Aokigahara Forest 青木ヶ原
Unspoiled expanses and wildlife in a forest on volcanic rock
Aokigahara Forest grew upon lava spewed from Mt. Fuji in the 9th century, its last major eruption. This thriving, dense forest stretches for 30 square kilometers. The porous lava bedrock absorbs sound and adds to the sense of isolation you may feel while trekking through this untamed territory.
- If you hold a compass to the rocky volcanic ground, it may react to the natural magnetism
- The ground is so hard that traditional hiking tools like spikes and axes cannot penetrate it
How to Get There
You can reach the forest by train and taxi or car.
Take the Chuo Line to Takao, then switch to the Takao-Shiojiri Line. At Otsuki, change to the Fuji Kyuko Line to Kawaguchiko Station. From there, it is a 30-40 minute drive depending on traffic.
Rich with wildlife
Because the area remains largely untouched, wildlife that is now extremely rare in Japan still lives and thrives here. You may be lucky enough to catch a quick glimpse of a Japanese mink, a wild boar, or the reclusive small Japanese mole. Asian black bears are also known to prowl the area, so be wary.
Birdwatchers might also get lucky and see anything from an oriental turtledove to one of the several species of cuckoo that inhabit the treetops.
The forest's infamous reputation
Inspiring both folklore and popular culture, the darker side of the forest has inspired a number of novels, TV shows, and films in Japan. According to Japanese folklore, yurei, a kind of tormented ghost, haunt the area.