Bordering the famed Mount Fuji in Japan is a dark, sinister forest known as Aokigahara, or “The Sea of Trees.” Although from the outside it looks like your typical, run-of-the-mill forest, the inside is an entirely different story.
Aokigahara is the perfect place to set a horror movie, as it has become the second most popular location (the Golden Gate Bridge is currently ranked number one) for wary travelers to shuffle off this mortal coil by their own hands.
The forest has become so legendary as a prime suicide location that several signs have been erected and drilled into the trees pleading with travelers to reconsider making the Sea of Trees their final resting place. Others who choose to explore the supposedly haunted forest simply for the thrill of it may run the risk of coming across some of the many corpses there that have yet to be discovered.
Its haunted reputation stems not just from its sinister nature but from the legends that surround suicides in Japanese mythology. According to Japanese lore, those who leave this earth in a way deemed unnatural are doomed to remain on earth as wandering specters.
When a body is found, it is placed in a bed at a forestry station located nearby, next to an empty one for a loved one. Japanese lore states that the spirit, known as a yurei, will howl and scream into the night if left alone throughout the night.
The forest is mentioned in Wataru Tsurumui’s book The Manual of Suicides, and was even the subject of the 2004 movie Jyukai — The Sea of Trees Behind Mt. Fuji. Bodies are still being found there, often hanging from the trees and in varying states of decomposition. Many of those who venture into the sinister forest due to curiosity and not thoughts of ending it all can often stumble across skeletal remains and personal items, such as credit cards, wallets and rail passes.