David and I penetrated the forest from a different entrance this time, chosen at random, and I was amazed at how alien of an environment it was. Everything was covered in bright green moss and looked prehistoric. We walked for a while and were conscious of leaving markers so we wouldn’t get lost. We knew there was a chance it would get dark soon as the sun sets at about 4.30 pm during Japan’s winters and it would no doubt get darker earlier than that in this dense forest. Not much sunlight was creeping in through the tall and thick canopy. It was already too dark for comfort. I think it was roughly 2 pm at this point. We happened upon a police style barricade which said ‘DO NOT ENTER’, so Dave and I left a stick on the entrance pointing towards the path we came from, swallowed our breath and climbed over the barricade and kept on walking; a red ribbon stretched out into the forest. David was walking at a pace that gave the impression he was in a hurry to see the Wizard of Oz, following the red ribbon to get there. We followed it for about 10 minutes and realised that we were still no where close to its end, so we left one of the umbrellas as a marker and followed a white ribbon which cut off from the red ribbon at a sharp left into a maze of tall and skinny trees.
About 3 pm
This was the creepiest path we took, and one that we almost got lost in. About 5 minutes in the trees shrunk in size and arched in until we had a roof of sticks and branches above our heads and had to crouch-crawl to get through, the passage got tighter and tighter and eventually we had to continue on in single file. By this point we were probably three times more scared than we were at first, but we had suppressed the fear so well that we almost gave the impression of being super brave. ‘Just don’t think’ became my mantra to get me through these tight crawls. The passage opened up a little and that’s when we started to see some Blair Witch Project-esque things popping up. For example, we saw lots of logs positioned on the floor into big X’s and we saw red paint splattered on trees, which looked like blood. There was a very old looking dog kennel. We saw a stick crucifix (made with tree branches and string) fastened to a tree with a suicide ribbon. We continued on regardless, we had been walking so long that we realised if we were to turn back now we would just have to pass all of these things again, and I was content to never see them again.
David told me to check something out, he was frozen still. There were sticks that were being hung by string and were dangling from trees – they eerily suggested suicide. We saw about 5 or 6 of them, separated by about 3 trees each. There was no wind in the forest and yet the sticks were rocking back and forth violently. We were hesitant to continue following the trail but we did and soon we we were following a blue ribbon. Blue, white, red was the path home – remember that, I thought to myself.
Note how eerily quiet the forest is. Update: someone on YouTube mentioned a blur at 5 seconds into the above video, it freaked me out as I have no idea what it is. and never noticed it before. Check it out, and let me know what you think.
I saw a few ponchos and umbrellas lying around which didn’t belong to either Dave or I, and we were seriously the only people in the forest that day, but they were scattered around in random spots and there was no evidence to suggest that anyone had died in the spots they were left. Maybe they were being used as markers just like we had used them for? One of these umbrellas was exactly the same as the one the old man gave us, clear plastic, and it was hanging on a large broken branch. Dave took a photo of it and something startling came out in the picture. No editing has been done to it, see for yourself and make your own conclusions.
We walked for ages until we reached the end of the blue ribbon and it was fastened to the end of a giant fallen tree. I took a much needed piss and the steam that rose from it reminded me that I needed to smoke. I lit a cigarette, climbed the broken tree and peered over the forest, looking for any movement in the trees. One thing that separates this forest from others I have been to is that this one is eerily quiet, I didn’t hear any birds, wind, insects, animals, nothing. It was dead silent. The only sound was our footsteps and the light pattering of rain on the leaves, that was it. The forest was also very still, nothing moved. Throughout the day I had a lot of moments where I thought I saw something and I definitely heard rustling or footsteps at one point. It might’ve just been in my head, but I swear something was not right with that place!
Note: Another blogger had a similar experience in Aokigahara, I quote from his post:
“On the way back out, I am unsure whether it was because I was paranoid or whether it was real, but I could always hear sounds of footsteps and sometimes could see movement in the corner of my eye amongst the trees far away.”