The traditions and historical characters associated with the Stations of the Tokaido. A set of 57. By Hiroshige, Kunisada (signed Toyokuni) and Kuniyoshi. Publishers, Ibasen, Ibakiu and others. Ōban Tateye.

1. Nihon-bashi Geisha of the fish market.

2. Shinagawa Story of Hirai Gompachi and Komurasaki at Suzuga mori. Gompachi murdered travellers for their money.

3. Kawasaki Nitta Yoshioki advancing to Yedo with his victorious army is treacherously waylaid and drowned at Yaguchi-no Watashi.

4. Kanagawa Urashima-Zuka. Mound to commemorate the adventures of Urashima Taro, the Japanese Rip Van Winkle. Picture represents girl fishing. No connexion with the story.

5. Hodogaya Shinozuka Hachiro telling the story of the death of Nitta Yoshioki to Yura Hyogo and his wife, followers of Ashikaga.

6. Totsuka (H.) Goten-jo-chu (daimyo maid) admiring scenery. With Fuji, etc.

7. Fujisawa Oguri Kojiro, paralysed by poison given by an enemy-taken by his faithful wife Terute-hime, bathes and is cured in the Kumano Gongen (shrine) waterfall.

8. Hiratsuka (H.) Formerly the river was known as Sagamigawa, but in 9th year of Kenkyu - 12th month, Minamoto-no Yoritomo attended a festival here. His horse, scared by a thunderstorm, ran into the river and was drowned, and the river's name was thereafter Banyu.

9. Oiso Soga-no Juro, while bent on avenging his father's death, stayed in the house where his enemy was being entertained, and became enamoured of an oiran-Tora. After the execution of Soga, Tora became a nun - dying at 71 years of age.

10. Odawara Yoritomo (Minamoto) when a youth was in exile at Izu. He fell in love with the daughter of Ito the Governor, and courted her secretly. The father tried to kill him, but he escaped.

11. Hakone After eighteen years of waiting and hardship, Soga-no Goro and his brother took vengeance on Kudo Suketsune for their father's murder.

12. Mishima (H.) Festival of the Temple to Oyama zumi-no Mikoto (erected Tenkyo 10) on January 6th. Dancers carry farming tools and kitchen utensils.

13. Numazu Poem has a punning play on words:- Travellers here make a long stay and it is just as hard for them to move on as if they were in a swamp.

14. Hara (H). Taketori, cutting bamboos, found a fairy child who grew to be a beautiful woman courted even by the Emperor. Finally she disappeared, leaving behind her a letter of thanks and a magic powder which would make the old man immortal. He, however, mourned her loss, and not wishing to live without her, threw the medicine on Fuji and burnt it. To this day there is a crater emitting smoke, - hence Fuji is sometimes written Fu shi - no death.

15. Yoshiwara Divided by the Fujikawa were encamped the rival hosts of Heike and Genji. The water birds at night made such a noise that the Heike host fled, thinking themselves attacked by a stronger force.

16. Kambara Here died Joruri-hime, who for love of Yoshitsune followed him until worn out. Otsu-another girl-wrote a life of Joruri in twelve volumes and set it to music-thus reviving music. The girl in the picture is studying the life of Joruri-hime.

17. Yui Noted for view of Fuji, also for the Awabi shell gatherers.

18. Okitsu On the coast here is the celebrated Tago-no ura (beach), the subject of a poem by Yamabe-no Akahito.

19. Yejiri (H.) Noted for Hagoromo-no Matsu, the pine on which an angel left her feather coat. It was taken by a peasant, and in order to regain her coat, the angel became his wife-until she was able to get her coat and fly away. Fuji in distance.

20. Fuchu (H). Noted for tea-picking. The river is the Abegawa.

21. Mariko (H.) Tegoshi - eastern part of Mariko, is where Taira-no Shigehira, a captive on his way to Kamakura, was entertained by Yoritomo, a daughter of the chief officer of Tegoshi. Senju-no Mae sang and danced before Shigehira. After Shigehira was executed at Kamakura she took the veil at Zenkoji.

22. Okabe Here is a large cat-shaped rock among the pine trees. The legend is that an old wild cat lived here, who in the form of an old woman did evil to travellers. At death it turned to stone.

23. Fujiyeda Kumugai Jiro became pious under Honen Shonin and took the (priest) name of Rensho Hoshi. Once stopping for a night at this place, he borrowed ichi kan mon (ten sen), promising to pay on his way back to the capital, and repeated a prayer of blessing ten times, upon which ten lotus-blooms appeared in the pond. When, returning, he paid his debt, the flowers shrivelled and died. Afterwards he made the place a temple.

24. Shimada Crossing the Oi River.

25. Kanaya (H.) The Oigawa. Poem. Even the girls of Shimada on arriving here write home of their safe crossing the river.

26. Nissaka A samurai left home, going East (to Yedo). His wife, impatient for his return, went out to meet him on the lonely mountain path, where a robber assaulted and then killed her. Dying, she gave birth to a child. Kwannon (whom the mother devoutly worshipped) cared for the child, and the ghost-mother nourished it. The husband on his return, anxious for his wife, heard the child crying, and was thus led to it, and the mother's ghost related to him all that had befallen her. A stone commemorating this event is called the - Yo-naki-ishi - Night Crying Stone.

27. Kakegawa Here lived a famous smith Shimosaka-no Kaji (smith), so-called because when forging a sword for the Emperor, and cooling it in the river, a piece of straw floating with the current on reaching the blade floated against the current - hence the name Shimo (down) saka (contrary), a name then given to the sword and taken by the smith. This sword became the property of the Aoye family. Once it was stolen, and Fukuoka Mitsugi learnt from a letter where the sword was.

28. Fukuroi Here Honen Shonin saw in a dream a beautiful woman clad in scales, who said she had drowned herself and had been turned into a dragon in the Sakuraga-ike, but her life was one of torment because of the little worms in between the scales, and besought his prayers for her relief. The priest did as requested, and soon after a dragon appeared on the surface with its scales all removed and a smooth skin.

29. Mitsuke (H.) Yoritomo wishing to know the length of life of cranes, set many cranes free at this place, with date tags on their legs. Long were they seen, even to this day they say ! Mitsuke means finding out. A group of peasants attacked by a tortoise: a parody on the story.

30. Hamamatsu Taira-no Shigemori, stopping here on his way to Kamakura as a captive, was entertained with song and dance by a daughter of Kumano, who was in love with Munemori Shigemori's brother.

31. Maisaka A captain watching the sky at night.

32. Arai Traveller at an inn writing his diary. A famous poem refers to this place Mist hiding the view of the bridge and pine trees.

33. Shirasuka (H.) Yoritomo always stopped here on his journeys, and geisha amused him. Among them was one especially favoured by him, who, on his death, became a nun.

34. Futakawa (H.) Hizakurige; Kitahachi and Yaji at the inn at Futakawa frightened by clothes taken for a ghost. (Story of the humorous adventures of two travellers on the Tokaido.)

35. Yoshida Noted for the joroya; a joro soliciting a samurai.

36. Goyu Yamamoto Kansuke with his wife lived in retirement here, studying military tactics. A powerful daimyo, Takeda Shingen, came here and besought his services as adviser. After twice refusing he accepted.

37. Akasaka (H.) Dajo Daijin Fujiwara Moronaga was in exile here. He was a famous biwa player; wandering at Miyaji Yama, admiring the maples, the goddess of water appeared to him as a mark of appreciation of his genius.

38. Fujikawa Fujikawa Mizuyemon killed Isogai Heidayu, taking the precious sword called Naga Mitsu, and fled. Heidayu's son tried to take vengeance, but losing his sight was killed by Mizuyemon. Another son finally took vengeance.

39. Okazaki (H.) At Yahagimura, near here, is the tomb of Joruri-hime, daughter of the chief officer of the mura (district), with whom Ushiwaka (Yoshitsune), stopping here on his way North, fell in love. After his departure she followed him -dying at Kambara.

40. Chiriu Ariwara-no Narihira composed at Yatsuhashi the famous poem Kakitsubata.

41. Narumi Women making Narumi shibori (a variegated dyed cloth), for which Arimatsu, in this province, is celebrated.

42. Miya A woman named Fuji, whose husband was away in Oshu, died of grief at his absence. On the husband's return he went to a priest, who gave him incense, and whenever he burnt it he could see his wife.

43. Kuwana A sailor named Juzo for many years never sailed on the 31st December. Once he had to sail on that day, when a great storm arose, and a huge monster appeared and asked Juzo if he was afraid. Juzo said No, and the monster disappeared.

44. Yokkaichi Oft-times in summer the opposite shore appears in a mirage. The natives call it the procession of Daijingu at Ise, going to visit the god at Atsuta.

45. Ishiyakushi In the woods opposite the town is a cherry tree called Yoshitsune Sakasa Zakura (inverted cherry). Once Noriyori (brother of Yoshitsune) passing here, and calling to mind that near here was the birthplace of the noted horse Ikezuki, planted his horse-whip, which grew into a large cherry tree.

46. Shono This was the birthplace of the horse Ikezuki, which was presented by an officer of this place to Shogun Yoritomo, in obedience to a vision of Kwannon. It was then given to Sasaki, and on it Sasaki was the first to cross the Ujikawa at that famous battle.

47. Kameyama (H.) Gennojo on a mission of vengeance left his wife here. One night she dreamed that Gennojo returned in fine array. The next day came news of Gennojo's death at the hands of the murderer of his father. She then became a nun.

48. Seki (H.) An oiran of Takasu asking Ikku Osho for instruction.

49. Sakanoshita (H.) A younger brother of Tenchi Tenno, desiring to escape military service in the Otomo war, stayed here, and was given the beautiful daughter of the old man with whom he stayed. After the young prince became Tenno a shrine, Suzuka, was erected for the worship of the old man.

50. Tsuchiyama Abe-no Takamaru of Oshu rebelled against the Emperor Kanmu. Tamura Shogun, at the Emperor's command, and by the aid of Kwannon, killed Takamaru. Later, at Suzukayama, near here, he put down a band of robbers, believed by the people to be devils (oni-no kami). The picture shows Tamura guided by the goddess to the sleeping robber chief.

51. Minakuchi At Takashima, near here, lived a strong girl named Oiko. Her farms were deprived of water by her neighbours, but she dammed up a stream with an enormous stone which all the farmers could not remove. On apologizing to her, she easily removed the stone.

52. Ishibe A joro at her morning toilet. There is a saying that a man, though ishibe (strict and rigid as a stone), will be led astray by a woman, if she but have the opportunity.

53. Kusatsu At Seta-no Kurahashi, near here, a dragon in the shape of a woman appeared to Hidesato, beseeching him to kill a monstrous serpent on Mt. Mikami. This he did, and was afterwards feasted at the dragon's home (ryugu) and given handsome presents.

54. Otsu (H.) Matahei lived here. So lifelike were his paintings that they actually came to life. The picture shows his wife amazed at his paintings, in Otsuye style; and an actor with two brushes.

55. Kyoto (H.) Sanjo-no Ohashi - the busiest part of the city.

Note:- Some texts are not explanatory. They are Kyoka (kyo = crazy, ha = poem), a form of verse to which Hiroshige was very partial. The prints by Hiroshige are marked (H.).