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First Expedition: Overview

Wowwww, what a trip!

Aokigahara has delivered what it has best in terms of nature and serenity. From the very instant you enter the forest, you feel completely overwhelmed by the beauty and complexity of the robust vegetation and at the same time relaxed by the wave of fresh air and silence.

It’s hard to believe that all this is only 2 hours away from Tokyo downtown and it’s even harder to describe what we’ve experienced last Saturday but to give you a little taste of it, we’ve posted some of the pictures taken on that very day.


(Click on the thumbnails to enlarge image.)

Despite the fact that our experience was a complete success, we must acknowledge the fact that throughout our journey we came across danger and distress.

For anyone wishing to explore the wild forest of Aokigahara, please come prepared and protected to face challenges on hiking trails and so on.

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Alex Kawano.
Official HE Blog Author

First Expedition: Thank You!

Thank you everyone who joined us on this amazing trip to Aokigahara last Saturday! The trip was perfect not only because you made it possible and also because you behaved well! haha!

A special ‘Thank You’ goes out to Wye-Khe who was constantly watching over everyone and Keio for driving us to our destination and back home safely.

Please follow our blog for more information on upcoming events and expeditions.

Looking forward to seeing you all again!

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to our RSS feed, or follow Haikyo Explorers on Twitter.

Alex Kawano.
Official HE Blog Author

First Expedition: Alternative Choices (aka Back Up Plan)

To all participants,

It seems like the Almighty is againt us and it is very likely it will rain this weekend.

In order to make your experience worth the cost, we would like to hear your opnion about what you would prefer to do in the event of rain on June 5.

Our friend YK has come up with a few choices. You will be able to see these choices and vote by accessing the link below.

Click here to cast your vote.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to our RSS feed, or follow Haikyo Explorers on Twitter.

Alex Kawano.
Official HE Blog Author

First Expedition: Gearing Up For Some Serious Adrenaline

Hello everyone and apologies for the delay to send updates on our first expedition.

As we’re all aware of, preparation is an essential factor for any outdoor adventure (specially this one!) and having the necessary supplies and equipment can make a difference in our overall enjoyment and experience. Due to this reason I will introduce some new information and rephrase a few others previously mentioned in past articles.

— Read it carefully —

Picking-up The Car
The car, a 8-passenger van, will be picked up at 6am on June 5. The car rental*1 is located only a few minutes from Shinjuku Station.

Where We Will All Meet?
We will meet a couple of blocks away from Shinjuku Station*1 at 6.30am. If for reasonable circunstances you cannot make it on time please let us know well before the departure time. Please note that we will be able to wait only until 6.50am.

There’s an old saying that goes, “If you are five minutes early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late. If you’re late, then you’ve got a lot of explaining to do.” I couldn’t agree more.

What You Should Bring
When heading out for a hiking trip there are some definite basic items you should bring along and the most important are definitely food and water.

01. Water: Bring at least 2 bottles (500ml) of water but don’t drink it just because you have it. Drink enough to stay hydrated and save what you can in case of an emergency. Remember anything can happen at anytime, don’t assume you won’t need it.

02. Food: We, of course, won’t be able to bring a three course meal with us but try to carry enough energy bars to not only satisfy you for the length of our hiking but also extra to keep you alive for at least a week.

03. Cell phone: Make sure the battery is 100% charged (It might be a good idea to also bring one battery pack that can be easily purchased at any convenience store in Japan. Make sure to check if the plug is compatible with your cell phone model) and if you don’t get a signal the first time, try moving to a different location if possible.

04. Compass: Why a compass? A compass can be very important not only if you get lost but also if you call for help you can then aid rescuers in figuring out where you might be. Remember that technology is dependant on power and can be unpredictable and unreliable but a compass will almost always work (Not sure if that applies for Aokigahara though!).

05. Blanket / Jacket: If you are constantly feeling cold in Tokyo then it might be a good suggestion to bring a small blanket or a very warm jacket. Inside the forest it can get quite cold in the afternoon (or because of the presence of some ghosts) even if it is extremely hot outside.

06. Change of Clothes: Bring at least one change of clothes in case you fall over, trip or slip. You don’t want to scare everybody away on the train with that Sadako (character from the movie ‘The Ring’) looks on you.

07. Hiking Shoes/Boots: This is totally optional and I am not saying that you should buy hiking shoes in case you don’t own one but the protection of your feet needs to be given top priority when hiking. Foot pain or discomfort can quickly take the fun out of hiking, and an injury could prevent you from walking at all. Hiking boots are designed to provide comfort and support for the feet and ankles while walking on rough and wet ground as in Aokigahara. Wearing them will significantly reduce the wear and tear on your feet and minimize the risk of an injury.

Costs
On this trip we will share costs for the car rent (incl. insurance), gasoline (round trip), toll (round trip) which must be paid by the end of the trip.

Car Rent ¥20,160 (1-day hire / insurance incl.)
Gas ¥10,000*2
Toll ¥ 6,400*2 (round trip)
Total ¥36,560*2
Total p/ Person
(with 8 participants)
¥ 4,570*2
Total p/ Person
(with 9 participants)
¥ 4,062*2
+ Personal Expenses ¥ 3,000

Please note that all spots were confirmed last week and if you cancel now or don’t show up on the day, you will still be liable to pay for your share.

Hiking can be fun and exciting but it can also be dangerous if we are ill prepared. A few rules we should hike by are to always tell someone where you are heading to and when they should expect you to return.

As for me, I am also gearing myself up with possibly every single thing to ensure the safety of every participant. Please mind yourselves that we will still head out to Aokigahara even if it rains.

If there is something you were not able to understand and/or wish to make a suggestion, please feel free to write it using the comment box below.

Looking forward to seeing you all next Saturday.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to our RSS feed, or follow Haikyo Explorers on Twitter.

Alex Kawano.
Official HE Blog Author

*1 For security reasons, I will send the location details to each participant by e-mail.
*2 Estimated costs. The final cost might differ slightly.

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.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to our RSS feed, or follow Haikyo Explorers on Twitter.

Alex Kawano.
Official HE Blog Author

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