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青木ヶ原 (Japanese)
Aokigahara and Misaka Mountains.JPG
Aokigahara, the Misaka Mountains and Saiko Lake, as seen from Mount Ryu of the Tenshi Mountains


Mount Fuji
Locations of Aokigahara and Mount Fuji
Realm Palearctic
Biome Temperate broadleaf and mixed forest
Area 35 km2 (14 sq mi)
Country Japan
Prefecture Yamanashi Prefecture
Coordinates 35°28′12″N 138°37′11″E / 35.47000°N 138.61972°E / 35.47000; 138.61972
Conservation status Relatively stable/Relatively intact

Aokigahara (青木ヶ原, 'Blue Tree Meadow'), also known as the Sea of Trees (樹海, Jukai), is a forest on the northwestern flank of Mount Fuji on the island of Honshu in Japan, thriving on 30 square kilometres (12 sq mi) of hardened lava laid down by the last major eruption of Mount Fuji in 864 CE. The western edge of Aokigahara, where there are several caves that fill with ice in winter, is a popular destination for tourists and school trips. Parts of Aokigahara are very dense, and the porous lava rock absorbs sound, contributing to a sense of solitude that some visitors attribute to the forest.

The forest has a historical reputation as a home to yūrei: ghosts of the dead in Japanese mythology.


Aokigahara (left) and Saiko Lake

The forest floor mostly consists of volcanic rock. Designated trails lead to several tourist attractions such as the Narusawa Ice Cave, Fugaku Wind Cave and Lake Sai Bat Cave which are three larger lava caves near Mount Fuji, the ice cave being frozen year-round.

Aokigahara has been falsely portrayed as a place where navigational compasses go haywire. Needles of magnetic compasses will move if placed directly on the lava, aligning with the rock's natural magnetism, which varies in iron content and strength by location. However, a compass behaves as expected when held at a normal height. The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force has conducted its ranger courses including navigation training in the forest since 1956.

Flora and fauna

Mammals include the Asian black bear, small Japanese mole, bats, mice, deer, fox, boar, wild rabbit, Japanese mink and Japanese squirrel. Birds include great tit, willow tit, long-tailed tit, great spotted woodpecker, pygmy woodpecker, bush warbler, Eurasian jay, Japanese white-eye, Japanese thrush, brown-headed thrush, Siberian thrush, Hodgson's hawk-cuckoo, Japanese grosbeak, lesser cuckoo, black-faced bunting, oriental turtle dove, and common cuckoo.

There are ground beetles and other insects, including many species of butterflies, even in the forest interior Argynnis paphia, Chrysozephyrus smaragdinus, Celastrina argiolus, Celastrina sugitanii, Curetis acuta, Favonius jezoensis, Neptis sappho, Parantica sita and Polygonia c-album are found.

The forest has a variety of conifers and broadleaf trees and shrubs including: Chamaecyparis obtusa, Cryptomeria japonica, Pinus densiflora, Pinus parviflora, Tsuga sieboldii, Acer distylum, Acer micranthum, Acer sieboldianum, Acer tschonoskii, Betula grossa, Chengiopanax sciadophylloides (as Acanthopanax sciadophylloides a.k.a. Eleutherococcus sciadophylloides), Clethra barbinervis, Enkianthus campanulatus, Euonymus macropterus, Ilex pedunculosa, Ilex macropoda, Pieris japonica, Prunus jamasakura, Quercus mongolica var. crispula, Rhododendron dilatatum, Skimmia japonica f. repens, Sorbus commixta (as Sorbus americana ssp. japonica) and Toxicodendron trichocarpum (as Rhus trichocarpa). The dominant tree species between 1,000 and 1,800 metres of altitude is Tsuga diversifolia and from 1,800 to 2,200 metres is Abies veitchii.

Deeper in the forest there are many herbaceous flowering plants including Artemisia princeps, Cirsium nipponicum var. incomptum, Corydalis incisa, Erigeron annuus, Geranium nepalense, Kalimeris pinnatifida, Maianthemum dilatatum, Oplismenus undulatifolius and Reynoutria japonica (syn. Polygonum cuspidatum). There are also the myco-heterotrophic Monotropastrum humile, frequent liverworts, many mosses and many ferns. The forest edges have many more species.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Aokigahara para niños

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