Over the last few months this site has spotlighted a number of disturbing and creepy locations throughout North America. From the Island of Haunted Dolls to the Shining Overlook Hotel it’s pretty clear we have a lot of horrifying destinations in our own backyard. You can be sure even more terrifying American locales will be discussed in the future but for today lets look at what is likely the scariest and saddest place in Japan.
The Aokigahara forest is located just northwest of Mount Fuji and has become quite infamous over the last 50 years. The forest is also known as The Sea of Trees and more disturbingly as The Suicide Forest. Sadly, the name is well earned. Since 1971 up to 100 bodies A YEAR have been discovered and removed from the forest with annual averages hovering around 70. Suicide is the leading cause of death for Japanese men between the ages of 22-44 and it’s become so endemic that estimates show suicide occurs once every 15 minutes in Japan.
The most popular method of suicide in Aokigahara is hanging. It’s not uncommon for frequent visitors to come across bodies strung up in trees. The Japanese people have a tradition of honorable suicide that divorces the act from the terrible social stigma it has in the west. Changing these attitudes has become a decades long battle against centuries of tradition. In an effort to dissuade suicide attempts local authorities have put up signs along the hiking trails urging visitors to reconsider taking their lives.
Recently a horror movie used Aokigahara forest as the backdrop for a psychological thriller. The movie, called The Forest, received a 10% score on Rotten Tomatoes and was criticized heavily for its lack of action, racial insensitivity, and trivialization of real world suicide. You can check out the trailer below.