Road Tripping in 19th Century Japan

If you find yourself in Japan hurtling at 300 km/h on a Nozomi bullet train between Tokyo and Kyoto, the entire journey will take you a little over 2 hours.

If you find yourself in the 1830s as part of an official mission delivering a gift of horses from the Shogun (the country’s military commander) in Edo (now Tokyo) to the Emperor in Kyoto, the journey would’ve taken about 2 weeks – depending on whether you were permitted to ride said horses. Your route: the famous T≈çkaid≈笆road.¬†Most travellers made the journey on foot, understandably breaking up their travels with 53 pit stops, known as stations.

In January this year, The New York Public Library released a digital treasure trove of images now available for public use. In this collection is the celebrated Japanese artist¬†And≈ç Hiroshige’s most famous work,¬†Fifty-three Stations of the T≈çkaid≈ç,¬†which documents his 1832 (some believe 1831) journey through mountains, across rivers,¬†along breathtaking coastlines and¬†into roadside diners on a trip from Edo to Kyoto.¬†The series of colour woodblock prints became so popular (in both the East and West) that¬†he reproduced over three dozen different¬†T≈çkaid≈笆series before he died in 1858.¬†The H≈çeid≈ç edition (named after the publisher) is the best known of these. We’ve published selections of it below so you can virtually follow in Hiroshige’s footsteps.

 

ToÃÑkaido gojuÃÑsan tsugi no uchi
Leaving Edo
ToÃÑkaido gojuÃÑsan tsugi no uchi
Station 3: Kawasaki
ToÃÑkaido gojuÃÑsan tsugi no uchi
Station 4: Kanagawa
ToÃÑkaido gojuÃÑsan tsugi no uchi
Station 6: Totsuka
ToÃÑkaido gojuÃÑsan tsugi no uchi
Station 8: Hiratsuka
ToÃÑkaido gojuÃÑsan tsugi no uchi
Station 10: Odawara
ToÃÑkaido gojuÃÑsan tsugi no uchi
Station 11: Hakone
ToÃÑkaido gojuÃÑsan tsugi no uchi
Station 14: Hara
ToÃÑkaido gojuÃÑsan tsugi no uchi
Station 15: Yoshiwara
ToÃÑkaido gojuÃÑsan tsugi no uchi
Station 16: Kambara
ToÃÑkaido gojuÃÑsan tsugi no uchi
Station 20: Fuchu
ToÃÑkaido gojuÃÑsan tsugi no uchi
Station 21: Mariko
ToÃÑkaido gojuÃÑsan tsugi no uchi
Station 22: Okabe
ToÃÑkaido gojuÃÑsan tsugi no uchi
Station 23: Fujeida
ToÃÑkaido gojuÃÑsan tsugi no uchi
Station 25: Kanaya
ToÃÑkaido gojuÃÑsan tsugi no uchi
Station 26: Nissaka
ToÃÑkaido gojuÃÑsan tsugi no uchi
Station 27: Kakegawa
ToÃÑkaido gojuÃÑsan tsugi no uchi
Station 28: Fukuroi
ToÃÑkaido gojuÃÑsan tsugi no uchi
Station 29: Mitsuke
ToÃÑkaido gojuÃÑsan tsugi no uchi
Station 33: Shirasuka
ToÃÑkaido gojuÃÑsan tsugi no uchi
Station 34: Futagawa
ToÃÑkaido gojuÃÑsan tsugi no uchi
Station 36: Goyu
ToÃÑkaido gojuÃÑsan tsugi no uchi
Station 37: Akasaka
ToÃÑkaido gojuÃÑsan tsugi no uchi
Station 40: Chiryu
ToÃÑkaido gojuÃÑsan tsugi no uchi
Station 41: Narumi
ToÃÑkaido gojuÃÑsan tsugi no uchi
Station 44: Yokkaichi
ToÃÑkaido gojuÃÑsan tsugi no uchi
Station 46: Shono
ToÃÑkaido gojuÃÑsan tsugi no uchi
Station 47: Kameyama
ToÃÑkaido gojuÃÑsan tsugi no uchi
Station 49: Sakashita
ToÃÑkaido gojuÃÑsan tsugi no uchi
The end of Tokaido: arriving at Kyoto

See and download all 55 artworks
www.hiroshige.org.uk
digitalcollections.nypl.org

 

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