Artist: Utagawa Hiroshige (Japanese, Tokyo (Edo) 1797–1858 Tokyo (Edo))
Period: Edo period (1615–1868)
Date: ca. 1840
Medium: Polychrome woodblock print; ink and color on paper
Dimensions: Overall: 8 3/4 x 13 3/4in. (22.2 x 34.9cm)
Credit Line: The Francis Lathrop Collection, Purchase, Frederick C. Hewitt Fund, 1911
Accession Number: JP804
The highway called the Tokaido stretched about 290 miles from Nihonbashi in the center of Edo to the Great Sanjo Bridge in Kyoto, a journey of ten days or two weeks. Between Edo and Kyoto, fifty-three stations served the travelers' needs. All along the Tokaido, the grandeur of spectacular landscapes and seascapes was punctuated with a variety of human activities. This print vividly illustrates travelers on a busy street of the Otsu station from a bird's-eye view in an oblique perspective commonly featured in East Asia.
This series of the Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido, published in 1848–49, is popularly known as the "Reisho Tokaido" from the archaic style of the calligraphy in the cartouche of each print. Another series, published in 1833–34, is more widely known.