Can You Go Into Aokigahara Forest? | All About Japan’s Suicide Forest

Can You Go Into Aokigahara Forest? | All About Japan’s Suicide Forest

Jun 06, 2024Jon Ng

urious about the Aokigahara forest in Japan? Wondering if can you go into Aokigahara Forest as a tourist? Also known as Japan's suicide forest, Aokigahara has caught tourists' attention internationally and can be visited.

Aokigahara Forest, also known as the Sea of Trees, is located in the northwest part of Mount Fuji in Japan. It is an eerie and mysterious place, which has gained an infamous reputation internationally as Japan's Suicide Forest.

This dark history has not stopped the forest from becoming a popular tourist destination. People from all over the world visit in order to explore its serene atmosphere, diverse wildlife, and various landmarks.

Although this dense forest has darkness and suicides associated with it, Aokigahara forest is also a place to marvel at.

You probably had heard about this place before, as it became a hot topic of discussion in 2017 when YouTuber Logan Paul posted a disturbing video of a suicide victim found hanging in this forest.

However, even before Paul’s video, it was widely famous as a suicide place in Japan.

In fact, the Aokigahara forest has always been a popular destination for years among both curious hikers and, of course, those who intend upon ending their own lives.

Let's explore Aokigahara Forest in detail.

Can You Go Into Aokigahara Forest

You can go into Aokigahara Forest as it is open to tourists. While it may not be the safest destination to visit, it is possible to book tours with a local guide or go in on your own. It is not recommended to explore the forest alone due to the health risks and the lack of reliable resources.

For example, there is no cellular signal in Aokigahara Forest so it would be difficult to get help if you are hurt or lost.

A tour with a local guide will cost around 160 US dollars, which is about the average cost for a guided tour in the forest.

The guided tour usually includes a visit to the forest and its plethora caves, explanations from the guide about the history and culture of the forest and some basic safety tips, like keeping away from known high-risk areas. 

Aokigahara Forest is also home to a large variety of flora and fauna that make the forest a great destination for nature lovers who are looking to explore a dark but still beautiful and surreal part of Japan. 

The forest is filled with dense vegetation and the ground is often covered with thick layers of fallen leaves, making it the perfect place to spot rare birds, mammals, and insects. 

For the more adventurous, there are plenty of activities such as hiking, camping, and even photography opportunities. 

So yes, you can go into Aokigahara Forest. However, if you do choose to visit the forest it is important to know the risks and dangers that come with it. 

It is best to do your research and look into taking a tour with a local guide to ensure that you are safe and that you are respecting the forest and its culture.

Situated on the northwest side of Mount Fuji, Aokigahara is also known as the Sea of Trees (Jukai).

With an area of 13.5 square miles, it’s a landmark where many people choose to walk in with no intention of coming back ever.

Aokigahara forest at the base of Mount Fuji

At least since 1960, Aokigahara has become connected with suicide, eventually started to be recognized by the nickname “The Suicide Forest”, and gained a title of the world’s most-used suicidal sites.

Now, I will tell you some terrible truths and scary facts about the suicide forest that creates Aokigahara’s horrible fame.

Japan's Suicide Forest: Interesting Facts

Aokigahara Forest Is The Second Most Popular Suicide Destination

Many people don’t know that Aokigahara is the second most famous suicide spot, and the first one is Golden Gate Bridge (suspension bridge in San Francisco).

But, as the suicide forest is connected to numerous controversies and a great tourist destination, it gained more recognition than the Golden Gate Bridge.

It Is Believed that Aokigahara Forest Is Home to Yurei Or Ghosts

It’s believed that this grove is haunted by yurei or ghosts of the dead, who have committed suicide here.

Historically, this forest was renowned as a spot where monks would go to starve themselves to death.

Suicide forest in japan

And, many people have experienced paranormal activities while visiting this place.

Even if someone goes to this forest to wander around they are still at risk of never coming out due to the horrifying atmosphere.

It's Believed That Ghosts of The Dead Encourage Suicide In This Forest

As expected, there are numerous mystic stories about the suicide forest in Japan.

One popular story is that the spirits of the dead roam through the trees of this jungle and encourage people to attempt suicide.

Doesn’t it sound scary? Wait, there is more to know!!

It is widely trusted in Japanese folklore that when a person dies suddenly or violently, they become ghostly spirits.

Inside japan's suicide forest

They transfer their anger to those who stroll around the place.

For example, many people say they feel suddenly anxious without any reason and start to panic.

Now, imagine having such kind of feeling when already dealing with suicidal thoughts.

Anyway, this is just a story, and nothing is confirmed whether it’s true or not.

Lots Of People Have Tied Ribbons On TheTress To Find Their Way Back

If you go inside the Suicide Forest, one of the first things you will notice is ribbons.

Maybe it doesn’t sound frightening to you, but the story is something that you might not have imagined.

Well, each of these ribbons indicates someone who has gone into the forest intending to kill themselves.

Most people take a long piece of colored tape or string and tie it to the trees one by one while entering the forest.

Tape in forest

The reason behind this is, in case that person changes their mind about not attempting suicide, they could find their way back out by following the string.

If you follow these ribbons, there is a high chance that you will discover a dead body at the end of them, usually hanging from the trees.

When the forest itself is a beautiful natural spot, it’s unfortunate that most people come here not to go back again.

Anyway, visitors and volunteers who search for bodies also use tape to mark their way inside the grove so that they don’t get lost and easily find their way out.

You'll Find Lots of Personal Belongings At The Aokigahara Forest

Another distressing discovery you should expect in this haunted wood in Japan is the victims' personal items, such as notebooks, mobile phones, clothing, food leftovers, and many more.

It’s because many people come here and take some time to go over their thoughts on whether to suicide or not.

Fortunately, some change their minds after spending weeks here and finally return home.

Used bottles on the ground

You might also find empty bottles along with packets of prescribed drugs.

Although most of the victims choose to hang themselves, some people opt for overdose on such medication.

What makes all of these items more chilling is when you realize each of them is connected to a once alive person.

A Novel About The Aokigahara Forest Made The Suicide Tradition Popular

Seicho Matsumoto, a Japanese writer, released the tragic novel Kuroi Jukai (Black Sea of Trees) in 1960, where a heartbroken lover went into the forest to end her life.

This romantic imagery has somehow proved an evil influence on Japanese culture.

Also, this book referred to Aokigahara as a perfect place to die.

Aokigahara forest

That’s the reason why this novel has been found among the abandoned belongings of numerous suicide forest visitors.

However, this was not the beginning of Aokigahara’s dark legacy.

Look into the next segment to know how it all started.

The Brutal History of Suicide Forest

Most people think that the suicide forest became famous in the late 20th century.

But the truth is the dark legacy started way before this period.

It is believed that in the 1800s, several families used to bring their elderly to this place and leave them to die with dignity in the woodland.

view of suicide forest

The causes of this have their roots in popular literature and mythology. According to local lore, Aokigahara was formerly the site of ubasute, the practice of transporting a sick or old relative to a secluded location and leaving them there to perish.

The abandoned people mainly were older women, and the reason behind such kind of cruciality was to reduce the number of mouths for feeding.

Still, some insist that there was no such occurrence, and it is just grim folklore.

Regardless, stories of suicide forest being a site for abandonment have always been a part of its myth.

On Average 100 Suicide Victims Are Found In Aokigahara Forest

Approximately 100 bodies a year are found in the forest, but it’s not the actual corpse number as many remain undiscovered.

In 2002, 78 bodies were discovered in the forest, and in 2003, they found 105 bodies.

In 2010, the police reported that more than 200 people were attempting suicide here, of whom 54 were succeeded.


The annual searches for the dead have been held since 1970.

In recent years, local officials have stopped announcing the number of dead bodies to decrease Aokigahara’s association with suicide.

Special groups search the grove, and after finding any body, they immediately notify the police.

In case they discover someone alive who is contemplating taking their life, volunteers escort those people back to “safe houses” near the forest.

Signs Are Placed Everywhere In the Forest to Discourage Suicide

Upon entering the forest, you will notice several warning signs placed around, specifically told not to commit suicide.

Sign in Aokigahara forest

Not only the purpose of these signs is to convince victims to change their minds, but also to advertise multiple phone numbers of the organization that assists people coming out from the dark frame of mind.

Whether the signs make any difference or not, at least authorities are trying their best to save lives as much as possible.

You Can Easily Get Lost In The Aokigahara Forest

Many visitors come here to prove their bravery by spending the whole night in the forest. Although I don’t encourage this type of activity, it's a personal preference.

Note that this kind of ambition is often seen as disrespectful by many Japanese. Anyway, if you insist on staying here, I suggest you camp on the official trail paths.

camp in forest

Previously, there were incidents when people went deep into the forest while trying to be cool & adventurous and ultimately were lost inside.

What’s more problematic is, the temperature often drops to freezing at night, which potentially causes further issues.

Hence, please be prepared beforehand if you plan to stay overnight.

Also, keep in mind that numerous people sensed supernatural existence there, so you should avoid camping in the forest at night.

Still, if you are desperate, take your friends with you and don’t be alone.

By the way, there is something unusual about Japan’s suicide forest.

Move to the next section to know what it is.

GPS And Cellphone Networks Won't Work Inside The Aokigahara Forest

Because of the rich magnetic iron in the soil of the Aokigahara forest, GPS systems, cellphone, and even compasses don’t work properly here.

Some people believe that this feature is proof of demonic existence in the dark.

compass in the forest

You know what, I don’t understand why these ghosts are always after the tech items!!

I think they just wanted to play with all types of electronic things, especially electricity!!

Okay, story aside, just be careful while going in this silent forest, and don’t forget to tape your way as it is the best you can do.

The Aokigahara Forest Sees Most Suicides in Spring

In spring, the weather in Japan becomes warmer, and it’s also the peak suicide season at Aokigahara Forest.

Reportedly, suicide rises in March when Japan’s fiscal year ends.

People Travel From Far Away To Make Aokigahara Forest Their Final Resting Place

A recent government report declares that from 2013 to 2015, more than 100 people who were not from the surrounding area of Aokigahara Forest had killed themselves here.

Till now, I have mentioned some creepy things about japan’s suicide forest.

It’s time to know certain information regarding this country’s relation to suicide.

Japan Has A Prolonged Tradition of Suicide

Unfortunately, self-inflicted death in Japan isn’t considered a disgrace like the other nations.

Seppuku is a samurai ritual, where suicide was thought to be honorable in japan’s feudal era.

Although this practice is no longer a norm, it somehow left a mark.

The author of “Why Do People Commit Suicide?” said that traces of the Seppuku culture can be seen today in the way that suicide is considered as a means of taking responsibility.

The Suicide Measure in Japan Is One of The Highest in The World

In the year 2022, it was recorded that 21,584 committed suicide in Japan which was a 2.7% increase from the previous year.

In January 2009, 2,645 suicides were recorded throughout the whole country, and the reason was the global financial crisis of 2008.

In the year 2011, the executive director of a suicide prevention hotline stated to the Japan Times that most callers mention mental health and family problems as the cause for contemplating suicide.

And behind that, there are some other issues like losing a job or financial circumstances.

Japanese Government’s Plan for Preventing Suicide

Because of the higher suicide rate, the government of Japan has taken action to reduce the speed.

Part of these measures includes installing security cameras at the entrance of Suicide Forest and increasing patrols.

Suicide counselors, as well as the police, posted signs throughout the forest with messages like, “Your life is a cherished gift from your parents” and “Think carefully about your family & children.”

sign in suicide forest

By the way, Aokigahara Forest has been referred to several media like anime, literature, music, video games, and movies.

So, without visiting this grove, you can enjoy the forest’s sensation by watching a movie sitting on your couch.

Here I am gonna mention them now.

Movies About Suicide Forest in Japan

The 2015 film “The Sea of Trees” with Ken Watanabe, Matthew McConaughey, and Naomi Watts, tells a story happening in this suicide forest.

Also, the 2016 horror film “The Forest” is based on Aokigahara.

Aokigahara forest in morning

Watching these films can truly give you some nerve-wracking experience.

But, I want to mention that the government of Japan also discouraged movies and TV shows based on this forest as it might promote the reputation of Aokigahara as a place to end one’s life.

Hence, if you watch these movies, I hope it’s for your entertainment.

The Aokigahara Forest Has A Naturally Frozen Cave

Well, not everything about this woodland is frightening as you will find a famous tourist attraction, Narusawa Ice Cave.

This cave remains frozen year-round and has an average temperature of 37.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

Narusawa Ice Cave

Besides this, there is another attraction called The Lake Sai Bat Cave, which is situated inside a lava tunnel.

It is also the largest cave in Aokigahara, over 1268 feet long.

Types of Animals That Live in Suicide Forest

This place is perfect for birdwatchers who enjoy observing birds in a natural environment.

You will spot several bird species like Japanese Thrush, Siberian Thrush, Japanese White-eye, Pygmy Woodpecker, Japanese Grosbeak, Eurasian Jay, Willow Tit, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, and Lesser Cuckoo.

willow tit bird

Other mammals that live in Suicide Forest are deer, Asian black bear, wild rabbit, fox, wild boar, mice, Japanese squirrel, and Japanese mink.

It is also home to different insects such as beetles, numerous species of butterflies, and many more.

How Was Aokigahara Forest Created?

The Aokigahara Forest was created from an eruption of the famous volcano Mount Fuji in 864.

This eruption resulted in 12 square miles of lava being spread all over where the forest now stands.

Fuji volcano

After the lava hardened, nature took control of the region as trees and hemlock grew in abundance.

The explosion of lava also built some strange caves. Many of these are still unexplored, adding more layers to this mysterious woodland.


In this writing, I have described many unknown things about Japan’s suicide forest that you probably had no idea about before.

For once, this article doesn’t intend to introduce a location where readers are encouraged to visit.

If you are interested in Japan, you already know that this country is filled with beautiful & unique places, festivals, and exceptional cuisine.

So, I hope you will only look forward to visiting this country for entertainment purposes.

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