The Aokigahara forest is located in Japan at the foot of Mount Fuji. It is also called the suicide forest because a large number of suicides take place here annually. The suicides often seem to be inspired by the suicide of two lovers from the novel Kuroi Jukai (The Black Sea of Trees). The deadly silence, the deserted landscape, and the ominous atmosphere seem to act like a magnet on frustrated people who find their lives no longer worth living. In 2002, 78 bodies were found in the Aokigahara forest! A very mysterious and often feared place in Japan.

10. The Beginning


There have always been some cases of suicide in the forest, but after 1950 the increase began. The number of suicides exploded after the writer Seicho Matsumoto published his book ‘Kuroi Kaiju’ (Black Sea of Trees) in 1960. The story was about two lovers who eventually committed suicide in the Aokigahara forest. In 1993, another author named Wataru Tsurumui wrote the bestseller ‘The Complete Suicide Manual’ in which he presented the forest as the best place to die.

9. The Ubasute Legend

Old legends claim that Aokigahara was used for ‘Ubasute’. In Ubasute, according to legend, older villagers and family members were left behind in the forest. Women were especially victims. This was done during famines. This way there were fewer mouths to feed and according to the legend, the spirits of those who died lived on in the trees of Aokigahara.

8. Wandering Spirits

According to Japanese mythology, the Yurei wander through the Aokigahara forest. The Yurei are spirits that can take on various forms, according to the Japanese. They take the form of a pale woman with black hair dressed in a white kimono. According to mythology, they are the spirits of those who have committed suicide and who, because of their act, can never be reunited with their ancestors.

7. Warnings


Aokigahara is a public place that cannot be closed off. To do something nonetheless, the Japanese government has placed signs everywhere with texts like ‘Think of your family!’ and ‘Talk to the police before you take your own life!’ The government hopes to discourage desperate people from ending their lives.

6. Human Vultures


Sad but true: There are many people who go into the Aokigahara forest looking for the valuable possessions that corpses sometimes still carry. Some even wait until people commit suicide so they can grab the belongings immediately before the forest rangers find the body.

5. The Forest Rangers

It is the forest rangers who are responsible for removing the bodies from the forest. That seems like a tough task already, but there are even more procedures and rituals involved. The forest rangers bring the bodies to a special room in the police station. There, they draw lots to decide who will spend the night with the deceased. A ritual determines that a deceased must have company.

4. All Ranks and Positions

In the beginning, it was thought that only ‘Salarymen’ committed suicide in Aokigahara. The term Salarymen refers to the working class that is employed by companies. Soon it was clear that this was not the case at all. People from different backgrounds commit suicide in Aokigahara. The terminally ill, the depressed, to people who couldn’t cope with the loss of their family member. They all found and find their way to the Aokigahara forest.

3. A Popular Location for Films and Series

Aokigahara is a location where people like to shoot films. For example, the movie ‘The forest’ from 2016 was filmed there, as well as ‘The Sea of Trees’ from 2015. Various computer games and manga strips are also based on Aokigahara and the mysteries of the suicides that take place there.

2. Second Most Suicide Location

Only the Golden Gate Bridge in the Bay of San Francisco has more suicides to its name. The Aokigahara forest is second in the world. It is estimated that so far about 500 people have taken their own lives.

1. The Exact Number of Suicides is Unknown

As with the Golden Gate Bridge and other places where suicides often occur, the government never releases figures. They fear that making statistics public will attract even more people who want to end their lives. The difference, however, is that at the Aokigahara forest really nobody knows. Employees of Aokigahara estimate that there are about 70 each year. Due to the rugged natural conditions in the area, it is assumed that many bodies are never found and the number might even be much higher.

Menno, from the Netherlands, is an expert in unearthing fascinating facts and unraveling knowledge. At Top10HQ, he delves into the depths of various subjects, from science to history, bringing readers well-researched and intriguing insights.

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