Hiroshige Print of Tokaido Checkpoint
Chiriu, One of the Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido by Utagawa Hiroshige ca. 1833-34. During the Tokugawa Era (1600-1868), the Tokaido served as an important road between Tokyo and Osaka. The Tokugawa government liked to keep controls on the movement of goods and people throughout Japan. As part of this goal, the created 53 checkpoints along the Tokaido, where officials recorded the passage of visitors and also inspected their belongings. Often, a vibrant merchant and town culture as well as trades related to tourism rose near the check points.
UTAGAWA Hiroshige, famous for creating wood block prints, produced a series of them depicting each of the stations.
Credit: Donated by Corbis-Bettmann