Japan Travel: Toukaido Fifty Three Stations

From Tokyo to Kyoto, Ukiyoe Depicts it All

Toukaido was one of the five critical roads in Japan created by Tokugawa Ieyasu who ruled Japan during the Edo period. Specifically, Toukaido was created to connect between Edo (present Tokyo) where the Shogun resided and Kyoto where the Imperial party resided.

Along its travel route from Edo to Kyoto, there were 53 different post stations, which provided necessary food, drink and lodging for travelers.
The Toukaido fifty three stations in Japanese is written “東海道五十三次“and it means 53 - eastern sea road. Back in 1832, a gentleman by the name of Utagawa Hiroshige traveled from Edo to Kyoto as part of an official delegation to deliver horses to the Imperial court. The horses were a symbolic gift from the Shogun in recognition of the Emperor’s divine status. During this travel, he was so impressed by the scenery he came across, he created a series of artwork called “Ukiyoe” – woodcut prints. Hiroshige created all together 55 prints in the whole series.

When I was a child, I lived in Yokohama and my relatives took me to places like Odawara, Fujisawa, Totsuka, Hakone, even to Kawasaki, Shinagawa and Nihonbashi in Tokyo. My relatives will show me the print of each location where we traveled and compared what it was depicted in the Ukiyoe and what it was during 1960’s. Since many foreigners visit Tokyo/Yokohama area, I invited you to see some of the sites depicted in Ukiyoe in Tokyo to Odawara region. I think you will find it very interesting and how it used to look back in Edo period.
Here is the list of stops on the way

1 Leaving Edo : Nihonbashi, "the bridge of Japan" 日本橋 Nihonbashi
2 1st station: Shinagawa. 品川 Shinagawa
3 2nd station : Kawasaki 川崎 Kawasaki
4 3rd station : Kanagawa 神奈川 Kanagawa
5 4th station : Hodogaya 程ヶ谷, 保土ヶ谷 Hodogaya
6 5th station : Totsuka 戸塚 Totsuka
7 6th station : Fujisawa 藤沢 Fujisawa
8 7th station : Hiratsuka 平塚 Hiratsuka
9 8th station : Oiso 大磯 Oiso
10 9th station: Odawara (Crossing the Sakawa river at a ford.)

小田原 Odawara
11 10th station : Hakone

箱根 Hakone
12 11th station : Mishima[N 3]

三島 Mishima
13 12th station : Numazu 沼津 Numazu
14 13th station : Hara

原 Hara
15 14th station : Yoshiwara 吉原 Yoshiwara
16 15th station : Kambara

蒲原 Kanbara
17 16th station : Yui 由井, 由比 Yui
18 17th station : Okitsu 興津 Okitsu
19 18th station : Ejiri 江尻 Ejiri
20 19th station : Fuchū 府中, 駿府 Fuchū
21 20th station : Mariko

鞠子, 丸子 Mariko
22 21st station : Okabe 岡部 Okabe
23 22nd station : Fujieda 藤枝 Fujieda
24 23rd station : Shimada 島田 Shimada
25 24th station : Kanaya 金屋, 金谷 Kanaya
26 25th station : Nissaka 日坂 Nissaka
27 26th station : Kakegawa 掛川 Kakegawa
28 27th station : Fukuroi 袋井 Fukuroi
29 28th station : Mitsuke

見附 Mitsuke
30 29th station : Hamamatsu 浜松 Hamamatsu
31 30th station : Maisaka 舞阪 Maisaka
32 31st station : Arai 荒井, 新居 Arai
33 32nd station : Shirasuka 白須賀 Shirasuka
34 33rd station : Futagawa 二川 Futagawa
35 34th station : Yoshida 吉田 Yoshida
36 35th station : Goyu 御油 Goyu
37 36th station : Akasaka 赤坂 Akasaka
38 37th station : Fujikawa 藤川 Fujikawa
39 38th station : Okazaki 岡崎 Okazaki
40 39th station : Chiryu 地鯉鮒, 知立 Chiryu
41 40th station : Narumi 鳴海 Narumi
42 41st station : Miya 宮 Miya
43 42nd station : Kuwana 桑名 Kuwana
44 43rd station : Yokkaichi 四日市 Yokkaichi
45 44th station : Ishiyakushi 石薬師 Ishiyakushi
46 45th station : Shōno[N 4]

庄野 Shōno
47 46th station : Kameyama
亀山 Kameyama
48 47th station : Seki "the barrier") 関 Seki
49 48th station : Sakanoshita 坂ノ下 Sakanoshita
50 49th station : Tsuchiyama 土山 Tsuchiyama
51 50th station : Minakuchi 水口 Minakuchi
52 51st station : Ishibe 石部 Ishibe
53 52nd station : Kusatsu 草津 Kusatsu
54 53rd station : Otsu 大津 Otsu

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