A meal at Tonoya-yo is an introduction to the rural traditions of Iwate. Owner and chef, Yotaro Sasaki, learned the fundamentals of Japanese cuisine from his father, a third-generation innkeeper. His tireless study and curiosity lead him to experiment with preserving and pickling, exploring traditional methods but never afraid to dabble in bold combinations. Tonoya-yo is in Iwate prefecture, around 450 kilometers north of Tokyo, known for noodles, beef, and fresh seafood. Chef Sasaki’s team works to expand the menu, always collaborating with farmers, herdsmen, and fishermen to get delicious and ecologically responsible ingredients. Earning consistent international acclaim, Tonoya-yo is committed to the sustainable celebration of the bounty of Iwate prefecture. The restaurant features its own sake, brewed on-site from organic rice grown on the property.
Chef Sasaki hosts guests in a two-hundred-year-old rice storehouse remodeled in a modern Japanese style. Dishes are served on utensils and plates crafted by artisans, and elegant flowers adorn the dining room. For an immersive luxury experience, two double rooms are available, one Japanese style with soft futons on straw mats, and one western style. Attached bathrooms feature deep, cedarwood tubs to soak in at night while listening to the river flowing nearby.