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Aokigahara is a 35-square-kilometre (14 sq mi) forest that lies at the northwest base of Mount Fuji in Japan. The forest contains a number of rocky, icy caverns, a few of which are popular tourist destinations. Due to the wind-blocking density of the trees and an absence of wildlife, the forest is known for being eerily quiet.
The forest has a historic association with demons in Japanese mythology and is a popular place for suicides; 54 completed the act in 2010, despite numerous signs, in Japanese and English, urging people to reconsider their actions.
The forest floor consists primarily of volcanic rock and is difficult to penetrate with hand tools such as picks or shovels. There are also a variety of unofficial trails that are used semi-regularly for the annual "body hunt" done by local volunteers. In recent years, hikers and tourists trekking through Aokigahara have begun to use plastic tape to mark their paths so as to avoid getting lost. Though officials try to remove the tape time and time again, more tourists and thrill-seekers inevitably leave more of the litter, and a great deal of it lies scattered throughout the first kilometer of the forest, past the designated trails leading to tourist attractions such as the Ice Cave and Wind Cave. After the first kilometer into Aokigahara towards Mount Fuji, the forest is in a more "pristine" condition, with little to no litter and few obvious signs of human presence.
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