Aditya Wardani #stellerjapan

AOKIGAHARA FOREST

Aokigahara (青木ヶ原?), in Yamanashi Prefecture, also known as the Suicide Forest or Sea of Trees (樹海 Jukai), is a 35-square-kilometre (14 sq mi) forest that lies at Mount Fuji's northwest base in Japan. The forest contains a large number of rocky icy caverns, a few of which are popular tourist destinations. Aokigahara forest is very dense, shutting out all but the natural sounds of the forest itself.

So, when I found out that Aokigahara Forest was on our itinerary list in Yamanashi, I was like, "Oh, GREAT!" *poker face* And there were NOOOOO, I mean, almost no positive review or stories about the forest in the internet. From what I read, Aokigahara is the BEST place to do your suicide. That's it. Fullstop.

"I've seen plenty of bodies that have been really badly decomposed, or been picked at by wild animals... There's nothing beautiful about dying in there." -Local Policeman-

But duty is duty. So, I preparef myself for the worst.. Expelled.. Um, I mean, getting lost in the middle of the forest, or witnessing some deadbodies laying around the area.. Sounds good, eh?

Since my trip was on summer, I only wore a pair of training pants, flanel shirt, and sneakers. My guide had already told me that we were going to do some hiking, around 2-3 kilometers in the forest, before we hit the ancient ice cave, our main destination. Ice cave on summer sounds really perfect, doesn't it?

But no worries! We went fullteam! :D

There was my Japanese guide, Yuka, who drove the car, and Jennifer, our exotic guide sitting next to Yuka.. Then there was me in the middle left, and Dian in orange hijab, then Cak Mus, the camera person. At the back seat were Brandon and Gui, our new friends from the US and Brazil. Nothing would haunt a big crowd! *finger crossed*

TIP:

If you don't have private car, you can ride on bus or train from all over Japan. Just go straight to Kawaguchi Station. From here, you can take another bus to the feet of Mount Fuji, but it is recommended to hire a local guide to go to the forest.

More info: www.yamanashi-kankou.jp

Fortunately, we have a very communicative local guide during the tour. His name is Tadasuke Omori, or Tada-San.

Tada-San is one of the locals who can speak English fluently. He works at Country Lake System in Minamitsuru-gun, Kawaguchi, an eco tour agency. You can make a booking at http://www.c-ls.jp. Here, they will provide you with all the equipments, such as a thick jumpsuit, helmet, boots, and flashlights. You're really going to need them.

The forest was very beautiful. The air was really fresh altough it was in summer. You can find animals footprints around the trees.

At first, I was a little scared because there were many forbidden signs and police lines before entering the forest. But Tada-San made us sure that we were not going to see what "we want to see".. :D He seemed to know the area very well, even with eyes closed. No wonder, he was born there, and Aokigahara is just a common playground for the locals.

I have read that compass wouldn't work in Aokigahara Forest. We proved it. Brandon's compass was just moving around when we placed it on the surface of the ground. Tada-San explained, it happened because the land is made from the Mt. Fuji frozen lava hundreds of years ago, so it's literally rocks now. And that's why magnetic compasses are not working because of the magnetic anomalies.

SO, NEVER GET LOST IN AOKIGAHARA.

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After one hour walking, we arrived at the top of the ice cave, the Fugaku Fuketsu.

The ice cave was about 10 meters under the surface. And you'll be greeted by big rocks covered with green moss. The temperature dropped dramatically, and we started to freeze in front of the cave door.

The cave was really deep. And it was very dark, narrow, and slippery. Our equipments were really helpful at that time, because the temperature dropped again to minus two degree Celcius inside.

We once tried to turn all the lights off.. But not more than 5 seconds.. :D With no lights at all, you will start to chill because of the dark.

Unfortunately, we went at the end of summer. That meant almost no ice at all. What you see here is the view during the winter-spring. But even tough the ice melts in summer, the temperature is always the same the whole year, around 0 to -2 degree Celcius inside the cave. That's why the ancient locals used the cave as refrigerator. The trip was really worth it, and none of the urban legend showed up.. ^^ Will be back again in spring.

THANKS TO:

Yamanashi Prefecture www.yamanashi-kankou.jp www.c-ls.jp #aokigahara #japan #yamanashi #literature #suicideforest #creepy Wikipedia www.atlasobscure.net

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