Tono is the setting for the Legends of Tono, often dubbed the Grimms' Fairy Tales of the East. The book, compiled by leading folklorist Yanagita Kunio about 110 years ago, consists of the wondrous folktales Yanagita heard from Tono-native Sasaki Kizen. On Journeys in Japan, Jonathan Senior travels north to Iwate Prefecture and a remote hamlet where the pages of the Legends of Tono come to life.
The most famous is the Shishi Odori, which dates back about 400 years. Yanagita Kunio wrote about it in the Legends of Tono.
Kataribe are master storytellers who pass down oral histories.
This old settlement is about 25 kilometers north of Tono. Most residents today moved here from big cities for the quiet life.
From Tokyo, take the Shinkansen bullet train to Shin Hanamaki. Transfer there for the local line to Tono Station. The total journey takes about four hours.