The Forty-Fourth Training Ground (第44演習場, Daiyonjūyon Enshūjō), also known as the Forest of Death (死の森, Shi no Mori), was the stage for the second part of the Konoha Chūnin Exams, proctored by Anko Mitarashi. Its primary function served as a testing ground for the survival and fighting skills of genin trying to become chūnin. It was a very dangerous place, filled with hordes of flora and fauna, often gigantic, poisonous — or even more likely, both — hence its name.
A metallic fence surrounds its perimeter with 44 gates equally spaced around it; this perimeter is where the shinobi entered. Inside is a river, the forest, and a tower located in the exact centre; the forest's radius is about ten kilometres. It lies to the north of the Forty-Third Training Ground (第43演習場, Daiyonjūsan Enshūjō). Within the forest are several large and deadly creatures such as leeches, tigers, and bears.
Chūnin Exam Arc
The tower was the destination of the ninja after they had collected two scrolls. Each team started with only one scroll, either the Scroll of Heaven or Earth; therefore, to pass the exam, a team had to find a team with the opposite scroll and steal it by any means necessary, then finish the journey to the tower as a full team within the five day limit. Before the second exam took place, the candidates were required to sign a release form, acknowledging the dangers and that the proctors will not be held responsible for any deaths. Inside the tower is the large arena in which the third test preliminaries were held (if too many teams managed to last to that point). Relatively few teams complete this part of the test, though when Naruto and the others took part, there were still so many that a preliminary had to be held to weed out more contestants.
- In Japanese (and Chinese) culture, the number "4" is considered an unlucky number because it is pronounced as "Shi", which is also the word for "death", and so the number "44" is considered an especially ominous number. This is a fitting designation number for this particular training ground.
- One of the creatures in the Forest of Death was a giant centipede. This is reminiscent of the Japanese legend of the ōmukade, a giant human-eating centipede that lives in the mountains.
- The Forest of Death's name may have been inspired by "Aokigahara," a woodland at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan that has been a site of continuous suicides since the 1950's.