About nine months ago, I remember a guy telling me to go to Fuji on May. That’s probably because of this – the grass sakura. I think it would have been majestic had Fuji-san graced us with her presence, but that is one elusive sight. Was it still worth it? For people who want to take a breather from the city, most definitely.
How to get there
From Kawaguchiko station (look at article Fujinomiya), go to Platform 7 for the Shibazakura. There’s a shuttle bus at JPY2000. That’s round trip, with entrance tickets included.
It’s a pity Aokigahara is famous for the suicide, when it is has a beautiful forests and plenty of caves. They have lava cave, wind cave and ice cave. We started with the Ice Cave, walked around 20 minutes to go to the Wind Cave, then walked around two hours across the forest.
It costs JPY600 to go to both caves, btw.
Narusawa Ice Cave
The cave is pretty small, and there’s an area that is around 3/4 of a meter high, so better practice your squats before coming here.
The wind cave path is right behind the toilet! Turn right, then walk for around 20 minutes. I doubt you’ll get lost. Don’t go off the trail!
Once we got there, I kind of got confused why it’s called a wind cave. Really. It looked just like the Ice Cave!
I am not a superstitious person but I’m pretty easy to scare. So when I knew I was walking into what is known as “Suicide Forest”, I was pretty scared. I kept on thinking that I’ll see some personal effects of those who have left. About five minutes later, I was kinda hoping. No luck.
How to get there
There’s a pass you can buy at the ticket booth in Kawaguchiko station for a two day unlimited pass for JPY1300. It passes through the Aokigahara area, and some parts north of the Kawaguchiko river. As one way fare to Aokigahara is JPY670, we decided to just buy the pass.
Superstitious or not, we were careful to follow the directions.
Now, after our trip, that’s when I started to read on Aokigahara. Here are some items I’ve learned:
This place has been mentioned in literature, one of which was the manual for suicide (in Japanese). So people actually go here. About a decade ago, they usually find a hundred bodies here (take note, find). However, with how famous the place has become, they stopped publishing the numbers.
The reason why it’s scary? It’s unnaturally quiet. As it is very dense, it probably serves as noise cancellation. Did I feel it? Nope. I am not a quiet person. So my friend and I were talking the ENTIRE time, sometimes with music. In hindsight, I’ll probably be scared had I been alone.
There are signs discouraging people from suicide. I didn’t see one – or maybe I saw one but didn’t recognize it as it’s in Japanese. But I did see a lot of “do not go off the trail” signs.
Years and years ago, they even had the practice of leaving people here to die. That and with all the suicides, the atmosphere is believed to be “malevolent”. Oh, and they even have a practice (based on one blog) where one person sleeps next to a dead body when found to appease the evil spirit.
Fuji is one of the more known areas in Japan for one simple reason – Mt. Fuji. I see Mt. Fuji even from my place in Tokyo, Odaiba. Unfortunately, when we got there, it was so cloudy we didn’t see Mt. Fuji at all. 😦
How to get there
1. Go to the Keio bus terminal near the south exit of Shinjuku, 4th floor. The fare is around JPY3,500 roundtrip, less 10% for students (just tell them at the counter). Book your ticket online as tickets sell fast. When I went, those with no reservations have to wait 3 hours. Ouch.
2. Get off at Kawaguchiko Station.
That’s it. Basically Kawaguchiko Station is the main transportation hub here.
We stayed at Hotel Mt. Fuji You, which is the cutesthostel I have ever been, at a decent price (JPY3,800 a night)