October 31, 2010

Aokigahara Jukai (Suicide Forest)

For such a beautiful, peaceful place, it has a macabre reputation. That's because every year about a hundred bodies are found in the forest. It's a popular location for committing suicide, so much so that signs warn potential victims to think about their families; and cameras keep track of those who enter the forest in case they don't make it out. Some hang themselves or take poison and others just kind of wander around until they starve. The hunt for bodies is an annual event.

Particularly in fall, Aokigahara makes for a nice walk. Visitors are warned not to stray off the path though because it's easy to get lost. The best way to get here is by car, that way you can take in the foliage of the Fuji Five Lakes area, and its spectacular view of Mt. Fuji. There are also a couple of ice caves in the area to explore. It is also possible to go by bus from Fujinomiya Station with the Kawaguchiko Station bound bus. In the peak season, you can stop for a delicious organic lunch at nearby Solar Cafe.

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