are said to haunt Aokigahara forest in large numbers, particularly between the hours of 2 and 3 am: Japan’s ‘witching hour’ – when the veil between the physical world and the spiritual world is at its thinnest. The Japanese strongly believe that if a person dies in a sudden, unnatural or violent manner (such as suicide) then their spirit will turn into a Yūrei. They also believe that if the body is not properly buried, or if the person died with strong negative feelings such as depression or rage, then the spirit will also turn into a Yūrei. For people committing suicide in Aokigahara forest most fit all three criteria: I imagine that someone who wanted to stop living would have died full of rage for the society that gave them so little. Also, many of the bodies are never found and sometimes even gobbled up by wild animals, in other words they’re not given the proper burial they deserve, and there’s no denying they all died unnaturally and or violently.

Yurei

These ghosts (or demons) are believed to linger around the forest indefinitely and wish to inflict misery on those who enter their turf. Forest rangers, who are faced with the grueling task of searching the forest’s depths and retrieving bodies, have reported hearing high pitched screams and wailing in the otherwise eerily silent forest. It is also said that curses (black magic) have been put on the trees by some of those who have chosen to end their lives – maybe as a final ‘fuck you’ to the world they saw as their prison. Spiritualists believe that the trees themselves are filled with a dark energy from all the death and depression they have absorbed from the volcanic earth it sleeps on.

aokigahara mt fuji

I don’t have any desire to try and sensationalise my experience in Aokigahara, even though it may seem like it to some. I actually had no intention of writing this piece; this was an afterthought as I felt I had to get the experience off my chest. In all honesty I thought the forest was strange and fascinating, and not just because of its dark history. Everything was mossy and (ironically) full of life, it was also very quiet – at times this was creepy, but at others it was very peaceful. The forest is full of paradox and contrast. It is also physically very different to most forests; it is almost alien. For example, a lot of the trees were rooted above ground and looked as though they would start walking at any minute, while holes and crevices littered the forest floor and allowed its deep underground some air to breathe. Finally, the locals don’t call it the Sea of Green for nothing; the forest was mesmerisingly green, it was very beautiful, especially when you consider the emotions (good and bad) it could evoke in you at any random moment. Now, before I begin telling the story of my unforgettable experience in Aokigahara Forest, I will first point you towards an excellent 20 minute documentary, which shows a Japanese forest ranger detailing his own experience with the forest.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FDSdg09df8

You can also watch the documentary in higher quality here. Once you are done with the incredibly moving documentary above, have a quick break and click next page to read on.

Also, just in case you’re curious, here is Josh’s blog, and here’s David’s blog. These were my travel companions for the trip.

Page Two

190 thoughts on “My Journey Into Aokigahara Jukai (青木ヶ原 樹海) – The Suicide Forest

  1. Yeah, even over the computer, the atmosphere definitely comes across, especially with the suspended umbrella, the mist thing that shouldn’t be there, and the orbs. And I don’t believe in any of that stuff, yet there it is. Also, the forest getting dark really looks ominous. I’m glad you got out ok! It looks like it would be easy to get lost there.

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    • Haha yes, you took the words right out of me! I don’t really believe in orbs and all that stuff either, but there it is! Heaps of really thick white orbs and blobs of mist where there was nothing but still and crisp mountain air. Yes the forest getting dark is scary for sure, and that was only at 4 30 pm! I wouldn’t stay the night there for all the money in the world… Thanks for the comment, yes it’s very easy to get lost in there. We were walking for hours and hours and yet I don’t think we even got that deep in the forest, it’s VERY difficult to navigate in!

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      • I admire your work and your unbiased facts! You really brought quite a bit of groundbreaking information to the world wide inter-web :) Truly admirable research, experiences, and interviews shared in this amazing documentary! Glad I clicked on the link! Thank you for all that you shared!

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      • Thanks Shannon, it’s always nice to have your work admired by somebody else :) The experience has inspired me to pursue continued research into suicide and hopefully one day promote social change in Japan. Luckily for me I was already studying psychology before this trip, so this dream of mine can’t be too far out of reach! I’ve also taken up Japanese classes, and plan to visit once a year to fully assimilate their language and culture: it really is an amazing country! One of these days, when I’m older and more mature, I’ll go back to the forest, and then you can look forward to another clump of research to sink your teeth into :P

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    • I am currently writing a paper on the Aokigahara forest for my Psychology of Death and Dying class, and I am fascinated by your post. Having seen the Vice documentary before, the forest seems like a such a beautiful and peaceful place, and I can understand how it would seem the perfect place to end your life. I was unaware of how the locals feel about the forest until reading your information though! To me, it didn’t seem a place of fear, just so much sadness. Thank you for sharing this, and for the links, as I have had trouble finding outside information other than the Vice video.

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  2. Hi! Thanks for getting commenting on my own Aokigahara post. Yours was excellent and I wish I had spent more time exploring it. Watching your footage and seeing the pictures gave me shivers, it’s a haunting place, in all senses- so much beauty yet so much sadness. I still think about it a lot and want to go back soon and stay a bit longer, and be more organized about it. You’ve done an amazing job documenting it.

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  3. Amazing! Thanks for your comments about my blog, this is truly brilliant though, can’t imagine what it must have felt like there – especially as it was getting dark! I think this is a piece I will revisit a few times, consider it bookmarked! :)

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    • It was terrifying at some points, however there were also times when it was actually very peaceful. The forest getting dark wasn’t one of them! Thanks for commenting, I have a lot more pictures and videos so I will be updating this from time to time :)

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  4. Very interesting post! That is definitely a creepy place. I might visit there should I ever go to Japan. Might see about bringing a thermal cam with me along with a good photo and vid camera haha

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  5. Great post! I don’t think I would be able to sleep if I went there. It is on my list of interesting places to go to. Athought I have been to Mt. Fuji I have never made my way to Aokigahara…It just creeps me the hell out.

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    • Thanks! I was so bloody exhausted when I got back that I slept like a log. I’ve been thinking about the forest ever since that day though, those are the sort of memories that stay with you a while! Mt. Fuji is beautiful though, and you can get a nice view of the forest without actually going inside… Did you hike Fuji?

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    • I do much worse in haunted houses… But I enjoy hiking through forests, so there were moments when I forgot I was walking on a graveyard. My imagination is like an active volcano though, so those moments were rare! Thanks for stopping by :)

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  6. Your pictures are great! And the one with the plastic umbrella and the mist thing is really interesting…hmmm. Thanks for sharing your experiences and I can’t wait to see more pics.

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  7. Thanks for your comment over at my own blog. After learning about the forest through a Cracked article, I started doing obsessive amounts of research. I wanted to know everything. I wanted to see every picture. Everyone I’ve talked to about this thinks I’m fucking crazy because it truly calls to me. I’ve always been interested in the intricacies of suicide; about someones motivations for wanting to end their life, about the state of their mind when they decide that it’s their only option. I think it’s in part because most societies around the world stigmatize suicide and the people who talk about it. They push the idea to the back of their minds. No one wants to talk about it. You saw that for yourself when you talked to the locals about the forest. For me, it’s a real issue. I push for awareness because most of the people who decide to commit suicide probably could have been helped if they’d had a safe environment to open up about their troubles.

    I commend you guys for having the courage and drive to visit this place and document your journey. I want to say that I enjoyed your article but that’s not really the right word. So I’ll just say that you solidified my beliefs that society needs to open up about suicide. We need to encourage conversation about it to raise awareness instead of just pretending it doesn’t happen. In the article you mentioned that you might return one day for journalistic purposes. Let me strongly encourage you to follow up on that idea. You’ve got some serious talent and you’re brave enough to cover a difficult issue like suicide.

    And if you ever go back, take me with you. I’ve wanted to experience this firsthand ever since I started researching.

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    • Thanks for your encouraging comment, it’s nice to know there are people out there who want to better understand people’s motives for committing suicide. It’s really sad that someone would want to commit suicide. ‘However’, like you said, society stigmatises it so much that it causes even more tension in the minds of people with depression, and their families. It’s really their choice, I mean we seem to have no problem with the idea of euthanasia, just because someone is old and are about to die it is O.K for them to kill them self, but if someone is young and full of pain, it’s not? It’s a double standard. I don’t know from personal experience, but I would bet that a suicidal person suffers infinitely times more than someone who is simply old and bed ridden.

      Ideally we should drop the stigma, and and instead encourage an open forum where people can discuss these things without being viewed as sick in the head. Maybe then people will stop seeing suicide as their only alternative; if we treat the subject with more humanity and openness, and learn to become more accepting of people’s thoughts and states of mind, then at the very least everyone will have one less reason to end their life.

      I’m glad you got something out of article, seeing the forest definitely opened my eyes. But in reality, Aokigahara is a grain of sand in the beach, considering about 100 people commit suicide a ‘day’ in Japan, which is about how many are found in the forest every year. If you zoom out and look at the whole planet, Aokigahara is a mere fart in the wind: apparently 1 million people complete the act in the world every year, and for every one person that kills themselves, 20 attempt it. Think about it, every 40 seconds a person kills themself. There’s a lyric in The Beatles song ‘Strawberry Fields Forever that I think is fitting here ‘Living is easy with eyes closed”. We close our eyes to suicide, it happens in ridiculous numbers and yet here we are feeling depressed about our own life rather than grateful for having one.

      Talking about Aokigahara is a great way to get people thinking about suicide as a problem in our world. This is because people are naturally drawn to strange and dark places like this; we have a fascination with ghosts and death and being scared. If more people learn about Aokigahara, and if more people become open about suicide as a result from learning about this place, then that is a real miracle right there. Something good can always come out of something bad.

      Anyway, thanks again for your comment. I plan on returning to Japan either late this year or mid next year as I love to country to pieces; it’s so amazing! But I am not sure when I will revisit Aokigahara, I might never go back. I simply don’t know right now. But if I ever do go back, and if I remember, I’ll let you know.

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  8. Hello–
    Thanks for your comment on my brief Aokigahara post! This is fascinating reading, and I think you’re quite brave to have explored that forest. Interesting that the locals are so opposed to the idea–that alone would’ve scared me away, I think. Anyway, I’ve added a link to this post on my original one, in case anyone finds my old post and would like further and more detailed reading. Happy traveling–hope you go somewhere more cheerful next time. :)

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    • Hey, thanks for YOUR comment! I’m glad you enjoyed it; it was great to finally get the whole experience off my chest! I’m not gonna lie, I was shit scared. But it was something I felt I needed to do, and it was also an unforgettable experience that I would recommend to nobody :P Thanks for the link! Oh don’t worry about that, a few days after Aokigahara I went to Harajuku park and bought a big crepe. I think I deserved it…

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  9. Quick update: I’ve added a bunch of new pictures/scans and 6 or 7 new videos. In my opinion, the new videos really capture Aokigahara’s atmosphere; watching them actually catapults me back into the forest. The new footage is mostly taken from David’s iPhone 4 and allows you glimpses of what we saw on the day, including a suicide spot, the strange hanging sticks, and general exploring.

    Also, to make it easier to navigate through and find the videos on YouTube, I have renamed them all to include ‘Aokigahara Video Diary’ as a prefix. If you search that in YouTube, all the videos will appear. This way you don’t have to skim through the whole post just to see the new footage. The new videos are Video Diarys 1, 3, 4, 7, 8 and 9. Enjoy!

    http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=aokigahara+video+diary&search_filter=0

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    • i’m just surfing in facebook when I read about aokigahara forest. I found your blog and i read it. Dude, the place and how you described it scared the hell out of me. I wan’t to go to japan and see the place personally. oh well, i’m just 16 year old Teengirl and curious about it :D

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      • nevermind your age! if you want to go, then go! I found out about it when I was 18 and became totally fascinated. then I lived in Japan for a little under six months and went during that time. totally, absolutely worth it ;D

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    • Haha yep, not necessarily a good thing though! I saw your pictures of Fuji’s summit; unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to hike the mother – even though I really wanted to – because it was winter and apparently very dangerous… But your pictures are great!

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  10. Amazing… I was on a website called listverse (http://listverse.com/2012/02/28/top-10-strange-and-unique-forests/) and came across Aokigahara which compelled me to do some more research on this place. After reading your post and the descriptions you gave, I would really like to experience that eerie peacefulness of Aokigahara. I am amazed at how you didn’t manage to get lost. Perhaps, one day when I have the time and cash, I will carefully plan my trip to Aokigahara. Thanks for this wonderful post!

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    • I too am amazed at how I didn’t get lost; I’m hopeless with directions in cities, yet alone forests! I once did an orienteering exercise at school camp – we had to find a point on the map using only a compass to get us there – I got so lost it’s not even funny! I have David to thank for not getting lost, he had a pretty good system (remembering the coloured ribbons we followed) and I added to it by placing an umbrella and a few sticks here and there. We still almost got lost despite our strategy, there were times when we forgot which way we were walking and had to follow our gut until we realised we were backtracking! Next time I might leave breadcrumbs…

      You don’t need much cash to visit Aokigahara, tickets to Japan were cheap (at least for me: I live in Australia) but actually getting to the forest from Toyo cost me about 50 or 60 bucks for the train/bus tickets and accommodation for the night. And you definitely don’t need to plan anything, just go and see what happens. That’s what we did anyway, and it worked out pretty well I think… Thanks for the comment!

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  11. So if I went there, since Ive wanted to go for a few years now,..do you think if I took a tiny little rock from the forest floor, that I might have trouble spirit trouble. So far this is the best info site about this place, you guys are awesome. I will likely go there solo this year and honestly,. I want to camp just to say I did and gather EVP recordings. The few times Ive done it I have gotten totally clear, as if someone is talking next to me who isn’t there, class A EVPs. This would be a great hot spot for that…yes..no? Anyway, Great job guys! I’m jelous. I can get there by August.

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    • Maybe… I don’t know. I wouldn’t take anything from the forest personally, but the consequences of doing so would really depend on your level of superstition.

      Thanks! I appreciate it a lot. When I first found out about the forest I was surprised at the lack of anything on the internet about it, besides all the ‘top ten scariest places’ lists of course. I figured I may as well let others know about my experience so that others (such as yourself) interested in going would have more information about the place than what was already available.

      Haha! I wish you lots of luck if that’s what you want to do, I certainly don’t have the balls to camp the night there – even though I love camping – locals mentioned seeing spirits in there late at night and I found it spooky enough in the day time. I also saw/felt what it was like in there at night, and I’m telling you it was terrifying.

      I don’t know much about EVP, but I imagine that if you did hear voices in that forest, they would be in Japanese, so you might not understand anything being said. The forest is certainly very haunted, so it just might be the place you’re looking for! Thanks for the comment, and good luck on your own Aokigahara trip; be sure to tell me about it!

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      • Thanx for commenting so quickly, I am curious as to hear what any Japanese spirit has to say. The best evp I got told me very clearly and loud ” Get the Fuck out of my house you Fuckin freak”! I stayed at my girls house for 2 weeks after that, then moved when it did it again. This happened in Lucerne Vally Ca. Again, thanx!

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      • Okay I got a chance to finish. Great job putting this all together. It definitely came across as creepy. For some reason the dog kennel struck me as the weirdest of all. Like, what was that doing in there? I saw a couch in the middle of the woods one time and had the same feeling. You know something strange had to have been going on at some point.

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  12. It’s quite an interesting comparison. The Japanese see Mt Fuji as a sacred mountain, Aborigines see Ayers Rock as a sacred place. The Mayan had similar views. The NZ Maoris were no different. Dependant on which area they were, there would be a local mountain they saw as sacred. Many other cultures world wide had this same philosophy , color of skin was no barrier to this practice. Some Maori tribes of the past use to lower their dead into holes or caves within the mountain which was usually a dormant volcano. It was apparently an honour to be buried with ancestors, and on their mountain.
    How Aborigine & other cultures worked back then, I’m unsure of but living in NZ I kinda know some of the history here. (I kinda like local history & culture & language comparisons are just awesome.)
    I realise most of the Aokigahara forest suicides were … well…depression fueled suicides, Could it be possible some of them saw it as an honourable place to die?

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    • You’ve raised a lot of very interesting points! It’s nice to see a fresh perspective on the matter! Yes, you’re right on; there are a lot of cases in different cultures and societies where mountains are seen as sacred or holy. Some that first spring to mind would be Mt Olympus in Greece, Machu Pichi in Peru, and the Himalayas in Nepal. At this very moment people are making pilgrimages to many of these mountains. I have recently made a trip to one of these holy mountains; it was an active volcano in East Java, Indonesia, called Mt. Bromo. The Hindus in that region believe the volcano to be a physical manifestation of Brahma, their creator God. I’m not religious so I can’t say whether I believe that or not, but hundreds of people climbed it’s peak and threw offerings into it’s bubbly pit.

      There’s also Mt. Kailash in Tibet, which is so sacred it is illegal to climb. The Hindu’s believe that Shiva, one of the Gods in their trinity, meditates on its peak, and that “only a man entirely free of sin could climb [it]. And he wouldn’t have to actually scale the sheer walls of ice to do it – he’d just turn himself into a bird and fly to the summit.” And then there’s the mountain Arunachala, which is considered to be Shiva himself.

      And finally there’s Fuji, who is extremely sacred in Japan. This could be due to the fact that 80% of Japan’s countryside is mountainous, and in history there has always been a distinction between mountains and plains, as plains are where the people worked, and mountains were big and mysterious structures which had no connection to the human world, but were rather obelisks of nature. The Japanese Shinto religion also would have played a part in this, as their mythology is largely based on shamanistic beliefs of nature, which is basically that every object of nature, be it rocks, trees, volcanos, or mountains, contains Kami – spirits which have a powerful influence over humans.

      You bring up a valid point, and one that seems to be overlooked. I imagine that if you were really depressed and wanted to die, anywhere would do, you wouldn’t get the bus all the way to Aokigahara to do it. There must be different reasons for going, and it’s got to do with a difference in the way Japan, and the West treat suicide. I assume there are five main reasons people go to Aokigahara to kill themselves. 1: to die on the foot of Mt. Fuji, as it is a sacred mountain. 2: to die in complete silence, and amidst nature as opposed to city/ man. Maybe also to not burden anyone with the sight/removal of his or her corpse. 3: cos it’s the ‘thing to do’; it was written as the ‘perfect place to die’ in that hit novel in Japan (I forgot the name), Japanese are very impressionable. 4: it’s a place to go if you are having second thoughts: you can camp the night and see if you don’t change your mind, best case scenario, you get to take a little vacation from your troubles and you get to see Mt. Fuji. 5: as you said, because there is, in Japan anyway, a sense of honour in suicide.

      Maybe they go for a mixture of all of these reasons. Who really knows why they want to kill themselves, and their reasoning for it. A lot of the locals believe that the forest ‘pulls’ you in to committing the act, so there is a lot of spirituality and mysticism surrounding it. This is interesting, as the Japanese don’t believe in psychology; they think that admitting mental anguish is a sign of weakness, and therefore a lot of Japanese believe suicide is a result of spirits rather than psychological distress. Perhaps suicide, to them, is more honorable than admitting defeat, or mental illness? I know Japan has a rich history of suicide, and it has long been linked to honour; such as the way of the samurai, or the kamikaze soldiers in WW2.

      Lawl, this was a much longer reply than I intended, but you got me thinking! Damn you! In short (TLDR) I think that honour must definitely play a part in the suicide rates, to a degree. But I think that depression must be the catalyst for doing so. The samurai only killed themselves if they lost in battle, not if they won, or were winning. Similarly, one would need to be losing a mental battle before you would even consider suicide as an option. So perhaps the Japanese see committing suicide as an honourable alternative to seeking help, or talking about their feelings, but don’t see the act in isolation as being honourable. In fact, I think it’s something they would feel great shame by. I certainly got that feeling when I talked to Japanese people about it.

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  13. I guess it’s kinda hard for some of us to perceive suicide as an alternative to honor. We tend to have the idea if we fall off the horse of life, we get right back on ride it again. However! With that being said I realise it’s always been part of Japans history. The Kamikaze were a good example of this. That was for honor and country.
    Our idea of suicide is to give up on life in general. Not just to hurt ourselves, but to hurt those who hurt us. These Aokigahara suicide victims seem to be doing it without selfish means. They’re doing it discreetly. That in itself is kinda weird. But hey each culture to it’s own, I say.
    Anymore creepy places in Japan dude?

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    • There was no ‘tour bus’, just a bus that made all the stops around the Fuji Five Lakes area. Lake Saiko happened to be one of the stops, which happens to be where the forest is located. The bus was empty and yet it still does it’s daily rounds, it’s not like it was full of toursists and dropped us right out front of the forest entrance.

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  14. Great post – I was captivated. Thanks for writing it. I saw the haunting 20-min documentary you referenced, which led me to Google “Aokigahara,” which led me to this blog post. You’re an excellent writer, and you really give the place a voice.

    This is a morbid thing to say, but speaking as someone who has stood on the cliff of suicide, I can see the appeal of going somewhere where hundreds of people had also chosen to end their lives. I guess it would make it seem not as lonely or not as freakish, to know that you weren’t the only one who had come to that point of total despair. I had always thought I’d check into a fancy hotel somewhere and do it, but this place makes more sense – dust to dust and all that. At least you’d be contributing to the circle of life instead of leaving a mess in some hotel room for someone to clean up. I’m not in that mindset anymore, but it alarms me a little how much I can understand the people who chose this place as their last stop. You just reach a point where you realize you’re always going to be alone, that your life is never going to amount to more than working one dismal job after the next, just getting by, trying to pay bills, never really going to be anything great, never really going to make a connection with anyone who understands you — you go to bed every night alone and you wake up every morning alone and the only people who call you are bill collectors and you can’t see a way out and you feel like you’re just sort of waiting to die anyway so finally you decide you just want to do one proactive thing and make it stop on your own. But it’s still heart-wrenchingly lonely. So yeah, going to a place where other people felt just as lonely — maybe some people will get there and, by just being there, realize they’re not so alone after all. Too bad they can’t build a clubhouse there or something. All the lonely, hopeless people — we could all hang out and not be alone anymore.

    Anyway.

    Here in the States, we now have people who are trained to watch the Golden Gate Bridge to spot and prevent jumpers. That’s all they do all day – watch the bridge for jumpers. It sounds like this forest needs more suicide prevention rangers. Bah — it’s heartbreaking.

    When I watched that documentary, that guy Azusa Hayano really touched me. You could tell he was exactly where he was supposed to be, doing what he was supposed to do. It seemed like he cared about every single person who died in that forest. God bless him.

    I wish all those souls peace.

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    • Thank you so much for your comment. I think everyone has at one stage in their life contemplated what life would be like if it just stopped, I would never have the heart to press the stop button but I can understand why someone would want to make that decision.

      My brother attempted to commit suicide. He swallowed a whole bottle of valium and lay in his bed. He survived, thank God… woke up in the hospital and was given a second chance at life, which he is very grateful for I think. Afterwards I asked him what it was like knowing he was about to die, he told me that the feeling was powerful and hard to put to words, basically he went from feeling total despair and anguish to relief that it was all finally going to end. He stopped worrying, and felt as though he was just getting high. He said he closed his eyes and was in the desert, in his favourite car (can’t recall the model) and he could smell the leather and feel the steering wheel and was completely there, and then he woke up on a hospital bed – sort of like he had only woken up from a dream.

      Suicides a sad thing, but at the same time when you’re dead there is no room for sadness or happiness, so it is only us who will be sad after someone has chosen to end their life. It’s a strange thing really, thinking about the value of a human life. I believe all people should avoid suicide if they can, if you become that depressed as to kill yourself then you would be better off making drastic changes in your life, or at the very least you should attempt to make peace/do the things you wish you could do but never did, before you go through with the plan. You are given consciousness and a body to make the most of it.

      I’m happy that you are no longer thinking suicidal thoughts, it’s a bad place to be and I don’t wish anyone to linger there.

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      • i think im in love with ur comment. wow!! ” do things u wish u could do but never did , before u go through with the plan”. smart!!

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  15. I’ve been looking for interesting stuff about Aokigahara for long. I thank you for this diary. I was wondering if you happened to collect information about the forest? Like mythology, History, stories of all sort… Maybe one of the Suicide Manual or Tower of Wave, while in Japan?

    I’m fascinated by the forest and I aspire to become a writer – currently studying that field – and Aokigahara seems like the perfect place to create a story in. Point is: there’s no valuable documents on the net and the books mentionning it aren’t available anymore.

    Anyway, thank you for this awesome blog entry.

    Like

    • No problem man! I wrote this mainly to get it off my chest, but also cos I knew there were people out there who would benefit from reading it, or be entertained by it. I collected bits and pieces; I have already mentioned most of the history I have learnt in the post. I did hear a lot about some suicide manual that apparently gets found on some of the bodies in the forest, I’m not sure what it’s called or who it’s written by, but it supposedly lists methods of commiting suicide and ranks them in order of pain factor and ease of doing. He says in the book, apparently, that Aokigahara is the best place to die. Not sure how many lives the author must have had in order to write the book!

      Good to hear you want to be a writer – me too! *high five* If you want to write a story about Aokigahara then you don’t need facts and history, that’s dry and boring and isn’t even important. What’s important is ‘your’ story, not second hand stories filtered through the eyes and ears of others, and then filtered yet again through your own. All the ‘factual’ history about the forest exists on the internet already, within easy reach, everything else is merely speculation.

      You can’t prove that black magic exists, for example, unless you witness it first hand… and even then, there is no way to prove that black magic actually takes place in that forest, even though many people swear it does. All you need is a plane ticket to Japan so you can experience the place first hand, being in the forest’s presence will give you more inspiration for writing than any thing you can read on the net. It will make the story more honest, easier to write, and more enjoyable to read.

      Like

      • Thanks for that quick reply, dude. So, how much time did you journey in Japan? How much did it cost? Well, don’t reply if that’s personal.

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      • I was in Japan for 5 weeks, and probably spent about 2 thousand not including airfares. A lot of people say Japan is expensive but that is only half true – you can stay at expensive, fancy hotels if you like, but then it is you who are making Japan expensive, not the other way around. Where I live (Australia) is more expensive than Japan in terms of food, drinks, cigarettes, and accommodation. Lots of budget accommodation (hostels/guesthouses) are literally sprawled across Tokyo. I stayed in the Mt. Fuji/Aokigahara area for about 3 or 4 nights, I can’t remember. Probably spent no more than a couple hundred bucks for that experience.

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  16. I just came across the VICE documentary, which led me down the rabbit hole of looking up more about this place, and stumbled across your blog. Wonderful blog post; as somebody interested in the mythological/superstitious aspects of this place, as well as the whole tangled mess of social issues surrounding suicide, you have a very good storytelling voice that is both inquisitive and sensitive. I’ve been to the Hakone/Fuji area, and visited the lake regions, but I am glad I didn’t know about this place until now; I think it would have bothered me/preoccupied my thoughts while visiting.

    anyway, not much to say other than thank you for the read; as another reader put it, “enjoyable” sounds wrong, but I think you put a human face on exploring the forest that we all imagine ourselves doing in reading all these articles/ watching these documentaries.

    The whole issue is so very profoundly sad, and yet something about it def piques our (morbid) curiosity. The idea of spirits and whatnot is also very powerful (Japanese mythology being quite incredible as it is, this place HAS to have some sort of effect from so many deaths)

    Like

    • Hey Daisy, thanks for taking the time to leave a comment! I certainly tried to bring as much of myself into the story as possible, to make it personal and therefore relatable to other human readers such as yourself :P I think people are naturally fascinated with death as it is an inevitable part of the universe and everything contained within it; we are all connected by the thread of time, and the finite nature of our bodies.

      I also believe that magic and superstition and all that jazz, especially resonates within us as it is all a part of the unknowable – something we are all very curious about. We are a rational species and want to know the answer to everything, but there are things that are just outside of our ability to know, and so we have a intuitive understanding that everything that we think is real and possible, may not be. In other words, we (want to) believe in things that simply don’t exist on our plane of consciousness. I think that the fact that every night we enter altered states of consciousness that appear to be real at the time plays a large part in this.

      I’ve been told that spirits coexist with us on this planet, but on a dimension or plane of consciousness different to ours. I don’t know what to believe. What happens when you die? Surely your consciousness doesn’t float up into ‘heaven’ or ‘hell’, as neither place could exist, considering that good and evil would surely dissipate when there is no longer any ego to distinguish the two. Even amongst the living, the perception of what is good and what is bad is as varied in number as there are people alive to perceive it. But despite all of this it is impossible to know, so we are very curious what happens when a person dies, and so we are fixated on death. That last sentence is only as morbid as you make it, but it is still true!

      Like

  17. Oh! Just remembered something…

    while in japan, I visited the fushimi inari shrine/forest outside Kyoto

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fushimi_Inari-taisha

    Def another forest that reeks of magic. I swear, magical and creepy all at once. I was there around dusk, and the place was empty. Just miles and miles of torii gates and quiet forest, with the occasional glen with a small shrine in it. If something weird had happened, it would have been totally expected. If you ever return to Japan, I highly recommend it (and for a more “positive” magical forest experience) : )

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    • Wandered off the trails too, didja? I loved seeing the abandoned torii cast off on the side, and my knowledge about Shinto means that it implies a mixing of the sacred and profane (not my actual belief, but what Japanese folk religion postulates). I’m not sure whether it’s actually true, but I definitely know the feeling you’re talking about…

      Have you tried walking through the tunnels of gates at night? They’re incredibly creepy, but in an amazing way.

      And then it’s totally weird when you realise you’re still in the middle of Kyoto, one of Japan’s biggest cities.

      Like

      • ha ha! yeah amy, I was there like, an hour before dusk during late summer, so as I was finding my way out, the light was fading fast and it was SUCH a mixture of spooky /magic and “OMG, gotta get out of here and find my way back to the front!”

        You can totally see where Miyazaki gets his inspiration from :) The little glens with the shrines were so beautiful as well; just tons of little fox statues and incense and flowers…

        I don’t think I’ve ever experienced another place quite like it!

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  18. I stumbed across your blog whilst surfing for info relating to the complete manual of suicide by Wataru Tsurumi, loved your recount of your experience! Great pictures and gave me tingles to imagine your experience!

    Like

  19. I’d just like to point out, your videos are not in fact devoid of birdsong as you suggest, several times I clearly heard a door-hinge like song. Looking it up I fond that it is the classic song of a Japanese Bush Warbler. I think most of the people that claim there is no sound in that forest must be city dwellers who are used to the sound of people and traffic, but as someone that grew up in the forests of the deep-south in the U.S. I heard all the usual forest sounds. It looks like a lovely place to visit, such a shame it’s full of so much litter. I’ve seen a couple of tv specials where “ghost hunters” visit Aokigahara the only effect these had on me was disgust at all the hype and to impress me with what utter boobs these investigators were.

    That said your photographs were absolutely lovely and I don’t think you over-hyped the experience at all, I deeply respect that you didn’t try and turn this lovely forest into anything it wasn’t. It creeped you out because you felt lost and because people had died there, and those facts left you shaken. You took photographs, some of them turned out weird, and when they did you took more to try and get better pictures. The umbrella one looks like a thumb was just being moved out of the way as the button was being pressed, leaving an after image, the fog was a little creepy but then caves are like that.

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    • Thank you for your thoughtful comment, it’s nice to hear from someone who doesn’t let the forests stigma cloud their perception of it. I don’t doubt there were birds in that forest, I didn’t hear any but my mind was elsewhere so you can appreciate that I wasn’t exactly tuned in to it. It was definitely a lot quieter than other forests I’ve been in, but that’s just nature – nothing to do with ghosts or anything like that.

      I did feel bad vibrations in some of the grave sites and caves and that I will stand by, it was as blatant as when you are swimming in the ocean and you pass a warm spot; your whole body becomes instantly aware of a change in the environment. The Japanese people I spoke with in the area strongly believed that the forest is filled with a dark energy, which no doubt has accumulated from all of the suicides, but it is very sad how hyped up most of it is on those TV shows you mentioned.

      Some of the photos were a bit strange but that could be anything so I don’t want I jump to any conclusions… two people seeing them will have three different opinions on what they are – like most things in life – so it’s best to let others come to their own conclusion. I wasn’t trying to take scary pictures, and I didn’t even stop to look at them as I was taking them – I was just taking it all in as it was happening… the forest had an enormous presence: very beautiful and photogenic.

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  20. Oh Great….
    Yaar(friend) u r such a brave man who visited that forest and i also want to go there because i love to visit haunted places
    and pics were superb

    Like

  21. What would have happened if you did stumble across a body (even if it was just bones). Was there a number to call to report something like that? Or do people just leave them out there? I always wonder when I see photos of dead people found if they are just left out there because people don’t want to deal with it.

    Like

    • There are signs everywhere with numbers to call, and there are locals in the town nearby you could possibly alert. But then again there was zero phone reception, and I didn’t speak much japanese – it would be difficult getting anybody to come into the forest with you in the first place (no one wants to go inside), yet alone with the language barrier, and I seriously doubt I’d be able to navigate my way back to a body if I found one. I’m lucky I didn’t encounter a body, because if I did, considering the circumstances I would’ve had to walk away. They’ve pretty much stopped combing the forest with patrol in an attempt to downplay the forests reputation, this means the bodies are piling up and no one wants to do anything about it.

      Like

  22. Thank you for sharing your experience, it was fascinating to read! I could sense the eeriness & darkness that must of been upon you during your time in the sea of trees.
    I have always felt a sense of curiosity towards the forest and the people that choose to die there, but I could never journey into such a gloomy place, so it was quite interesting to read your account & to feel like I was there with you. What did it feel like to enter a place known for the pure fact that hundreds of people choose to end their lives there? Could you sense any kind of presence whilst in the forest?

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    • Thanks for reading! I felt a lot of things honestly. Initially there was a sense of excitement and adventure, and disbelief that I was actually going to follow through with visiting the place. I also felt sad and at times apathetic, sometimes I was nervous and other times shit scared. Yes I definitely felt some sort of presence there, hard to really define it though.

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  23. Your lengthy blog post was the most interesting I’ve come across by far in my years of following accounts of the suicide forest in my interest with the paranormal. I am halfway between envying you for going through the journey and scared silly with what I could have discovered while on that “journey” with you.

    True enough, while watching your video, I half-imagined shadow people darting about in between trees (don’t mind me, just a hyperactive imagination, because am a photographer and a crazy writer as well), so I had to rewind and pause. A lot.

    In your first posted video, a few seconds flickered in the middle of your walk where you scanned the parameters and there was a blob of sorts that fuzzed out the screen (as if something blurred it momentarily. Unless you were smoking. I wondered if you guys noticed it upon review. Sort of a haze that flitted by and a dark shape, which may be your head. That, or somebody was accompanying you guys (insert silent nervous guffaw here).

    Anyhow, you and your friends’ accounts were truly fascinating, most especially the photo of the white haze beside the umbrella (almost the same blob I caught on your first video). I always experiment on inverting a photo so that it turns into a negative. The fuzz was clearly shaped and transparent, and didn’t match the environment. As if an entity stood there, and you can see through it. (I must be having too much coffee today) :-)

    Another eerie stuff were the hanging sticks which were swinging in what seems to be a still, non-windy atmosphere. I wondered if you were poised to run by then.

    The black smiley faces were like grim reminders of those who said goodbye to the world and thought of leaving these traces as a cruel joke.

    Thank you for sharing your adventures. Please do keep on with your good writing and blogging. I would love to visit the forest, but while you aim for a journalistic travel back again, I simply want to shoot and capture its spooky, otherworldly atmosphere.

    I shall keep checking for new posted videos and photos you may have missed discovering the first time around. :-)

    Sincerely,
    Jojie

    Like

    • I never noticed that! You’re talking about the cave video right? I wasn’t smoking in the caves so I have no idea what that could’ve been… That photo is truly fucked. We weren’t looking at the photos while we were taking them and only saw that picture much later back in kawaguchiko. If we saw that picture in the forest I have no doubt that we would’ve started to run. I feel no shame in admitting that! When we saw the sticks I didn’t feel like running, rather I felt like freezing and not moving at all. I was so spooked, but I knew we had to keep going.

      Just so you know I had zero intention of writing a blog post on the forest until months after I returned home. I wasn’t planning on documenting anything, and didn’t even think to write in my journal about the experience until a couple of days after. I have no idea what motivated me to really explore the place. I couldn’t get the bloody forest out of my mind when I got home; even though I was back in Australia it felt like I was still in Aokigahara. So this blog post was my way of writing myself out of there. I haven’t been thinking about it much ever since. If you are really interested in the place I think you should go and check it out. Japan is beautiful, and the forest is no exception. You will get some amazing photo opportunities, especially if you go when it is snowing.

      If you do end up going – good luck!

      Like

      • Sorry for my delayed reply/reaction, I had to make sure which post I was referring to. The good thing about this particular adventure of yours was that it had way too many interesting and intriguing scenes that you posted without pointing out anomalies because you simply just wanted to share your spooky adventure. :-)

        So now, I bring to your attention the first video on page 3, to be specific, Video Diary 2: White Tape. So NO, I am not referring to the cave photos and video, and I simply ignored the crispness and roundness of the orbs surrounding you because they were obvious. (grin)

        What I meant was that particular video where…it was you, right? you were scanning the forest with your cam while David was ahead of you. Were you smoking? Because at 2:27- 2:34, there was an unexplainable blur in the camera. Not the kind that happens when there is little light and panning or jerky movements cause the blurry motion.

        Here’s how I have to explain it without sounding like I’ve watched way too many Asian horror movies (coz I really do haha)…it was as if “I have just opened my eyes from a surgical operation, and I am seeing the hospital people in a sea of faces, head, and blur in front of me, while I am still adjusting my sight.” Okay, okay, that really sounded like a scene from The Eye. But there you go. I just wanted to know if you wiped the monitor with your hand, or if you were smoking at that moment my sight screwed me up. Hahahaha.

        Here is also the clear link to your video (see? I double checked)
        http://youtu.be/MNIIO0vu-Js — check 2:27-2:34 here.

        The forest like you, lulls me to visit it. But am not quite sure, especially since I am known to have an undeveloped “third eye”. I just hope it’s not somewhere in my butt or I’d be running senseless inside that bermuda triangle. :-)))))

        By the way, if you have time, tell your friends to watch NOROI, if you can download it. It’s an old J-horror classic created way ahead of the Blair Witch genre. It’s spooky, and it’s about a forest. Watching it will bring you back to the place, I guarantee. (grin)

        I am just glad you guys got out of it intact. I mean, you are after all, a psych student. (grin)

        Like

      • Sorry for the late reply I’ve been in Bali! I checked out the video, that blur you noticed was a rain drop as it was raining most of the day.. probably should have mentioned the rain in my post! You can see the camera jerk and then the blur is gone, that’s me cleaning the lens with my sleeve – it was a waterproof camera so it survived the ordeal! Thanks for the movie suggestion, I’m downloading it now! The Japanese are the masters of horror and I can’t wait to sink my teeth into this one ;)

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      • Wow, Bali, so nice to hear you’ve been away again. My friend is having the time of her life there right now, right after recovering from a broken heart. She upped and left and chose Bali, so I figured the book (Eat, Pray, Love) had something to do with it. Am glad it was just a raindrop on that videoclip, I was concentrating too much on your every move, LOL. Blame it on my overactive imagination. Anyhow, hope you have already watched the J-movie I recommended. :-)

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      • I haven’t watched it yet, but I’m planning on getting Josh and Dave together so we can watch it sometime this week! I’ll let you know if it gives us aokigahara flashbacks or not :P

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      • Actually, don’t laugh at me, but you will get more shivers watching my favorite Destination Truth, the reality TV paranormal investigation crew with a touch of comedy and travel narrative while finding truth about mythical creatures all over the world. It’s not as cheesy as the title says, but it’s all about the host, Josh Gates, who really carries the show because of his witty narration and funny mishaps during the investigations. However, the episode of the Suicide Forest (last year’s season) stood out from the rest because of one chilling piece of evidence caught on the night cameras installed around the areas where they set up camp. You have got to view it on youtube to believe it. Also during their camp setup, they ran across several teenage kids at night, maybe doing some foraging or scavenging of sorts. :-)

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    • I just saw the episode you mentioned and didn’t get any shivers watching it… it’s hard to get freaked out by anything after actually being in that forest. Hopefully noroi is scary enough to change that! Sweet ghost footage; I would’ve crapped my pants if I saw something like that.. at night. Thankfully I spent most of my time there in the day and only a fraction at night – the fear factor skyrockets as soon as it gets dark and I doubt I could’ve spent over an hour there when it’s that dark (pitch black). I noticed that the crew followed a path I had taken, good times!

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      • Hehe, I can quite imagine a different scenario for you guys holding on to flashlights in pitch dark. Best videoclip you had were those hanging sticks that rocked without any wind. Wow, imagine seeing those at night, with the shadows creating creepy movements in forest walls. Noroi isn’t jump-out-of-your-skin scary, though. It was just a buildup of tension and mounting creepiness from beginning to the climax. I miss that in J films. Still, if I encounter Sadako in that forest, I’d rather faint than run (so it’s daylight when I wake up). :-))))

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    • Speaking of that hanging stick video, someone on YouTube just notified me of a white blur 5 seconds in. I hadn’t noticed it before, and it definitely made my skin crawl… It sort of looks like a white, foggy Sadako! I agree, nothing is scarier than that stupid ringu girl… I used to have a small boxey TV in my room and I had to get rid of it as my imagination kept going wild at the sight of it!

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      • Haha I so agree, it was Sadako/Samara who propelled me to obsession of watching Asian horror films (not Linda Blair, but then I got to appreciate The Exorcist years after I was able to watch it in my adult years) and soon after that I kept collecting films. Shutter was another of my fave, before copycats ruined it (I don’t even want to talk about the US remake of The Eye and The Grudge, aargh.) Heyyy, let me go back to your hanging stick videoclip and look for misty Sadako! I miss her already. I just bought a book in the mall entitled, The Best of Philippine’s True Ghost Stories, and I love the compilations because I remembered some of the locations. Hehe. Will get back to you once I see foggy Sadako… (by the way, I had the same problem with a TV set of mine placed in one dark corner)

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  24. Pingback: Japan-Related Trivia #4: In Feudal Japan, Japanese Practiced Ubasute, Carrying the Infirm and/or Elderly to a Mountain to Die | ieastasia.com

  25. Wow… I’ve always wanted to see the forest for myself but after reading your blog I’m stuned and chilled to the bone!
    Reading and watching your experience made me feel as though I was right there with you and it was truely a unique experience I never expected.

    I found a documentery on the forest recently and it must of been taken not long since you visited since the abandoned car and umberella was featured.
    here is the link… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FDSdg09df8&list=LLqHo-CY9Ni5GvcKRvHowbPg&feature=mh_lolz

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    • Thanks for stopping by Alanah! Yes I’ve seen that documentary, it was made shortly before I ventured off into the forest, hence why the car is still in the parking lot. Not sure how long it’s been there, but I can guess it was there for quite a while. I’m glad that reading my account made you feel as though you were there, that must say something about my writing, so I’m flattered :)

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  26. I watched a documentary on this place before I found your website, lol xP. Dunno how I found it, but I did. Was extremely fascinated and motivated by the scenery and history of the place. It was sad, for sure, because so many people die there each year… but me, being really interested in the supernatural stuff, got motivated to make my own story/comic about it. It’s awesome that I found you’re website x)! Now I can see from another perspective about the forest and what it’s like inside. May make more comments!

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      • Sorry for this late reply, but yes. It’s exactly the same, it’s even sitting in the same place… are they afraid to tow it off or do they not do that in Japan? I can understand completely why they wouldn’t want to.

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      • You’re right! I have no idea what it’s still doing there, since the ranger established in the documentary that the car was abandoned. Maybe they leave it there as a sign of respect? Perhaps the body was never found, and they can’t move the car until it is…

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  27. Wow dude you’re crazy ! Glad you all able to come back safely , You actually entered and explored a forbidden path of a super creepy place on another country with a language and signal barrier AND to actually still finding your way out while its getting dark o_O Also the pictures… damn scary.
    Anyway thank you for sharing your experience, which is totally fascinating !

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    • Thanks! Everyone thinks I’m crazy for doing this as well, but there are some things you just have to do if you get the chance! We were very lucky we got out of there, if it wasn’t for David’s ribbon idea we would’ve gotten lost for sure!

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  28. This is an absolutely spellbinding blog post. I studied psychology as well when I was in university (Since then, I’ve gone to pursue something else) and I found your insight to be very effective and thought provoking. Thanks for sharing!

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  29. Hi,
    Thanks for sharing your experience. From the looks of it, this place is overall creepy and like another commenter said, even from the computer you can tell something isn’t right with this place. There is a sad, eerie vibe about it that calls out to you, like the spirits want to draw you in so they can show you the pain they feel.

    The part about the sticks definitely shows that it’s haunted. With no wind present there is no way possible sticks will just move like that. If there was wind, the other limbs and a few leaves would’ve blown.

    I’m curious to the history behind the “blair witch” type objects you guys found. That was very unnerving and personally, I would’ve been scared still had I came across that myself.

    The forest is said to be known for demonic activity and I don’t doubt it. The spirits of the suicidal victims definitely haunt that forest.

    Like

    • The way the sticks were dangling by a string resembled a person hanging, so we guessed it might’ve been a sign that whoever hung the sticks did so as markers to say ‘hey, i’m hanging myself somewhere in this direction’. There was also the hanging crucifix made out of sticks, probably made by the same person. Who knows what the purpose of these really was…

      Like

      • Thanks for your reply!

        There is no telling the purpose of all of that, you are right, but just the thought of it alone is creepy. Intriguing though.

        I think the oddest thing of all was the dog house though. That is the one object that you wouldn’t expect to see out there, yet there it was. I really don’t know what to make of that, but I know upon seeing it I would’ve ran! You know that something isn’t right when you see something like that and it automatically terrorizes you and make you curious at the same time.

        Obvious the person, or people who were out there spent some time at that particular spot in the forest. Maybe they wanted to be alone from the rest of the world and the only companion they had was their dog. They probably put up those strings with sticks hanging, the crucifix sticks, paintings of red, and faces on the trees to scare off anyone who would come in that direction. Who knows?

        But………..Just to simply scare someone off seems like an over-simplified answer as it doesnt explain the actual sinister vibe you can feel from that spot (Yes, even through the video and pics you can somehow feel it, don’t know how). It actually seems like a demonic ritual may have taken place there if you consider everything you saw, especially the violent motion of the hanging sticks with no wind involved.

        The person/people who spent lengths of time in that forest must’ve really gave up all cares, because spending the nights there alone would’ve been enough to kill me by heart attack.

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      • Thanks for your insightful observations :) Yes, the dog kennel is the one I have the hardest time getting my head around – that was just straight up scary. I’m going to try and believe your story about someone keeping the dog with them as a companion, as any other explanation would be too strange for me.

        I’ve heard that the painted faces on the trees are possibly curses put up by people going to commit suicide – black magic apparently runs rampant in the forest. It’s not surprising considering the people doing these things obviously have a grudge against the world, and would surely not want anyone coming in to disturb their place of rest in the forest. These people must find comfort in the fact that the forest is cursed, as it ensures no one will come visit them after they’re gone.

        Yeah I agree, the videos really capture It… While I was filming I thought I couldn’t possibly capture it, but the vibe of that place is so blatant that it’s hard not to. If only you could hear my heartbeat and feel my tightened stomach from watching the videos, but for that you’ll have to visit it yourself!

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  30. I love this. I don’t usually read stories like this the entire way through because you can just tell they’re atleast somewhat fabricated or incredibly dull.
    This really drew me in though. I can hear the silence. By the end it almost made me want to go there and see it for myself. But also to stay the hell away. I guess that’s the idea though – the forest draws you in to die. Such a beautiful place.
    Great photos too, they really helped see things from your perspective.
    :)!

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  31. Thanks for the scary tour. My wife would neve visit there, and I’d only do it if I were to do a paranormal investigation (of which I’ve never done btw). I’m just glad you guys got out safely,…it’s DEFINATELY dangerous in there.

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    • Thanks Douglas, a ‘tour’ is a great word for it! The forest is definitely dangerous as it’s too easy to get lost inside. I would advise against people exploring it without planning it well in advance; bringing food rations, a flashlight, a map etc.

      Like

  32. Damn forest, it seems really beautiful~ This is nice to read, it gives you the feeling and kept you attached to read more and more, and these photos are amazing. The one with the Dog kennel is stunning, it freaks me out more than the photos with corpses or human things scattered around. after seeing it the idea of someone hanging himself with his dog popped in my mind. Would that be possible?

    The photo with the umbrella and the white blur, it may be due to the sticks and leafs behind it, but i can kind of see a the image of a monk or something inside of it. Good Job imagination!! (How come the mind can make perfect drawings in a spot, blur, gas or things like that? you don’t even force yourself to see it, and yet with just one look you get to see something even if there’s nothing!)

    But i think the most amazing photo is the first one in page 7, how did you guys took that photo!?

    I wish i could go there, a forest full of death~ Somehow i found desolate places or places in where a lot of people have died really interesting and beautiful. I would love to travel to desolated, mysterious, dark or creepy places all around the world sometime~

    wonder if the sticks are still moving? Hope i can go there someday and found those moving sticks, there are some thing that i would like to try there~

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    • I’m always fascinated about our ability to see complex shapes and patterns in clouds, marble tiles, woodgrains etc. There could be many reasons for it, for example some neuroscientists believe we are hardwired to identify faces for evolutionary/survival reasons – hence why we are quick to see them in rock formations, clouds, or fog – it’s a form of pattern recognition called ‘pareidolia’.

      That photo on page 7 was taken by my cousin on an iPhone using a stereographic app called ‘360’. You can find out more about it on his blog post about it http://sillyreverie.com/2011/11/03/stereographic-photography/

      Thanks for the comment!

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  33. Wow! Just stumbled across your story while looking up images of Aokigahara. Did not even know this place existed until an an hour ago. So glad I decided to search history behind your photo. What an insightful and interesting/ heart thumping experience you had!
    I would have been definitely scared out of my mind even during daylight. Too “Tales
    From the Darkside” for me.
    Just wanted to say you painted a very descriptive picture, enough for me to say ” don’t need ro ever visit”.
    Also, your responses to others are very insightful, you really need to be a teacher, besides being a writer/ journalist of course! Learned so much from your responses to other feedbacks from your story. I was constantly thinking psych background and personal experience make for a great Professor ,”Indiana Jones” type if we need to define it better.
    Thanks do much for documentary and keep up the GREAT WORK!

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    • Thanks mate, I appreciate your encouraging words! I do love to teach others what I know, and learn from them what I don’t. For me life’s greatest purpose is to share and create our life’s road maps with each other. That’s one of the reasons I made this blog :) Thanks, I will!

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  34. This place is really creepy! I went to Japan a few years ago on a study abroad trip and I think I unknowingly took pics of this place while driving past it, I’m not sure if it actually was, but some other people in my group were talking about a forest where people go to commit suicide…..and we were in the area. Creepy!

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  35. Excellent blog about your experiences in Aokigahara forest! In a strange way this blog creeps me out more than any video i’ve seen about the forest, i think because of the detailed and honest writing.

    Anyway thanks for keeping me up all night :P ( I don’t want to dream about Aokigahara, would you?)

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  36. Wow… I have to say, I definitely won’t be able to get some sleep tonight. I am very fascinated by your blog about Aokigahara. Saw a friend of mine posting she’ll watch a docu on this from my FB feed and when I searched it, this came on top. If you have anymore similar works like this, I’d be really happy to read them! More power to you!

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    • Thanks! At the moment I haven’t written anything else like this, so it is a very unique piece of writing for me. I do plan on going back there one day, perhaps with better cameras and some food! I also hope to get some good interviews with locals, and maybe even police to get a better perspective on the situation at Aokigahara. Stay tuned for that!

      Like

  37. Those white circles in the pictures are orbs! spirits. and there are plenty of them! This must really be a disturbed and dark place.. thanks for sharing your story! upon looking at it, the place has negative vibe..

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    • Yeah, about 50% of the people who see the pictures dismiss those floating orbs as dust particles, while the other 50% believe they are spirits. I don’t know where I stand on the matter, it’s only natural for people to be sceptical, but there are simply too many, and they are too thick to be blobs of dust. I know my camera very well and I haven’t taken pictures like that in any forest but Aokigahara.

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  38. Thanks a lot for that report and the photos.
    When I first heard about this forest it kind of creeped me out. But hearing stories like this one actually make me want to go there.
    It seems to me it’s some sort of a beautiful place, despite all the eerie stuff going on there (…well yeah, and the risk to stumble into decaying human remains, of course…).
    However – taking into account that there’s very little chance for me to visit Japan, in the first place, I doubt I would go as deep into the woods as you did. In any case not alone…
    Greetings from Germany

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    • I don’t think you should rule out your chances for visiting Japan just yet, you never know where life will take you! If you do end up in Aokigahara one day, definitely bring a friend, you would have to be crazy to venture in there alone!

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  39. As someone living in Tokyo currently, it’s really unnerving to see the empty streets of the town. I’m so used to the constant bustle and presence of other people that comes with the Tokyo metropolitan area, so to see an area of Japan that is so familiarly Japanese yet so barren is a bit of a disconnect. I’ve been fascinated by Aokigahara since I first somehow stumbled upon rumor of it’s existence… I’m contemplating going to check it out myself, but I definitely want some company if I do!

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  40. Hi … Your documentary on the Aokigahara is really amazing. I mean, I don’t have words to express my feelings at the moment. I do believe in the supernatural and ghosts but not really the orbs and stuff. But the pictures taken at Aokigahara in which you are surrounded by orbs and then the one with mist or (spiritual being) beside the umbrella sure seems like one can capture spirits on camera. The forest looks depressing enough even on the computer screen. I’m really thankful to you for writing this blog and uploading such great pics and videos. They aren’t decked up at all and give a realistic impression of the forest. And yes, all those people out there who contemplate committing suicide in the woodlands of Aokigahara should remember that life ain’t worth giving up for ANYTHING. It is too precious. Time heals EVERY wound and YES HELP IS AVAILABLE. HEAVEN AND HELL ARE ON EARTH.

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    • Thanks for your comment Sonya, I had no intention of compiling these photos and videos and making a post about it while I was at the forest, and I didn’t even plan on visiting the forest while I was in Japan, it all just happened. I tried to document my experience as it happened and I think I succeeded in that.

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  41. Oh my god, the whole thing is just creepy, why would you go there without at least 100 companions? That’s my basic requirement anyway… Weren’t you scared after seeing the photos you had just taken had some mist/fog in it? Especially the umbrella one!! I would have cried T^T you have my respect, really!!! By the way, I came across your blog after watching the “hard gay treasure hunt” Japanese show on YouTube. Its supposed to be a comedy, but somehow they shot it in the forest and it just turned out creepy. Check it out!!

    Pui

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    • I was definitely scared, but I had set out to explore the forest and I didn’t want to have any regrets about leaving prematurely. I also knew that if I had of left before I got my ‘closure’ it would haunt me the rest of my life, I needed to reach the finish line so I could put it behind me. My mate Josh, who left early, is still obsessed about this place and I reckon he regrets not continuing on with us because he’s forever left with this unresolved journey. Haha, yes I’ve seen the video you’re talking about. I linked to it at the end of the post.

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  42. firstly,i was worried that your friend, Josh was really lost on there..
    but, thanks God,he still come back.. :)
    i have seen the video documentary about Aokigahara..
    and i’ve become more curious about the forest…
    and finally,i’ve found your story…
    u’ve done a great job with really go there..
    that’s awesome,i think..
    when i saw the video,that’s really dead silent, and i didn’t heard any voice like animals,or any blows of wind… how scared -.-”

    and your story,strengthen my opinion about that forest..
    i feel that there were many negative energy that was formed because of itself as forest, and also added by the people who commiting suicide..

    that’s one of the reason why u’ve felt like being pulled into the forest..

    this negative energy also influence the mind of people who get in there.. i just guessed it..

    i’m more certain about my opinion after have seen your photos,about the orbs and fog that suddenly appeared..

    if u want to go there again, better if u go there in the morning..
    bcoz,when the dark came,it really scary.. -.-

    oh ya,moreover, i think that there would be someone who’s want to camp there…
    aaaaaa…i can’t imagine..

    but,in fact,there really a person that’ve camped on that forest before (on video doc. that i’ve watched)

    I want to say…
    Great and brave adventure!!!

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  43. MIGHTY HOLY SPIRITS-GODS
    MIGHTY EVIL SPIRITS- DEMONS

    I WILL ABLE TO SATISFY THAT GHOST(AOKIGAHARA FOREST)

    YOURS TRULY
    D.V.C.S.WIJAYAWEERA (RESEARCHER OF INVINCIBLE POWERS)
    NO 63/1A
    WATARAPPOLA ROAD
    MOUNT LAVINIA
    COLOMBO
    SRI LANKA

    Like

  44. That photo where is umberella and the mist “thing”. In the mist is the same smile which is on the smiling trees….. that’s spooky. :S

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  45. Pingback: My Journey Into Aokigahara Jukai (青木ヶ原 樹海) – The Suicide Forest | writersnookblog21

  46. Very nice. I’ve always been fascinated by suicide and the macabre. In the 20 minute documentary, he points out a “car that has been abandoned for a few weeks now”. It’s the same car that you took a photo of. You also took the same trail as him, and probably found a lot of the same suicide spots. I’m not sure if I find that amusing or somewhat creepy.

    Anywho, keep up the fantastic writing.

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    • Seeing as I hadn’t seen the documentary until after I returned from the forest, I think it’s very strange that we took the same path! Thanks for calling my writing ‘fantastic’, you’re in my good books now!

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  47. Guess what. If it wasn’t any serious I would have laughed at the pun, but this is way too real to be amusing:
    Japan’s Finance Minister Commits Suicide on Suicide Prevention Day

    http://www.theatlanticwire.com/global/2012/09/japans-finance-minister-commits-suicide-world-suicide-prevention-day/56695/

    And here is another sad fact:
    Suicides among Japanese students hit record level in 2011

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120912a4.html

    Just sharing. Hope you find any new interesting stuff in your photo files. Planning to go back any sooner? :-)

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    • Sorry for the late reply, but yes that is morbidly comical at it’s absolute best! It is sad that so many people are killing them self in Japan… it’s not the act of suicide that’s sad, but the pain that they must endure to lead them to do such a thing. At least the actual suicide would dissolve that pain forever.

      I can’t for the life of me find the hard drive with all the rest of my photos on it… but I did just come back from Japan (didn’t visit the forest, went skiing instead!) and plan on returning again next year. I’m taking Japanese classes at uni currently and am planning to maybe spend a year there sometime in the future. Maybe then I can gain some better insight on the plight of the average Japanese person… and snap a few more photos of Aokigahara while I’m at it ;)

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      • Hahah, it does get addictive, doesn’t it? Human psyche is way too deep, there’s always room for more exploration. Don’t forget to send me new snaps of the forest. :-)

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  48. The picture with the Umbrella is strange, if you look in the center of the fog there seems to be a skull like head and shoulders. I might be just seeing things but its spooky how it appears to be just like a ripple through time showing a body or a person there.

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  49. why do they not clear the plastic bottles/abandoned tents/stuff from the forest? i was half creeped out by the video and great writing btw! i felt like i was experiencing what you went through in the forest through your words.. and the other half of me was asking “why has anyone not cleaned up the forest!” haha

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    • Thanks! I enjoy writing a lot so that’s very encouraging. If people read this and feel like they were there, then I’m hoping it deters them from actually having to go there for the experience first hand. The last thing that forest needs is a surge of tourists looking for cheap thrills. I was also wondering why no one bothered to clean up all the junk lying around. I think it’s a combination of the forest being too big, too much rubbish, fear of going in the forest in the first place, and a social stigma in touching/removing the possessions of people who commit suicide, which explains why that abandoned car featured in the VICE documentary was still in the parking lot when I visited. Sadly I think that tape is there to stay, I don’t think anyone makes rounds looking for bodies anymore..

      Sent from my iPhone

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  50. I so want to go there! My curiosity is piqued now. I have climbed Mt. fuji when I was in the Marines and stationed at Iwakuni. I did not even know this place was there!

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  51. Hello,

    My name is Lena and I wanted to thank you for this blog post. I’ve read some of your other work, too and I look forward to reading more of them.

    Anyway, following up on this post, I wanted to tell you about my experience visiting Aokigahara yesterday. I was living in Japan from July to December and finally, excitedly went in November. I meant to send you this post sooner, but I’ve been dealing with getting used to not living in Japan anymore and I lost track o time. ANYWAY I’d been wanting to go to Aokigahara for a long time, and while a number of very frustrating things led up to the experience and prevented me from staying there as long as I initially wanted to, I still had a very enlightening experience that I wanted to share and hear your opinion on.

    Of course I noted the eerie silence, the life(ful) and lifelessness, the nooses, the tape, the odd possessions left behind… But the strangest thing was when it started getting dark. The whole time I was in the forest, I really opened myself up mentally and just letting go. I found myself sort of talking to the spirits, letting them know I didn’t mean them any harm and just wanted to experience what they had to offer me. I’m not a terribly spiritual person, and so my experience struck me as rather profound. I remember feeling a presence around me and talking to it for a bit, feeling something delicately on my shoulders, but telling whatever may have been behind me that I would not turn around and I would trust it. Then the feeling left me as I continued moving forward. Immediately upon walking forwards, I remember getting my foot all tangled up in a branch. I completely spun around and collapsed, lightly twisting my ankle in the process. Suddenly I felt irrationally angry and I remember growling inwardly and shouting in my head, “What have I done to you? Is this what I deserve?” I shrugged it off and we pushed on.

    Then something very, very strange happened. Mind you, I was entirely sober when I went into the forest, but I think I may have sort of blacked out while I was in there, as this particular moment is extremely fuzzy in my mind, while the rest of my memories are quite clear. I was there with two other friends, just like you and we were quietly walking out from inside the thick of the forest back to the path. It was getting darker and darker by the minute and we were a half hour away from the last bus leaving, so we knew we had to make it back soon. One friend suggested we go back, another adamantly said we should push on forwards. This is when my memory gets fuzzy. All of a sudden, it became quite dark and we heard a sad, sad wail. I couldn’t tell from where it came from, but I’m confident that it was from inside the forest since we were at least a half hour walk in to the forest, to my knowledge. We stayed silent. Then the friend who initially suggested we go back said something else and immediately after that, we heard music, tribal music. For the life of me, I can’t remember how this music sounded (my friend later described it to me), but I was certain it was tribal. The strangest part about the music was that there wasn’t a slow buildup as we approached the clearing. It was like it came out of nowhere, but not like suddenly blasting through a stereo system. It was the kind of sound that seemed like it had been playing all along and we simply hadn’t noticed it, but this was impossible as we’d mostly kept quiet leading up to that. We stood in the clearing for a little bit and my other friend insisted we leave. I was silent, the friend who was listening was engaged in the music and wanted to stay. The funny thing is, looking back, my silence was odd to me. While I’m easily scared, I know that I would have been under the mindset to stay, like my other friend. I imagine I would have wanted to explore further, but I literally didn’t say or do anything at this moment and I only remember the experience in a blur. After we left the clearing, the music immediately stopped, but again it stopped in the same way it had started – not a gradual or sudden transition, but as if it had never been playing in the first place.

    Then my memory returned to me and I clearly remember quickly walking out of the forest, seeing dark things dart about all around me, the color dissipating from the trees… As crazy as it sounds, my friend suggested that I may have been possessed. My silence, my odd lack of memory, the fact that just for a split second were we all able to hear this music and then it went away. Part of us feels like we were standing in a worm hole, unable to see anything, but able to temporarily be part of the dead’s experience, celebrating who knows what. Maybe the wail was a fresh death and the souls were welcoming her. Maybe the music came from a celebration of the full moon illuminating us from above. Either way, despite my foggy memory, I’m positive I heard what I heard, as are my friends.

    The whole thing is just so spooky and I felt in such a daze when I returned home, similar to what you said about still feeling like you were in Aokigahara despite having returned to Australia. Sure I’m no longer in Aokigahara, but when I went back to Tokyo, it was hard to shake the feeling that I was being watched for a while afterwards.

    I apologize for such a long message, but I really appreciated your post and wanted some insight. I’m an open-minded person, but I’m also quite logical, so this experience proves strange. I look forward to your response.

    Sincerely,
    Lena

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    • Hi Lena, thanks for sharing your story. That is definitely a strange experience you had, but from what I’ve heard from others you are not alone in experiencing bizarre and spooky occurrences in the forest. May I ask what your intentions were in visiting Aokigahara? When I was there I certainly felt like I was surrounded by an unexplainable presence, I felt, like you alluded, like I was on drugs, but I wasn’t. It’s hard to explain but my whole being was on a different level. My thoughts were not consistent with my usual self and I felt a sort of primal awareness for everything around me. I clearly remember hearing footsteps rushing through the forest at one point, as though there were people stalking for animals to hunt. I also never felt alone, even when I left the forest and returned to Tokyo, and later home, I felt like I had brought something with me from that place.. like I was followed home. I never had any really supernatural things happen to me in the forest, except for the pictures of me surrounded by fog, but I did have a frightening experience the night before in front of an abandoned hospital near Lake Kawaguchi.. Which is a story I’ll save for another time as I don’t want this reply to go too off track.

      I had A LOT of whack dreams upon returning from Aokigahara, and I’m not one to normally have these sorts of dreams. The recurring theme has always been one of some sort of tribal ritual (interesting that you mentioned the tribal music) or possession. For example, one dream had me lying in a coffin looking up as a group of orange robed monks circled me like vultures, chanting in Tibetan or something, performing final rites on me. I don’t know why I have these dreams, but it reminds me of Jung’s theory of the collective unconscious, in that all of these scenes are interconnected in a big web of consciousness, and are all happening right now, except our awareness is, in normal waking consciousness, disconnected from it. Hence why we can dream of experiences never thought about before. I still don’t understand the relevance of these dreams in relation to my experience.

      By your account it seems to me that you slipped into an altered state of consciousness, call it possession if you like, but you merely opened your conscious awareness to forces that always exist, but are merely suppressed by your normal state. An infinite stream of sensory information flows throughout every moment, yet our brains are only able to process so much of it, so it filters out anything irrelevant. That is what our consciousness does, it is an inner awareness that selectively attends to and avoids certain stimuli. Hence why taking drugs – psychedelics in particular – allow us to see colours and hear sounds that we never thought existed. They always exist, it is only when our brain temporarily strips down these barriers that we become aware of them.

      Obviously I am only guessing what happened to you, because no one can really ‘know’ for sure, not even you. And my guess doesn’t even really begin to explain ‘why’ this happened to you. You say you are not a spiritual person, so take what I’m about to say with a grain of salt, but it relates to what I mentioned previously about how our consciousness works as a filter of the environment. I spent a lot of time in Indonesia, where black magic and things that go bump in the night are very prevalent, and I’ve found that in a place where so many people believe in a certain thing, where they invest so much energy into it, it becomes more real. I am very sceptical about a lot of things, and like to keep a logical frame of mind, but some experiences I have had have unfortunately or fortunately, I don’t know which, shaken the foundation from which I used to sit.

      I don’t know what you believe happens when a person dies, maybe you think they just die and that’s it, or they go to heaven or hell, or whatever. I personally believe – and I don’t claim this to be right or better than any other belief – in reincarnation. That is that we live an endless amount of lives as we are all merely energy floating around in time and space. Every physical thing in the universe is made up of energy and we are no different. Karma, which is often misinterpreted as being some sort of cause and effect thing in which bad things and good things come around in this lifetime, is actually related to the birth and death cycle – it is the force, or law of nature, that transfers energy throughout the universe and continues to do so until consciousness has ‘worked itself out’ and no longer believes itself to be separate. The Buddhists use the analogy of an ocean. The water is all consciousness (a metaphor that psychology uses as well, except they use it for the subconscious), and we, as separate beings are waves. Waves form, they rise, and they fall (or crash), back into the ocean. Just as we are born, grow up, and die. But we always return back to consciousness, except the dilemma is that we believe we are a wave when we are in fact just water. I know this sounds crazy.. But that’s nothing yet!

      Spirits, or ghosts, are those who have died with a huge karmic debt (by murdering somebody, or committing suicide etc – basically taking a life prematurely, against the laws of nature creates a rift) and are therefore left to wander in, I guess you could call it purgatory, until they are reborn into another body. The physical world we live in is made up of possibly infinite vibrational planes. The world of dreams, unconsciousness, the collective unconscious, and your very own head space where your thoughts ricochet off each other are just some of these planes. This planet is not just earth, air and water, in other words. We can only perceive of these planes if our consciousness aligns our brains frequencies to the frequency of a particular plane. When we fall in love for example, we temporarily enter a plane that is always the feeling of being in love, or being completely liberated of our own self and worries. We assume that it is the other person that is responsible for this feeling hence why we get attached to them, as we believe they are the ‘key’ for unlocking that place inside us that is love. Nothing in life is permanent and so neither is this feeling of love, but we should realise that the feeling of being in love, along with any emotion under the sun is only coming from inside of us. It’s all at our disposal, only we are more or less blind to these experiences unless we find the right catalyst. Hence why drugs are so popular, and addictive. They are gateways to states of consciousness that we believe we cannot enter without the use of their password.

      Schizophrenics are really interesting because they are trapped in one of these vibrational planes, and because of societies rejection of living outside of the ‘normal’ state of being, and the schizophrenics subsequent feeling of isolation, the place they are locked into often becomes nightmarish. An analogy of these different planes would be a radio, with the planes being stations on the radio. Purgatory is the static in between these station where those without a body linger. They are stuck halfway between birth and death. They exist in the physical world along with us, it’s just that we cannot see them unless we manage to tune into that frequency. This is why ‘demonic’ possessions usually occur only to certain individuals, because they have opened themselves to that plane and allowed the spirits to enter.

      All spirits want one thing and that is a body. Those who do black magic can and do speak to these spirits, and they sometimes play nice, and give these people powers, in the hope that they will let their guard down and give an opportunity for the spirit to escape purgatory. African voodoo rituals require the participants to do extensive rituals and dances before they can become possessed, as this allows the indiviudal to tune into that frequency, and open its gates. Not all spirits are bad – much of our wisdom has come from the intervention of good spirits; spirits who have lived for thousands of lifetimes and have the knowledge to spare. Shamans developed culture and society in the early primitive days by communicating with these spirits, or guardians, and a lot of these spirits have slipped into the bodies of animals, hence ‘spirit animals’ and their reverance in shaman circles. Heaven and Hell are planes. They are not physical places hiding somewhere in the cosmos. Hell is somewhere in the static, but is much fiercer. ‘Heaven’ is union with ‘god’ (consciousness), it is freedom from the birth/death karmic cycle.

      Japan is overloaded with these spiritual undertones, and that forest is teaming with spirits. I know that is a mouthful and I’m sorry for putting that on you, it is probably not the insight you are seeking but I hope it sheds something on your experience. You can either shrug what happened to you off as nothing ordinary, or realise that you might have opened up to a reality that is beyond your wildest imagination. All the best with your future travels! :)

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      • hi greetings from jakarta! my name is titis (in javanese, it has a beautiful meaning mind you) you are a very very good writer! i was deeply deeply enthralled by your writing. you have a way in making me feel like i was transported there, walking along with you, with cold sweats dripping down my back, shortness of breath, a shock of panic upon knowing you split up with your friend, and getting creeped out by the sound of footsteps! your experience must be somewhat life changing and bizarre. i could not imagine how it would affect me if i were you (it already did me greatly just by reading it) one thing i notice about your post is how oddly i feel a resonance towards you. as if i could read into your soul as i read your post, this sounds so weird i bet, so apologies for that. but have you ever read a really moving novel or article, and you just feel like “oh this author is just something!”? well thats how i feel reading your post! you must be a very special person. i hope you have a great year and gain greater experiences along your way you freakin deserve that! just remember to write them all. alright, i should stop before i get more stalkerish. hell, if ever you visit indonesia again, please do not hesitate to email me. i would love to meet you in person :)

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      • hi greetings from jakarta! you are a very very good writer! i was deeply deeply enthralled by your writing. you have a way in making me feel like i was transported there, walking along with you, with cold sweats dripping down my back, shortness of breath, a shock of panic upon knowing you split up with your friend, and getting creeped out by the sound of footsteps! your experience must be somewhat life changing and bizarre. i could not imagine how it would affect me if i were you (it already did me greatly just by reading it) one thing i notice about your post is how oddly i feel a resonance towards you. as if i could read into your soul as i read your post, this sounds so weird i bet, so apologies for that. but have you ever read a really moving novel or article, and you just feel like “oh this author is just something!”? well thats how i feel reading your post! you must be a very special person. i hope you have a great year and gain greater experiences along your way you freakin deserve that! just remember to write them all. alright, i should stop before i get more stalkerish. hell, if ever you visit indonesia again, please do not hesitate to email me. i would love to meet you in person :)

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  52. Thanks for your detailed and insightful answer. My intentions visiting Aokigahara… I wanted an experience like no other. I’m very interested in morbidity, death, and how spirits are incorporated in all of this. I wanted some questions answered. I wanted to see if I would be lucky enough or open-minded enough to communicate with them… And I still don’t know if what happened to be counts as communication, but I definitely think it was something. I could never shrug what I experienced off. It’s too surreal and wonderful. I entered the experience knowing I’d come out a different person. I didn’t know what to expect, but only that I was likely to experience something radically interesting.

    Also I didn’t say I’m not a spiritual person. I said I don’t call myself a very religious person, but I am, in fact spiritual. I can’t tell you exactly what I believe in, but I do believe in a higher power and that we are connected in ways that at this time, cannot be explained, and maybe never can be explained.

    I like what you said about primal awareness. And abandoned hospital? Ooh, sounds so interesting :3 I noticed that you’re a Psych major. I like that you incorporate your knowledge of your favorite theorists in your work, especially what you mentioned about Jung and the collective unconscious. I was thinking something similar myself (I’ve been interested in Psychology for as long as I can remember and am also a Psych major)

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  53. I’m writing a story for class (we have to send the story to a publisher) and I needed some concrete information and scenes for my story which does take place in Aokigahara forest. I’m so thankful you took a picture of what the parking lot looks like since it was essential to my story. (Wrote this story for another class, so had the liberty to kinda make some things up, but now that I have to just send it to a publisher, it’s gotta be right. x.x ) ; 3 ; <3 This was perfect for my research as I create this fiction story, but now I'm not so sure it's really fiction. I was so creeped out about the car that seemed like it had been there for a while; I wrote about the same exact thing! I assume I'll need some links to where I got information and other things like that. I'll be sure to link people back to this site! (Prolly won't get published, but it would be cool. ; U ; ))

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  54. Amazing Journal/Post/Story…!!!!!! I could not stop reading and was so intrigued throughout the whole blog. Excellent insight for people who will never visit this site but wanted to learn and know more about this sad, eerie but fascinating landmark. I haven’t been so captured by a blog in years. I felt every moment you wrote about and you captured me through your whole experience. Well done and i look forward to more of you work. Bee =)

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  55. Even more fascinating than this spooky tale is your obsession with grocers’ apostrophes and cigarettes…we get it, Joe Camel – you smoke.

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    • Haha you got me, I did allude to my smoking a few too many times. But in my defence I smoke when I’m tense, and this experience for me was one of the tensest moments of my life, so to tell the story honestly it had to include all the smoking, because I can’t shake that association. And what the hell is a grocers apostrophe?

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  56. like everyone else, stumbled upon ur post after watching adocumentary on aokigahara. After reading ur lengthy but interesting post, m itching to post on my thoughts (although this post was quite a while ago), hope u don’t mine!
    beforehand, thank you so much for ur ethusiasm n coourage so that we could read about your experience n learn more about the forest. Aokigahara is made mysterious by the net by the limited info! I was quite a Japanese fetish and having read about the mysterious suicideforest in some paper years ago had me always wondering about that place along the idea of death.
    Such a beautiful forest, so much life yet so dead. The greenery, symbol of life, the origin.
    I don’t know why but the moment I read about the lack of wild life in the forest had me thinking. What happened to the ecosystem there?
    Japanese like Chinese believed in energy, as beautiful a forest, filled with too much negative vibes, even the animals cant take it.
    On my opinion though, the forest doesn’t sound like a really evil place despite the all the dead happening there and all. I don’t know if u have heard of this but chinese we have a believe that generally spirits would ‘pull’ the living to their world to accompany their sad soul. For those who carry a dying wish, the lonely spirit would probably call out to them. But what is that mysterious force that compelled you to enter? Just plain old curiosity? In the forest, to some extent you were surrounded by strannge orbs and mist. But you not really pestered physically, in some way, from my perpective at least, it felt like u were protected. In the dark forest, you were almost lost and all but you mansged to walk out safe n un harmed. Then I would relate to the nice old man in the documentary who visit this gloomy place his whole life with a kind purpose. How did he survived the tricky forest all these years? Aokigahara Forest seem to hold greater forces within it, probably beyond our imagination.

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    • Thanks for commenting! While I didn’t encounter any wildlife there I’ve had people confirm that there are indeed many birds dwelling in Aokigahara so it must have some sort of ecosystem. That’s an interesting point you make, I certainly didn’t feel like I was being ‘hunted’ or anything like that, and there were moments where I felt a strange sense of calm, that coupled with the fact, as you said, that I managed to escape unharmed could be seen as a sign that maybe I was being protected. Who really knows! What a mysterious place…

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  57. From what I ‘ve heard if you get deep enough into the forest you hit a point where it’s untouched by man. I’d like too see that but spending a night in that forest would be a challenge, plus my friends are chicken shit.*sigh* Sometimes its hard being the calm and collective one.

    Like

  58. This… Was truely spine-chilling to read about. Even through photos you can see how… Sinister the forest appears… And that’s without the orbs, the ribbons (which were set in place by people wandering into the forest to commit suicide in case they had a change of heart) and the things left behind by the deceased.

    It’s horrible to think about.

    People blame pressure on people wanting to commit suicide… But what’s fucked up, is that things shouldn’t pile up and pile up until people think suicide is the only answer.

    Amazing writing – you had me hooked from the get-go.

    -Winter

    Like

  59. Interesting. But I just would like to point out the last paragraph in Page 6. That you didn’t hear any birds. Well if you check out your video again, and focus on the last video on page 6, you can hear sounds of birds while you were walking towards the branches with hanging sticks. Cheers.

    Like

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    it, you are a great author.I will make sure to bookmark
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    Like

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  62. Hello, I stumbled upon your blog in an effort to learn more information about this place. I work for the US in Japan, and my boyfriend and I plan on making the trip there to take photographs of the caves, scenery, and any interesting things we come upon. I just want to thank you for posting your adventure it is enlightening and we will therefore proceed into the forest with caution. The last thing we want is to stumble upon someone trying to commit suicide!

    Like

  63. This was seriously a good read. The hubby and i were watching the vice video and i wanted to know more so googled it and came across your journal. Im loving it! I love the japanese culture and this is on my bucklist places to explore!

    Like

  64. Hey Michael – a very good story btw – I have to be honest, and say the first time I saw that photo of the white entity next to the umbrella I was fairly spooked. Up to that point I was pretty intrigued to explore this place. But this put me off little at the time. Because when I looked at the photo I saw a face, which looks like a older woman surrounded by possibly some kind of cloak. It gave me the impression that you were being followed by a number of entities during your time there.

    I am still want to explore Aokigahara. Even though it might be pretty terrifying, I want to do a nighttime ghost investigation while I’m there too. Even crazier, I thought a pretty outlandish and unique thing to do would be to play loud, uplifting party music during the investigation. Hey, maybe it might promote some positve vibes in this dreary place – at the very least, it would might an interesting addition to my youtube channel:p.

    How much did the trip set you back btw?

    Like

    • Yeah, that photo freaked the shit out of me when I saw it too. I definitely had my suspicions that I was being followed by some sort of paranormal entity, especially when I took those photos in the cave where I was surrounded by thick fog, and yet my cousin had none when I photographed him in the same spot. I was lucky and managed to score tickets to Tokyo for $300 each way because it was right after the Fukushima fallout. I was in Tokyo for a little over 3 weeks and stayed in hostels for roughly $15-20 a night. We stayed a night in a nice hotel for $30 each too. Getting to Aokigahara was pretty cheap, we got a bus from Tokyo and stayed at a nice ryokan house in Kawaguchi for about $30 per night, then got another bus from there. Didn’t spent much at all.

      Like

  65. Did you guys see anything bad? I’m not trying to be rude or a thing but did you see any bodies or bones? I just read this and honestly it was just amazing. And you said that there was a bunch of ribbons, was the different colors different suicides? And please can I have your YouTube name? I want to watch your documentaries. This was so amazing to read. Just how you said and explained.

    Like

    • We saw a few bones, but no skeletons or bodies. Saw lots of clothes and personal belongings. I have no idea what the ribbons were really for so I can’t answer that. My YouTube name is ‘electricflag’, but all of the videos I made about this forest are already on this post, and I haven’t made any other documentaries. Thanks :)

      Like

  66. I noticed that in one of the pics on the last page I believe it is this one. http://endofthegame.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/img_2712.jpg That’s not mist that spirits and you can see a face in it off to the left. He no look happy. Should have brought fruit as gifts to the spirits. and I saw the orbs to. Have you thought about contacting TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) and showing them some of those pics and telling them what you saw?

    Like

  67. ( Some formats may require additional apps support. Remember that the comments you leave on another
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    Like

  68. Thanks for the nice pictures. Actually I know you have a copyright on your photos, one in particular is my favourite, I was wondering if you would let me use it for my band, if I include your copyright.

    Like

  69. Hey beautiful story,
    Me personally, suicidal tendencies run through the family. Its sad fact but I live through. I always, ever since I was young, had thoughts of self harm and “what ifs” andi think about suicide being the best option. Although I keep reassuring myself that suicide isn’t heroic and that it’s braver to live through the pain, sometime my mind tells me to do it. After learning about this place though and your story makes me realize how sad it would be, and the true feelings that go through these people. Its sad and heart breaking and I don’t want to be that person with a rope around her neck.

    Thanks!

    Like

    • Hey, always good to hear from you :) No, I’ve never heard of that film before. Looking at that link there doesn’t seem to be any indication that it’s about Aokigahara anyway. Could just be another Blair Witch spin off set in any forest.

      No, haven’t gone back yet. But I am planning on returning to Japan at the end of the year, so maybe I’ll go back.

      Like

      • Oh forgot to add that the writer/producers have been inspired by the Suicide Forest in doing this film. However, more googling led to this other one, which is a sad love story set inside the forest. Kind of makes me want to NOT watch it. :-(

        http://asianwiki.com/Aokigahara

        I was aiming for Japan this year too, now that we have direct flights. However, it may not sound good to friends and family if I look too eager to visit Aokigahara, as they are aware my crazy character. Stay in touch with your adventures. :-D

        Like

      • That actually sounds pretty interesting. Setting a drama/love story in Aokigahara seems way less cliche and exploitative than making a horror movie.

        Haha, just don’t tell them. I didn’t tell anyone I was going until I got back. Be sure to link me to your photos when you visit, would love to check them out.

        Like

  70. This is amazing. I don’t know if I would ever go there (I’m a pacific islander and we tend to be closer to the dead), but a part of me wants to go there. I liked that you didn’t go there to ghost hunt or exploit the suicides – your lot seemed very respectful. I definitely appreciate that. I also couldn’t help but notice that on your little note you wrote – the date was my 21st birthday. It’s strange to think that on any given day, someone out there in the world, is doing something pretty spectacular

    Like

    • Thanks :) Yeah we definitely went with an open mind and tried to be as respectful as possible. I didn’t even intend on writing about this, it was only an afterthought as I filled pages upon pages in my travel diary the night after. That’s so cool! I’m actually reading ‘Into the Wild’ at the moment and found out that the guy the book is based on left for Alaska on the exact day/year I was born! It is interesting to think about how the world goes on non-stop and there’s never a dull moment somewhere out there!

      Like

    • Thanks! Unfortunately the name escapes me, it’s a ryokan backpackers joint near the Fuji lakes. There aren’t too many in the area so you should be able to track it down! It’s next to a cemetery and has a big vegetable garden if that helps. Enjoy your trip!

      Like

  71. It’s 5:26 am right now and your story kept me up untill I finished it! I could truly feel sincerity and passion in your writing. The whole thing about the forest is just mad interesting. I have studied a tiny bit about esoterism and spiritual-related stuff and it’s just crazy how it all makes more sense day after day. If you feel comfortable talking openly about these topics, I’d really like to know more about your beliefs about religion and anything related to “ghosts” or such thing. Also would like to hear more about what you felt during your stay in the forest!
    Thanks, the article is really fascinating.
    cheers

    Like

  72. Howdy! This blog post couldn’t be written any better! Looking at this article reminds
    me of my previous roommate! He continually kept talking about this.
    I’ll forward this post to him. Pretty sure he’s going to have a good read.

    I appreciate you for sharing!

    Like

  73. I am a skeptic as well but had an interesting experience a few years back.
    Sounds like there is some serious dark energy going on in that forest but considering what happens there it’s no surprise. How did you manage to make your way back? you just ran until you found the way out? that must have been a scary feeling.

    A friend of mine is in japan and she said she wants to visit this place but with 3 people.
    Any advice could I relay to from you to her?

    Like

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