After talking about Mount Fuji, the mountain that symbolizes Japan, let’s talk about the natural wonders that can be found at its feet, more particularly about one of Japan’s most beautiful forests: Aokigahara (青木ヶ原).
Aokigahara, also known as the Sea of Trees, is a forest on the northwestern flank of Japan’s Mount Fuji. The western edge of Aokigahara, where there are several caves filled with ice, is a popular destination for tourists and children on school trips. Parts of Aokigahara are very dense, giving it the flair of a magical forest. The Aokigahara woods are home to deer, foxes, bears and many species of birds, which can be heard whistling and chirping. The needle of magnetic compasses will move if placed directly on the lava, but compasses should work fine if held at a normal height.
The forest has a historical reputation for paranormal activity and as a home to “yūrei” or ghosts of the dead in Japanese mythology. In recent years Aokigahara has become internationally known as one of Japan’s most popular destinations for suicide, and signs at the head of some trails urges suicidal visitors to think of their families and contact a suicide prevention association.
Aokigahara has a dark and mysterious image to it, if you stay on the paths though, it is perfectly safe and definitely worth a visit and a long hike! It is a beautiful wonderful piece of nature, reminding of the forests seen in ghibli movies.