On my trip to Japan I had the chance to explore the infamous Suicide Forest on my own. It’s quite easy to get there, the problem is once you are inside the forest gets so dense it gets a bit hard to see the path. There are some signs that tell you were to go, but they are all in Japanese and I don’t know the language.
The forest was born on top of the solidified lava of one of Mt Fuji’s biggest eruptions 1200 years ago. There are several Japanese legends that claim that the forest is cursed. A long time ago, in times of drought and famine, Ubasute was performed here, which consisted on abandoning kids or parents on a desolated place, as a form of euthanasia. Nowadays is the second most popular place in the world to commit suicide. In 2003 they found 105 bodies.
What really caught my attention about this place was it’s nickname “Sea of Trees”, once inside I quickly understood why they call that way. Its impressive to be surrounded by so many trees, plus rocks, roots and branches covered in green moss made me feel I was inside a fairy tale.
A lot of people have asked me if I saw weird things, apparently is common to find shoes or bones. The only odd thing I saw was a huge rope, I could tell it had been there for a long time. I want to think it might have been use to hold an old tree, or maybe someone used it to mark their way. I didn’t take a picture of it because if someone really used it to commit suicide, taking a picture would have been extremely disrespectful.
In despite of the stories, I never felt a “weird vibe”. In any case I felt absolutely solitude, which is hard to feel in today’s extremely busy world that we live in. The porosity of the lava absorbs the sound, so inside you can’t hear anything. The feeling is beyond description.
After walking for a bit I ran into the first intersection, all in Japanese, but I was lucky enough to run into a group of Japanese photographers leaded by a guide and they explained to me were to go. Japanese people are usually extremely nice, but these were over the top. Smiling and very kind, they told me to be very careful. I guess is not common to see a lonely girl wandering through that forest. They were the only people I saw inside.
There were two moments I got nervous. The first one was on the second intersection, left of right. I had absolutely no idea where to go. Im trying to learn Japanese so Im on a Facebook group that helps people learn the language. So I took a picture, posted it on the group and they told me where to go. Apparently there is not a lot of reception in the forest, I guess I got lucky.
The second was almost towards the end. The forest got so dense that it was difficult to see the path. My brain thought it was a great moment to ask myself “remember Blair Witch Project?” and then “remember The Ring, but the Japanese version when they found Samara on a cabin in the woods?”. There I freaked out. I took a deep breathe and tried to continue. I wish my mind hadn’t decided to play tricks on me because at that point the path got more challenging, tons of rocks to jump and huge trees to go under.
It took me around 2 hours to walk out. I took some pictures and shot some clips that I used to create the video on this post. It was an amazing experience for sure, but if you go make sure to write down the kanji of were you must go.
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