For our five year anniversary, my wife and I decided to make a trip to Japan. We were
always passionate about the culture. In fact, when we first met we bonded over that mutual
interest. After a week or so of planning, we had made arrangements to spend 3 days over
in the Yamanashi Prefecture, a countryside area right next to Mt. Fuji.
We flew over to Tokyo, took a train over to Fujiyoshida City and from there a taxi to
Narusawa Village, where we would be staying. During the train ride, my wife asked me if
I wanted to visit Aokigahara, which at the time I had never heard of. She explained it
was a forest at the base of Mt. Fuji, famous for being one of the most popular spots for
suicide in Japan. The whole suicide thing kind of freaked me out, but I went along with
it since it was smack-dab on her face that she really wanted to go there.
We stayed at a local ryokan, a traditional Japanese-style inn with natural hot spring
baths, traditional tatami rooms with futons instead of beds, the whole thing. In these
inns, costumers usually get one waitress assigned to them at all times, meaning in the time
youll spend there youll usually only interact with one waitress. We got the head
waitress assigned to us, since she could speak a bit of English and so could communicate
better with us. The day we got there, we were exhausted so
we spent most of the afternoon in our room just resting. A bit before sunset we took
a walk around the block, fascinated by the contrast of old styled houses and modern utilities
like vending machines and ATMs. Not far from where we were, there was a lookout point that
looked like it had a great view of the entire area, from Mt. Fuji down to Saiko Lake. My
wife got all excited with the discovery and asked to go there. I wanted to tell her that
wed go there the next day, since I was so tired and just wanted dinner and sleep,
but when you look at your lovers pleading face at sunset you just cant bring yourself
to refuse their wishes. When we got up there the twilight had already
turned into pure night. Like we thought, the view was great. We could really see a big
chunk of the countryside Japan we loved so much, and standing there with her just enjoying
the scenery was an amazing moment for me. One of the dominant features of this view
was Aokigahara, which had its contours illuminated by small buildings and roadside lamp posts,
but was grew darker the further inward you looked. It was at that moment that I noticed
that I was spinning around in place getting a good look at every single nook and cranny
but my wife wouldnt take her eyes of the forest.
Jokingly, I told her to snap out of it but her face remained serene yet almost melancholic.
She quickly turned toward me and said: Lets go to Aokigahara right now. This time I
just couldnt fulfill her wish. It was dark out, I was tired and the thought of going
inside a forest famous for suicides wasnt sitting well with me. She kept insisting and
I kept refusing, until it got to the point where we were both walking back toward the
ryokan in a sour mood. Some ryokan have an outdoor hot spring bath
per room, but the one we were staying in was the more traditional kind with a common male
bath and a common female one. Still bitter about what had happened earlier, I told my
wife I'd go and take a bath before dinner and suggested she should do the same. She
agreed and we each went into our respective baths. About half an hour later I went back
to our room and she wasn't there. I assumed she was still in the bath but not long after,
the head maid came in and gave me a neatly folded piece of paper. In faulty but understandable
English she explained that my wife had given her instructions to deliver me that note when
I got back from my bath. It read: 'I went there anyways.'
I rushed outside, mad but worried. Despite the whole scary suicide forest thing, a real
concern was that she was alone at night in a country we only knew from an outside perspective.
It wasn't difficult to make your way towards Aokigahara since there were signs all over
the streets pointing you there, but it was still around a 30 minute walk from the inn
we were in. Running with a cause, I got to the first wall of big trees that marked the
entrance to the forest in about 15 minutes. I admit it took all I had to muster up enough
courage to enter Aokigahara, but I did it bent on finding my wife.
One thing I didn't know at the time was that it was common for people who were planning
to commit suicide inside the forest to tie a rope to a tree near the entrance and drag
it along with them the deeper they went inside. This was so that if the person had second
thoughts, they could find their way out of the maze-like forest. In this haunting and
claustrophobic environment, with nothing but my phone as a light source, seeing all the
different ropes twisting and intertwining in every direction that could very well lead
to a corpse, with the occasional abandoned set of camping equipment tossed around the
floor was the most frightening thing I had ever seen.
There are frequent searches made by the local police and volunteers to get the dead bodies
out of the forest. I found out first-hand how they discover said bodies: following the
ropes and the rotten smell. Getting deeper and deeper into Aokigahara, I came across
hung bodies lightly swaying in the tree branches and decomposing bodies inside destroyed tents.
The thick air was suffocating, the light dim enough to make you second guess your eyes.
And the smell...I puked as I came across the third body I found, the putrid stench combined
with the fear got the better of me. There was no way of telling if I was close
to her. I was just going in a random direction scared to even shout her name. But then I
heard leaves cracking somewhere to my left, and slowly followed the sound. What I found
was a rope, in one end tied to a nearby tree and the other end merged with the darkness
further inside the forest. It was twisting and turning like someone was pulling it from
the other side which meant someone was at the other end of this rope, and it could very
likely be her. Another thing I didn't know at the time about
Aokigahara was that since long ago it has been a very spiritual place.
Following this rope that very well represented my hope and guide light, I somehow felt a
bit safer and relieved, like she just had to be on the other end. At this point the
deeper I went the less corpses I found, I was so deep inside the forest I had reached
the point where everyone that came here had already done the deed or had a change of heart.
The rope was getting steadier like I was close to the end of it, and that's when the voice
appeared. -"I thought you loved me."
-"You said we were meant to be." -"Was I not good enough?"
-"How could you do this to me?" From the trees, from the air, from my mind,
from everywhere. Her voice taunting me, accusing me. I hastened my pace now even more anxious
to find her. To apologize to her. -"I knew all along."
-"I thought you'd stop." I was now sprinting towards the end of the
rope. I could finally make up a human silhouette on the far-out darkness. Getting closer, I
could say for sure that it was her. But she was not alone.
In Japanese folklore, shinigami or death gods are usually depicted as disfigured, mutilated
white beings with humanoid features, often carrying a bladed object like a knife or a
scythe akin to those shown in western portrayals of the grim reaper. The creature in front
of me, grabbing my wife by her hair with its rotten, cracked hands was just like the ones
I had seen in books. The fear and shock made it hard to realize at first, but all that
it was grabbing was her head. The rest of my wife was at the creatures feet, cut
clean at the neck. It started walking towards me, still holding her head, in contorted painful
looking steps. Grabbing the rope I used to get there, I ran back as fast as I could like
my life depended on it. I'm sure at that time it really did.
When I got out of the forest still in shock, I desperately tried to ask for help to whomever
I came across on the roads that surrounded Aokigahara. The language barrier was too strong,
but they could see I was frightened and in panic so they called the police. Turns out
the only person who spoke even a bit of English in the village was the head maid in the ryokan
we were staying in, so the police went and got her so she could translate for me. Now
a bit calmer, due to pure exhaustion, I was able to explain to her what had happened and
what I had seen. The look on her face as she heard me was difficult to understand. She
turned to the police officers and other random folk that where surrounding me and said something
to them in Japanese. They all got the same look on their face and talked amongst themselves.
Finally she turned towards me and said: We dont talk about it. We leave it alone.
The local police reported the case as just another suicide. I couldnt explain to our
family and friends what had really happened. From that day onward, even during her funeral,
I had to pretend she had committed suicide in Aokigahara, like so many others did. But
I never understood why I heard those voices inside the forest. For three months I just
assumed it was a fear-induced hallucination, but just this morning, as I was cleaning my
living room, I found a letter behind a framed picture of us. It was a suicide note that
started with the sentence: I know you cheated on me.
i was having problems sleeping at night, and I was going through "Kanashibari," almost
everynight. I think a lot of it had to do with me moving out of my old apartment, moving
into this one. I wanted to stay at a more "up-Scale" place, so I can could bring my
friends over. There was nothing wrong about my new place, except for the "Kanashibari."
Kanashibari is a phenomenon where your body wont move. It is quite commen in Japan, where
many Japanese people have said to experience this.
It is said to be caused by the supernatural..... my Kanashibari got worse, and I realized that
everytime I felt my body going numb in my bed, I could see someone standing in the corner
of the room. I cant move, or talk during "Kanashibari,"
so I just move my eyes to glance over to the corner. It is a man, and he is not someone
from this world. He seems quite content, standing and staring
At first, I was annoyed and scared of this
ghost, but I realize he doesnt do anything. He just causes my Kanashibari, and he stares.
Soon, I will fall back to sleep and I will wake up the next day.
I thought he was harmless, until months had passed by. My body was weak, and I was losing
weight because of lost in apetite. My hair was starting to thin out, and I always had
dark circles under my eyes. When I went back home during a weekend, my mother made me go
to the hospital. The doctors couldnt find anything wrong, so I told her about the ghost
that lives in my new apartment. She was furious.
We went to a temple together, and told the monk about my story. He told me to pray during
my Kanashibari. In my head, instead of thinking about how to go back to sleep.
When I went back to my apartment, I felt a chill. It felt like, something was angry that
I left for a few days. Before, this ghost wasnt much of a threat. But soon I realize
that it might be something more than a man's ghost.
That night, my Kanashibari happened again. Soon as my body couldnt move, I saw the ghost
in the corner of the room. I assumed, that the ghost will stay in the corner as always,
but it turns out that it wont... It took a step, than another.......
When he was close enough, I could see his face.
Oh Shit. There was something very wrong about his face....
It was way past angry, but more like an insane frenzy going on in his head.
I started to pray, and I prayed fast as I could..
The ghost, seemed to notice I was praying.... He started to twist his face, and he let out
a big scream like he was in pain. After a minute, he was gone.....
I kept on praying for a few minutes, but soon I realize everything was ok.
That's when I heard "Do you think praying helps?"
The words came from under the bed The next morning, I moved back to my mom's house
I am never going back there again
My younger brother refuses to talk about it, but somehow the subject gets broached once
a year, typically around family holidays when we see each other again. As adults, its
just something you never forget; even when you think youve forgotten it, the idea,
the image, the senses tend to creep up in your dreams or sometimes your nightmares.
We dont even discuss it with our families, our spouses, or even our parents. Its just
a secret weve kept between the two of us. Years ago, when I was 13 and my brother was
12, we lived on a military installation in Japan. It was an enclosed base, so entry was
only permitted to those who worked or lived inside. The base was previously garrisoned
by the Japanese and turned over to the Americans after WWII, so as kids, we would often hear
rumors about hidden crevices or caves on the base that still had Japanese skeletons or
memorabilia from the war. We lived near the sea wall, which pretty much
ran the entire length of one side of the installation. Behind our quarters, there were two exceptionally
large hills. Im talking about hills that were fairly high and steep you can grab a
cardboard and slide down with. Most of the kids would take their BMX bikes and ride down
trying to avoid the metal fences of the houses below. Also, these hills were popular meeting
spots for whatever; some would meet up to chat, make out with their significant others,
or just hang around watching the lights of the cars pass by on the adjacent roads. One
hill, about two blocks behind our house, was incredibly large and high, somewhere around
50 ft or more and jutted out from underneath the old military police station, which was
stationed on a higher level and fenced all the way through. The other side of the hill
was covered with trees and dirt, plus a small crevice or cave which small children can easily
climb through. One summer night, a couple of the neighborhood
kids decided to sneak out in the middle of the night to meet up on the larger hill. We
were just going to hang out and chill with each other before summer vacation ended and
we were all back to school. That evening, my brother and I waited until our mother fell
asleep, and when she did, she was practically comatose; nothing could wake her up, even
the sound of thunder. After 1 am, we headed out through the front door and made our way
towards the larger hill out back. What I clearly remember about the evening was that it was
unusually still and quiet. No sounds, not even the buzz of the cicadas murmured in the
air. There was no wind and save for the few street lights that illuminated the dark rows
of military housing leading towards the hill, everything just seemed unnaturally quiet.
As my brother and I approached the hill, we looked up and called out to see if any of
our other friends (mostly neighborhood kids) had made it. Nothing. Just silence. Since
this hill was rather steep, it made running up the hill a little difficult, so we slowly
made our way up to the top and stopped as soon as we neared the edge. I reached the
hill first with my brother directly coming up behind me. What we saw completely made
us stop in our tracks. About 20 feet away from us we spotted a person
on the hill. The figure was tall, and from what I could see, a male. What was odd about
the person was that they were lying completely still on the grass and almost seemed to be
faintly illuminated by some kind of light. There were no street lamps tall enough to
cast its light on top of the hill due to its height, so I still cant explain why the
figure seemed to stand out against the darkness. What was even more unsettling was the fact
that the entire figure was eerily emitting a soft, deathly sort of white color; the head,
arms, legs, and feet were all white. Just white.
Whos that? my brother asked behind me. Idont know, was what I remembered
answering before turning back to the figure. As we stared, we didnt dare come closer,
because we instinctively knew that something was off with this person. It didnt
seem opaque or transparent like a ghost, but rather solid and with substance, like a real
person. In fact, it appeared to be a man, save for that soft white color that seemed
to pop out in the darkness. The figure continued to lie still on the grass, with its arms lying
on the sides. As I took one faltering step forward, I paused.
It suddenly moved. It moved so fast, I nearly jumped back and
bumped into my brother, who almost lost his balance and wouldve tumbled down the side
of the hill if I hadnt held onto his arm. The person shot up from its waist into an
upright position without the use of its arms. It sort of reminded me of a stiff board. I
mean, the movement wasnt natural. There was no use of its hands or feet to guide it
into that position and that creeped my brother and I. Before we could do anything, it turned
its head and looked at us. Ill never forget what I saw. The head,
was bald, and white that its color matched the kimono-like robe it was wearing. For some
odd reason, I took note that it was wearing a stark white robe that seemed to give off
a little glow. But that wasnt the creepy part. The person had turned its head so fast
towards our direction and opened its mouth. The body remained still, and only the head
moved. Thats what was really scary about it. Then, all I saw were two black holes for
the eyes and an open mouth, as if it was silently screaming at us. It was pure black; no pupils,
whites of the eyes, nothing. Just complete blackness where the eyes and mouth belong.
Its mouth was opened so wide, it looked like a gaping hole in its white face. No sound
came out. It just turned its face towards us and gave us a chilling silent scream.
We were both scared shitless and took off running down towards the base of the hill
when we ran into four of our friends. I took off first, but my brother told me that he
took a look back and saw the figure suddenly get on all fours before he started running.
Our freaked out expressions put our friends on alert and we were starting to spurt out
crap that there was something up that hill that didnt want to be disturbed. Ian and
Jess, the two older ones instantly took off for the top to corroborate our story. The
other two just stood at the bottom and clowned my brother and I. We heard Jess call us up
to the hill, but my brother refused to climb back up, but ended up following me when everyone
decided to head uphill. Considering the time, it probably took less than two minutes from
our encounter to Jess and Ian running up the hill to look for the other person who scared
the shit out of us. Theres nobody here, what the hell are
you guys talking about? Ian demanded as I looked around and took a quick scan of the
area. Nothing. Nobody. I ran towards the other side of the hill and looked downwards. If
there was someone and they went running, we wouldve seen them on the other side, since
there was nothing but a road that curved and the sea side wall beyond that. There was a
sidewalk on the road that lead to a large baseball field in the distance, and we would've
seen the person running away. I walked back to where the figure had been laying and looked
at the grass. Nothing had marked where a body would have been. The grass was smooth and
undisturbed. I then scoured the area on the side, but the brush was thick and rather dense,
so it wouldve been hard to just disappear into the trees and brush beyond. We looked
up to the old MP station and the hidden dirt path that lead up to a fenced gate. Nothing.
Our friends chalked it up as something we probably made up to give them a scare, but
my brother and I quietly kept our experience to ourselves.
To this day, we still cant explain what we saw, but were certain that we saw a
person that night. Who or what they were, I still don't know, but I'm sure that they
weren't normal or probably of this world. The hills are still there and my brother and
I would like to go back and check out the area, but we definitely wont be doing it
in the dead of night. You never know what might be lurking up those hills.
hey guys and ladies. thanks for watching. i was pretty stoked to do this Japanese theme. their culture is awesome. send your story to firstname.lastname@example.org. be good to animals, even people. cya