While Aokigahara has recently been in the news for all the wrong reasons, the area is actually a place of stunning beauty, and a popular tourist location. It is a much-visited area in Japan – being located around two hours from Tokyo, and north-west of Mount Fuji. The area is set among twelve square miles. Given its tranquil and peaceful nature, it has been called the ‘perfect place to die’. Regrettably, the area has become known as a poplar suicide site. The area however is well worth visiting, here it features in our travel section.
There are many positives about Aokigahara. Many people trek and hike in the area. Some trails lead to attractions like the Narusawa Cave – an ice cave that is frozen year-round. Aokigahara is also known for its incredible range of wildlife, such as butterflies and birds. There is also a remarkable range of flowers and fauna. Many in Japan consider it to be one of the most picturesque locations in the country. Due to the vastness of the forest, there is so much to explore, and the chances of seeing another person is small.
Unfortunately, there are the negative connotations of Aokigahara. It is a popular suicide spot in Japan, and has been for some times. In 2003, 105 bodies were recovered from the forest, while records state over 200 people attempted suicide in 2010. There are now various signs in the forest urging suicidal visitors to rethink. The forest has recently made Western news due to a prominent YouTuber posting footage online of himself and his entourage discovering a suicide victim in the forest. Thankfully, the sickening footage was hastily removed following a backlash.
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It is good to focus on the beauty of Aokigahara instead. As mentioned, there is a stunning range of flowers and wildlife. Designated trails can lead visitors to famous sites, while visitors are also able to explore the jungle at their own pace. If you are planning to visit, remember it is a vast forest, and therefore it is advisable to mark your progress as you advance through the jungle. Compasses too will be rendered near-useless thanks to the abundance of magnetic iron in the area. You could tie this in with a visit to Japan – check out our travel guide here. Focusing on the positives, Aokigahara is a stunning forest that is well worth visiting.