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First Expedition: Exploring Aokigahara

Hello and welcome to our first Official Expedition in the land of samurais.

In our very first expedition, we will be exploring the forest of Aokigahara in Yamanashi, Japan.

For those who are not that familiar with the forest, Aokigahara (aka Jukai or Sea of Trees in English) is a 35km forest that lies at the base of Mt. Fuji and contains a number of rocky, icy caverns, a few of which are popular tourist destinations. The forest is also a well-known place for suicides in Japan and supposedly the world’s second most popular suicide location after San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.

According to the suicide report released by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department last week, 10% of all suicide cases in 2009 occurred in that forest.

This trip is NOT for the faint of heart! Please bear in mind that some visitors have reportedly seen dead bodies, haunting and even heard unexplainable noises in a forest that is also known for its eerily silence due to the wind-blocking density of the trees and absence of wildlife.

These are a few related sites that I found for your reference:
• CNN Report – http://bit.ly/cREafu
• Weird Asian News – http://bit.ly/cBxgwp (contains some graphic images, viewer discretion is advised)
• Haunted American Tours – http://bit.ly/9xHea5 (contains some graphic images, viewer discretion is advised)

When are we going?
Saturday, June 5th 2010. Based on the weather forecast for that weekend (at least for now), the sun will be shining high in the sky on the 5th (fingers crossed!).

What are we doing?
Our trip will not be only about hiking, we will also visit at least one of the caverns (TBD) and do some dining in the Lake Motosu area.

Who will be joining us?
We will rent a car with capacity for 9 passengers. So, the first 9 individuals who reply ‘Yes’ will be joining us on this trip. For now we have 4 confirmed participants and if I get a lot of responses then I will try to squeeze in one more person, totaling 10 participants.

How are we getting there?
This is our plan…

TIME DETAILS
06.00AM Pick up the car
06.30AM Meet with everyone else at Shinjuku Sta. West Exit
09.00AM Arriving at Aokigahara
02.00PM Leaving Aokigahara
     | free time to visit other spots and eat
07.00PM Return to Tokyo
09.00PM Return the Car

How much will it cost?

Car Rent ¥20,000 (1-day hire)
Gas ¥10,000*1
Toll ¥ 6,400*1 (round trip)
Total ¥36,400*1
Total p/ Person
(with 8 participants)
¥ 4,550*1
Total p/ Person
(with 9 participants)
¥ 4,044*1
+ Personal Expenses ¥ 3,044

What to wear?
First and foremost, we must protect ourselves. So, wear long pants (jeans should be fine) tucked into your socks and hiking shoes that come well above your ankles.
Please mind that even if the weather is fine, inside the forest will be swampy.

So, would any of you guys be willing to sneak out for an ultimate adventure in the dark forest of Aokigahara on June 5?

We are taking all precautions to make this trip a safe one to all of us. And if you wish to join us, please reply by May 26.

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Alex Kawano.
Official HE Blog Author

*1 Estimated costs. The final cost might differ slightly.