Aokigahara, also known as Jukai, “The Sea of Trees”, is a forest at the base of Mt. Fuji in Japan. Formed from volcanic rock and ash, the trees and rich soil create a beautiful landscape. But hidden within the unnatural quiet of the forest, is a darkness.
Back in Japans history, the local people practiced Ubasute, a tradition in which the old and sick were brought into the forest to die from exposure to the elements or starvation. The isolation, eerie silence and possibly the beauty of the place has some how turned it into a suicide hot spot. The modern popularity of the place becoming associated with death seems to have begun with a book called “Kuroi Jukai” (The Black Sea of Trees), which in short is a story about a jilted lover committing suicide in the forest.
Although the forest seems to have a kind of magnetic pool, if you will, one that attracts the forlorn. Here’s a tally of somewhat recent figures:
2002: 78 bodies
2003 : 105 bodies
2004: 108 bodies
2010: 54 bodies
By 2013 over 200 bodies had been removed from the forest. Japanese authorities try to keep from releasing the official tally of bodies each year in the fear of making the site even more popular. I’d say at this point, their concerns are nullified by the fact that even us foreigners know all about it. Routine search missions are common and usually performed by volunteers.
The most common method appears to be hanging but many have also been discovered in their tents dead from drug overdoses. They come out to camp in the woods and ultimately make the decision to kill themselves. I don’t really believe in ghosts, but I believe in an energy that exists in all things but if the traditional ghost does exist, then this has got to be one of the most haunted places on the earth. Needless to say, Nextie and myself plan to visit it one day.