What Is The Aokigahara Forest In Japan And Is It Really Haunted?

Japan has been a country for millennia, full of intriguing and mysterious places, such as expansive parks and forests. This includes the well-known Aokigahara Forest in Japan, which many believe to be haunted. 

Aokigahara, commonly known as the Sea of Trees, is a forest on Mount Fuji’s northwestern slope on Japan’s Honshu island.

There is a lot to learn about this ominous forest, open to the public but known to persons living in Japan as a place to avoid. 

View of Mount Fuji with Aokigahara forest 

The History Of The Aokigahara Forest 

The Aokigahara Forest can be found just northwest of the icon of Japan, Mount Fuji on the island of Honshu. Back in 864 CE, Mount Fuji erupted, paving a space of about 30 square kilometers where the Aokigahara Forest would eventually become established. 

Around some parts of the Aokigahara Forest, you are able to find caves and other areas of solitude and mystery.

The forest is known for being eerily quiet in some areas, being that the lava that is deep underneath the ground is able to absorb the sound in the area. 

There is a myriad of paths winding throughout the forest that make their way towards other tourist destinations in the area. 

The Nature And Wildlife Of Aokigahara Forest

The Aokigahara Forest is full of a variety of plants and wildlife. The forest is abundant with beautiful and lush bushes, moss, and trees.

There are also some herbal plants and wildflowers growing around the ground, including things such as species of daisies, geraniums, and wavyleaf basketgrass. 

In terms of wildlife, there isn’t a lot to be seen. There are a variety of birds that can be seen flying around the forest. There is also a myriad of butterflies species and other insects that can be seen during the warmer seasons.

Sign In The Forest Urging People To Keep The Forest Pristine And Clean

In terms of bigger animals, there are wild boar, Asian black bears, and deer, as well as smaller animals such as rabbits and squirrels. 

The Sad Truth Surrounding Aokigahara Forest And Japan 

In other areas of the world, the Aokigahara Forest is more well-known as The Suicide Forest. This is unfortunate because many people have chosen to end their lives in the forest.

There are numerous suicides reported in the forest each year, but the numbers are no longer announced to the public.

Due to the rise in suicides that have occurred in the Aokigahara Forest, there are many signs erected throughout the forest encouraging people to seek out help.

A Sign In Aokigahara forest To Prevent Suicides

Suicide sadly has a very deep-rooted history in Japan that dates back centuries, in part due to a suicidal practice called seppuku which was considered a noble act in Japan’s past. 

Even more heartbreaking is the fact that Japan has one of the highest suicides rates in the entire world. Japan has been taking active measures to try and change this, including around the Aokigahara Forest. 

There are also rangers that monitor the forest who will approach people that they see camping in the forest to make sure they are okay. It is believed that some people camp in the forest while contemplating their life. 

The Eerie Atmosphere Surrounding The Aokigahara Forest 

It is believed that the Aokigahara Forest is home to many ghosts, called yurei, in Japanese. This is part of what leads to the eerie atmosphere that many people report experiencing when in the forest, regardless of whether or not they believe in these spirits. 

It’s often believed that paranormal events, as well as spirits, are attracted to places that have a lot of death associated with them. If this is true, then it’s very clear why this forest would be haunted.

With the amount of death that happens here, it would attract both negative and positive energy. 

The Aokigahara Forest has not been manicured to be a tourist destination. This means that there are very uneven terrains to navigate around, as well as trees and greenery growing in all directions.

It’s also especially quiet, which visitors note is frighteningly isolating. The vast amount of trees also makes the forest feel very dark and overcast, even when the sun is out. 

Movies and other types of media have been made inspired by the Aokigahara Forest, leading to many theories being made about whether or not something evil lurks in the forest, causing those who enter it to not be able to leave. 

One such medium, a book called Kuroi Jukai, is a fictional story about lovers who end their lives in the Aokigahara Forest. This book has been found around the forest next to people who have passed away there. 

Legends Surrounding The Aokigahara Forest

Centuries ago there used to be a practice in Japanese culture called ubasute, where families that were struggling financially would bring their elderly or sick family members to isolated places and leave them there to pass on.

Some legends say the Aokigahara Forest was one of the most popular places to bring such family members. 

There are also legends within Japanese mythology that believe the forest is home to demons. Because of this, many Japanese people will refrain from entering the forest for any reason.

Aokigahara forest with A View Of Mount Fuji

There are also some mythical creatures or entities believed to roam the forest. One such creature includes Tengu, a bird demon known in Japanese culture. 

There is also a belief that there is something about the Aokigahara Forest that doesn’t allow some visitors to leave. This belief is often held by those who believe that the forest is full of spirits.

However, if this occurs, it could be for a practical reason. With how expansive and full of trees the forest is, it is very easy to get lost inside. 

Because there is a lot of iron and magnetic energy underneath the ground of the Aokigahara Forest, it can be difficult for technology to work properly, and it can also cause your compass or GPS to not work well.

Aokigahara Forest Location Via Google Maps

store at the entrance to the Aokigahara forest

Believers say this energy could also help feed anything paranormal that might be living in the forest, allowing it to manifest or appear. 

When combining the legends of this forest with the reality of how much death has occurred there, it’s believed that this has all led to very dark presences inhabiting the forest.

It is also believed that these dark spirits wish to cause harm to people who enter the forest. This has also fed the belief that Aokigahara Forest is one of the most haunted places in the world.

A Virtual Walk In The Forest

My fascination with Japan began several years back at a roadside bonsai stand while on vacation. I became more interested in the where and why's more than the trees themselves. My love of Bonsai led me to further research my interest in the gardens where they originated from and the places and people that surrounded those little trees. My curiosity was well rewarded upon visiting Saitama where the National Bonsai Museum was located and Omiya Village the bonsai mecca for lovers of this ancient art form. Exploring many towns and villages and even making my way to Japan's furthest southern prefecture of Okinawa. I hope to share my love of this wonderful and exotic place with all those who want to know more about Japan.