This chapter proposes resilience as a foundation for sustainability, and sustainable tourism development, identifying that resilience relates to place-based knowledge and senses originating from human–land interaction over a long period of time which, in turn, relates to traditional ecological knowledge. A specific case drawn here is the post-disaster recovery phase in rural communities, following the devastation that overwhelmed the northern east coast of Japan on 11 March 2011. Disaster-resilience, although stated as a priority in many of the governmental reconstruction visions, is not easily defined or facilitated. This paper attempts to locate disaster-resilience in the context of sustainable tourism development, through cases of coastal communities in Iwate Prefecture on the Sanriku Coast in their early phase of recovery. With social sustainability-oriented tourism concepts and resilience planning as a framework, the paper argues that the tourism development in the early recovery phase is vital in helping communities maintain their connection with their places, which is argued to be the core of resilience. Such resilience is closely related to traditional ecological knowledge found in personal stories, monuments, folktales, literature and arts. This, it is proposed, lays a foundation for a sustainable recovery and reconstruction, in which tourism can play a vital role, and which in return asserts tourism’s responsibility in advocating sustainability.