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Aokigahara: Suicide Forest

To the northwest of Mount Fuji on the island of Honshu in Japan, lies Aokigahara forest, or "blue tree meadow". The forest lies on 12 square miles of hardened lava laid down by Fuji, and due to the porous nature of the lava rock, most sound in the area is absorbed, creating an unnerving silence throughout the region. It is said to be the domain of the Yurei, or ghosts of the dead, in Japanese Mythology.

Some specifically come to Aokigahara forest with the intention to end it all. Some just come as dark tourists: to witness the sinister draw of the area, only to feel the energy of the forest persuading them to take their lives. Whatever the case may be, Aokigahara is often referred to the most popular site for suicide in Japan, and officials have even put up a sign at its entrance urging suicidal visitors to seek help and think of their families.

from 1998 to 2003, the number of bodies found in Aokigahara rose from 73 to 105, though the numbers are likely higher. The dense, secluded areas of the forest make finding bodies rather difficult, despite the annual body sweep that takes place before the holiday season. In recent years, government officials have stopped publicizing on the number of bodies found in an effort to disassociate Aokigahara with its disturbing reputation, however, it still remains legend to dark tourists around the world.

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