Tōno is the heartland for some of Japan’s most cherished folk tales. A comparatively poor area that has suffered from devastating famines and droughts throughout the centuries, Tōno has always been subject to the unforgiving whims of nature. Superstitious residents, in turn, developed a healthy mix of fear and admiration for the natural world, which led to the creation of a whole assortment of yōkai or ghosts, demons, monsters and spirits.
If you have a vivid imagination and long for some clean country air, then Tōno offers a wonderful place to leave behind the trappings of urban life. Surrounded by verdant rice fields and dramatic mountains, Tōno speaks to a time when people lived intimately, off their land. Here, a bike ride through the woods can transport you to a mythical ‘Lost Japan', where the wild things roamed free and were left to their own devices, however devious they might be.