The post town of Fushimi was born about 90 years after the others. This
was a busy town with a port named Niimura on the Kiso River where rice
paid as land tax was loaded on the barges, which would sail downstream
to Inuyama or Kuwana. During the Edo period, there were rows of pine trees
along the highway.
Here the Hida Road and the Gujo Road branched off from the Kisokaido Highway.
Being the seat of the magistrate's office of the fief of Owari, Ota prospered
as the political and economic centre controlling the area from Ena to
Unuma. The Kiso River converging with the Hida River here, the river became
wider and the "Crossing at Ota" was counted as one of the hardest parts
to pass on the highway.
From Ota, travellers went past the Iwaya Kannon (Goddess of Mercy) and
the Utou Pass before entering the post town of Unuma. From the Kamakura
period, this had been an important point of traffic connecting Mino with
Owari. The existing castle of Inuyama has the oldest dungeon in Japan,
which is designated as a national treasure.
From Unuma to Kano, the road was flat. The distance between the stages
was as long as 17 km. With the Castle of Kano, this post town was the
sole castle town on the Mino leg of the Kisokaido Hiroshige painted a
well-ordered feudal lord (daimyos)
At Goudo, there was a ferry for crossing the Nagara River. The picture
depicts a scene of cormorant bird fishing, which is famous even today.
Eisen introduced brush touch into the print, imitating the style of Katsushika
Hokusai. This is considered one of Eisen's masterpieces in the Kiso Highway
The name of a temple became the name of this post town. The Mieji Temple
is said to have been built to offer prayers for protection from the flooding
of the three major rivers of Kiso, Nagara and Ibi. In this lyrical scene,
a traveller is in conversation with a peasant, and sparrows are flying
home in the dusk after sunset.
Akasaka was a bustling post town as the diverging point of the Tanigumi
Pilgrimage Road and as the port of Akasaka for river traffic on the Kuise.
All-night lantern posts still remain along the river, which lighted the
waterway at night. In the evening during the rainy season, people are
said to have enjoyed the sight of Genji fireflies (Luciola cruciata) while
sailing down the river in firefly-viewing boats.
The Mino Road branched off here and led to Miya-shuku on the Tokaido Highway.
Tarui grew in front of the Grand Shrine of Nangu, which was the most famous
of the shrines in the province of Mino. A daimyo
procession placed in the centre, the composition of this picture is symmetrical.
Sekigahara was a major post town at the crossroads of the Kisokaido, Hokkoku
and Ise Highways. The place name came from "Fuwa-no-seki" (Checking Station
of Fuwa), one of the three most important checkpoints in old Japan, ranking
with Arachi of Echizen province and Suzuka of Ise province. This is also
the place where the famous Battle of Sekigahara was fought between the
eastern and western armies in 1600.
The signpost reads "Oumi-Mino Border" marking the border between the province
of Oumi to the west and the province of Mino to the east. The sign "Nemonogatari-yurai"
may have something to do with the popular "Mino Oumi Nemonogatari (Soft
Nothings)" written by Jippensha Ikku (1775-1831).