The place has recently become a pilgrimage spot for fans of the manga “Kimetsu no Yaiba” (“Demon Slayer” in English). Kids and cosplayers take their picture in front of this huge stone holding a sword, just like the main character Tanjiro at the end of his training. It is true that the mysterious stone called “Ittoseki” looks very similar to the one that can be seen in the series, and its legend is not without similarities with the manga either.
The real-life stone is located at Amanotateiwa Shrine in Yagyu, Nara. It is linked to the legend of the battle between Yagyu Sekishusai, a master of sword fighting, and a tengu (Japanese long-nosed goblin). It is said that the stone appeared the moment when Sekishusai killed the tengu. The stone is clearly split into two and looks as if it had been easily cut by a blade.
Tengu are believed to dwell deep in the mountains where humans don’t live. They wear geta shoes, have long red noses, wings, and hold a fan in their hands. Sekishusai is said to have practiced his swordplay against a tengu there for three years.
Even if in the manga Tanjiro does not cut the stone after fighting a tengu, he does it under the training of his master Sakonji Urokodaki who wears a tengu mask. Tanjiro also spends about two years in the mountains, one being solely dedicated to cutting the stone. There are great chances the author of Demon Slayer may have been inspired by this local legend.