Kinsokuchi: Why You Can’t Enter Japan’s Forbidden Places

Unseen Japan
6 min readJan 15, 2024

Looking for a great spot to go on your Japan vacation? Well, don’t go to any of THESE places unless you wanna be boiled alive or cursed.

Kinsokuchi — Japan’s forbidden lands
Pictures: yanpon; gibun / PIXTA(ピクスタ)

The word “禁足地” — kinsokuchi — means “forbidden land.” It comes from the word “kinsoku,” which means “confinement” or “cut off”. It refers to places within Japan that are off-limits to visitors.

An area may declare a place 禁足地 due to historical reasons, religious reasons, or concerns that it’s just too dangerous to visit. Japan has over a dozen kinsokuchi, ranging from isolated islands to places within the bustling metropolis of Tokyo. Here are a few of the most fascinating.

Osoroshidokoro: a cursed grave

“Osoroshidokoro” quite literally means “place of terror.” No name could be more accurate for this section of forested land on Tsushima Island. A seemingly unassuming pile of stones supposedly marks the grave of Tendo, a priest of Tsushima’s indigenous Tendo religious practices. People say a second grave nearby is for a female figure, possibly Tendo’s mother.