Within the Sea of Trees

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Right beneath Mount Fuji in Yamanashi prefecture lies one of Japan’s largest and densest forests: Aokigahara, also known as the Sea of Trees. Its grounds were primarily shaped by vulcanic activity, leaving behind nutritious soil that is now home to an extremely rich ecosystem largely untouched.

Besides its appearance in Japanese mythology, which portraits it as a haunted place where souls linger, Aokigahara tragically gained dubious international fame as the “Suicide Forest”. Every now and then you read about people traveling here out of pure sensationalism. Not being fans of disaster tourism, this was obviously not the reason why we visited.

Framing the forest in such a way really doesn’t do it justice either. In contrast to some other natural attractions close to Tokyo, e.g. Nikko or Kamikochi, Aokigahara appears to be refreshingly devoid of mass tourism. Once you walk into the woods for 10 minutes it almost feels like stepping into a different world, without cars, blinking advertisement or crammed subway trains.

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