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Artwork by Patryk Mogilnicki

The Mysterious Suicide Forest of Japan

There are some places on this Earth that just seem to be cursed. For whatever reason, these insidious locations are infused with an almost palpable evil that pervades the landscape and creeps into the mind. Among these forsaken habitats of menace, we can find some that hide amongst some of the world’s most gorgeous landscapes; places of coiled evil waiting to pounce whilst shrouded in natural beauty.

At the foot of Japan’s iconic Mt. Fuji, lying sprawled amongst some of the most majestic scenery in Japan, is one such place. At the base of this picturesque mountain lies the haunted destination of broken souls known as Aokigahara, often referred to as the “Sea of Trees” and more infamously as the demon infested “Suicide Forest.”

Aokigahara Forest

Aokigahara Forest

Aokigahara Forest lies at the northwest base of Mt. Fuji, which looms overhead with its majestic peak.  It is a starkly beautiful landscape renowned for its breathtaking scenery and vistas. The forest itself is approximately 35 square km (14 square miles) in area and from a distance seems like an idyllic, pristine wilderness area. However, looks can be deceiving.

The moment one steps into Aokigahara, it quickly becomes apparent that something is slightly off about the place. The first thing one may notice is the disconcerting silence here. The density of of the closely packed trees blocks the sun and wind, producing a dark, eerie blanket of quiet, which is further compounded by the curious lack of wildlife in the area.  The sounds of birds and other wildlife that one might expect to hear chirping and chattering in abundance are oddly absent or subdued, as if they have shunned this place or are hiding from something. Some have described the quality of sounds here as somewhat muted, as if being heard through a thick veil or from another room.


One may also notice that compasses do not work properly here. The needle may jerk and jump about spasmodically, or conversely do slow, languid circuits around and around. It is said that this is caused by magnetic anomalies induced by the rich deposits of magnetic iron in the area’s volcanic soil, yet the disorienting effect of the forest goes beyond merely rendering compasses useless. Many hikers that venture into Aokigahara, even experienced ones, claim that it is oddly easy to get lost or confused in this dark and silent place. It is not uncommon to hear stories of hikers inexplicably traveling around in circles, or of being unable to navigate even short distances successfully. This bizarre effect has led to many visitors planting markers or plastic tape in order not to lose their way.

One may also become aware of the bizarre and creepy litter strewn about the forest floor. Pairs of shoes, both for children and adults, lined up upon moss covered, gnarled logs. A packet of entirely mundane photographs, song lyrics scrawled upon the envelope, lying forgotten and untouched amongst the underbrush. A child’s doll lying wide eyed atop the twisted roots of a tree, its vacant eyes staring up as if trying to peer through the crooked branches above that blot out the sky. One can find a plethora of such odd trinkets and abandoned items interspersed among the trees. These items seem jarring and out of place here on the forest floor of this otherwise pristine wilderness, and only serve to add to a growing sense of foreboding.


Regardless of such eery occurrences, many tourists still visit the area to see the magnificent scenery and the numerous rocky caverns scattered throughout the forest. Many of these caverns are dangerous to the unwary, and warning signs are a common sight interspersed amongst the thick trees, yet large numbers of visitors still brave the trek to see them every year.

Above and beyond the unsettling elements of the forest, there is an even darker side to Aokigahara. In addition to those brought here for the scenic beauty, caverns, and hiking, there are also the droves of poor, lost souls who come here every year to die.

Often referred to rather morbidly as “The perfect place to die,” Aokigahara is said to be the most popular place to go to commit suicide in Japan and the second in the world after The Golden Gate Bridge in San Fransisco. Since at least the 1950s, the forest has attracted ever growing numbers of people who come to the solitude here for their final breaths, with 2003 seeing a record number of 108 suicides. These are only the bodies that are found by monthly patrols and annual “body hunts,” in which police and volunteers scour the forest for victims.


It is said that this number is likely even higher due to the remoteness of some of the areas within the forest, the numerous caves, crevasses, and caverns, and the forest’s ability to quickly and thoroughly decompose remains. Some of the bodies of these victims are stumbled across by visitors to the area, who while hiking through the otherwise beautiful wilderness may happen across the horrific sight of a corpse hung from a tree or a skeleton with its legs poking out of the dense foliage on the forest floor. It is difficult for police and volunteers to locate all of the dead hidden away within this dark wood, or to accurately estimate how many have died. The only thing that seems to be known for sure is that every year the number of those who come to Aokigahara to die seems to be increasing.

Those looking to end their lives here have become so common that locals say they can easily spot the three types of visitors to the forest: hikers interested in seeing the stunning vistas of Mount Fuji, curious thrill seekers hoping for a glimpse of the macabre, and those who don’t plan on returning. In an effort to end the alarming trend of people coming to Aokigahara to end their lives, certain measures have been implemented such as putting up signs throughout the area urging those who have given up hope to reconsider their actions and turn back, as well as installing security cameras and sending out police patrols. Even with such measures, it is thought that at least a hundred people a year likely meet their doom here.


According to some, these lonely souls who are contemplating suicide are mysteriously and inexorably drawn to Aokigahara by supernatural forces within the forest that beckon them to come. Some survivors of suicide attempts in Aokigahara have told of having had the vague feeling of being somehow called to or pulled towards the forest, and of having the inexplicable compulsion to make the journey there.

Aokigahara is certainly not without its paranormal happenings. Even before records were kept on suicides within Aokigahara forest, the area had long been steeped in spooky lore and mythology. The dim forest was long thought to be the haunt of demons and ghosts who prowled the landscape and terrified travelers. It is also believed that it was once a popular place for the gruesome practice of ubasute, a custom in which a sick or elderly relative was allegedly abandoned in a desolate location such as a remote mountain or forest and left to die. In the case of Aokigahara, it was said that the victims of ubasate here became vengeful ghosts relentlessly prowling the twisted trees.


Many believe that the suicides committed in the forest have permeated the very trees in Aokigahara, generating paranormal activity, driving away wildlife, and preventing many who enter from ever escaping the forest’s grasp. These people say that the forlorn souls of those who committed suicide in Aokigahara are doomed to eternally inhabit its depths, trapped within the gnarled trees and forever beckoning others to join them.

The reasons for wanting to end one’s life are as varied as the people who come to Aokigahara to do so, yet one thing they all have in common is that something has brought them all from their far flung lives to this particular spot to do it. What quality is it that drives them to converge here in this shadowy, quiet wilderness to carry out their morbid business? Is it simply the tranquil beauty of the place, or the privacy afforded by the low probability of encountering anyone else in such a dense and vast forest? Or are they being beckoned by demons, ghosts, vengeful spirits, or some other inscrutable evil force?

Only those despairing, forgotten souls who spent their last moments in this dark quiet in the shadow of Mt. Fuji will ever know for sure.

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  • Interesting!

  • Rebex

    I have heard of this; this article was very informative.

  • Minna

    Reminds me of Mirkwood Forest from The Hobbit.

  • Emon Kun Joy

    really shocking!!! wanna meet this forest……….. 😛

  • Robert Passin

    What if this forest forces you to face what you fear or regret and the suicide’s are the one’s unable to overcome , it sounds to me that this is where true sadness comes to dwell and I will one day go.

  • stationone123

    I read a story about some lunatic who roams this forest stealing gold teeth. As dumb as it sounds the story is true.

  • Zack Snyder

    I like your thinking, there are news of some who changed their mind, made it out and somehow got a new appreciation of life.

  • unknown

    i think its a bad idea to meet this demonic forest because my best freind die in that place on April 2003 he is hiking with his classmates then he lost after 10 days her body was found by a group of hiker laying under a big rock what i say is not a joke

  • unknown

    i think its a bad idea to meet this demonic forest because my best freind die in that place on April 2003 he is hiking with his classmates then he lost after 10 days her body was found by a group of hiker laying under a big rock what i say is not a joke

  • Jeff Smith


  • Tree Hugger


  • Laura Marie Roberts

    I get what you’re saying, but since it’s a known to be morose place. It’s apparently a place that lends to depression, and clearly not many are “changing their minds”. To put yourself purposefully in that place seems to me to be putting yourself to a dangerous test. Facing your fears and regrets I believe is good and fine, but to do it there or anywhere that doesn’t portray or enhance the truth of your self worth is probably not wise.

  • simon

    Only in japan…

  • Cherry Lee

    Anything that is evil and demonic is not of God this place is hell on earth and ran by the devil and his demons don’t play with it

  • After watching trailer of Forest! 😀

  • Hannan Henry Bouskila

    same lol

  • Liv

    We’re all going to die. The only question is how.


    There was another movie done about this forest & a bunch of college students doing a movie about a girl looking for her mothers body in the forest

  • Owen

    I told myself and my boyfriend as a joke that if I ever want to kill myself, this is where I’m going to do it.

  • taylor

    stfu and calm down ,dont talk about my God like that .if u want to go worship the devil ..why dont yo ass go hop in the forest..and commit suicide
    with the demons and devil.

  • jimmydd

    Poor silly Alexis

  • Skylar

    Omg the last picture almost gave me a heart attack woah. Lol but scary and a little saddening about the bodies and the suicides partaking in the forest

  • no name

    you shouldn’t tell someone that you don’t know or anyone for that matter to commit suicide you have no idea what that person is going though in their life. for all you know that one comment could have cost someone their life. I don’t care what you believe in you should never say that ever.

  • Jazzieisme1

    God help us!

  • Carl Woodard

    Up until I saw the preview of that new movie coming out next month I have never heard of that place…


  • mikeyd572

    I wonder if GPS would work in there?

  • Laura Aguirre

    So what about the tourist that don’t want to die. The ones that just want to see it. Do they get trapped?

  • Nattles

    The vengeful ghosts of the victims of ubasute are beckoning you… BAHAHAHAA ☠☠☠☠

  • singing girl

    probably not just they might have some problems mentally from it

  • singing girl

    what i want to know is what is wrong with the government to not like try to do something to stop all these suicides from happening i mean like all they did was put signs up say things like “your parents love you ” ” people care about you” and the one that annoys me the most ” your life is a precious gift from your parents” uhh like they know how we suicidal people feel like every fucking day

  • Kenny Martin

    umm… dude.. they have police officers patrolling the areas as well. at least read the whole article before you go bad mouthing people who have a much higher authority than you

  • Kenny Martin

    as long as you know how to read Japanese, you should be fine.

  • D.F.

    It’s just a fucking forest. Just because people heard that a long time ago someone went in there a killed himself it got blown out of proportion. There is no demons, spirits or whatever, people just want to go there and die because it’s popular now. God people are so stupid.

  • Turnbull A’s

    I sure that forest has a lot of energy of the people that have died but, I do not believe that the forest can lure you in. You can go hiking in there just to see and explore. The place is safe. I’m sure you may see lots of things if you take pictures.

  • Joe

    You mad?

  • Joe

    That’s a pretty selfish thing to say

  • James

    The ironic part in this entire discussion about god and demons and whatever else, is that Japanese culture does not practice religion like the Western culture. Japanese believe in the afterlife, in Buddha, not in some almighty person never proven to have existed, who only creates good, yet created the world and every living creature on it. Including handicapped people, criminals, gay people, etc. So what the f*ck are you praising ”God” in this discussion when the matter is a Buddhist one, regarding suicide as a closure to one chapter, and a beginning of the next? You hardcore christians are so weird…

  • Waldemar Teoburg

    You been there?

  • Karley Murphy

    Actually im pretty such compasses and gps won’t work within the forest because there are high levels of magnetic fields under the forest floor.

  • James, have you ever heard of karma? If so, then no point to mention the handicapped and so forth. Also, most Japanese people care little about Buddhism to any major degree, outside of tradition. On top of this, you have more than one Buddha. In reality, suicide is a global reality and sadly in some nations it is higher than in others. This part of Japan is very beautiful and irrespective of suicide, just like it happens in Tokyo and so forth, it is well worth a visit….

  • Raven Cassidy

    The fact that there are no wildlife in the forest.. Makes me feel like there is something going on in there that maybe could affect a humans mind and emotions. Energy does not either moves on and is reborn into new life or it festers and causes problems in the environment…

  • Harmony “Goth kid” Doubikin

    A suicide forest in japan makes me what to go to japan so much more. Because of the paranormal and the sightings i’ve read about in other articles makes me want to investigate the forest. I love the paranormal…..gotta check that place out.

  • Judy Riley

    Yes we are wierd. That is what Christians are supposed to be, set apart, a peculiar people. I wouldn’t expect you to understand. GOD is hard word into
    All of us, but of course you have the choice to reject Him

  • disqus_mqm9ZHZzZY

    Why do you speak for Japan? and you’re wrong. Japan mainly practices Shinto, which Shinto means the way of the gods.

  • Giorgi Khutsishvili

    After going in this forest, this guy couldn’t make it back… Rest in peace.

  • Casey0211

    I haven’t read all the comments, so this may have been brought up before. But Ian Fleming must have used the Suicide Forest as the inspiration for the Garden of Death of Ernesto Staavro Blofeld — James Bond’s arch-enemy — in the novel (but sadly not the movie) “You Only Live Twice.” Although in the Fleming imagination, the Japanese people who paid money for the privilege to die there were done in by assorted poisonous plants and creatures. I didn’t realize Fleming was inspired by a real place.