If Fuji could talk what tales it could share of the big role played by Sunpu in the rise of Japan. Toro Isseki. Sunpu Castle. Fugetsuro
Take a day trip around Shizuoka's hill country and enjoy some of the finest liquid fruits of this fertile land. Shizuoka Distillery, Aoi Brewery, Utsurogi Wasabi Farm, and Chojiya Restaurant at Mariko.
Artiste Philippe Delord heralds from Tours, and in 2017 published a book of his contemporary paintings following in the steps of Hiroshige along Tokaido.
Kawazakaya Inn, one of the few remaining original Edo Period inns (shukuba) on the Tokaido is at Nissaka, about a 20 minute drive east from the Shinkansen station at Kakegawa. You can enter and enjoy looking around this recently renovated building, constructed in 1852 after a fire destroyed most of the buildings in the post town. If you are really lucky one of the volunteer guides on duty might sing for you one of the songs of Tokaido travellers, as they puffed their way over the tough Pass which is so vividly captured in Hiroshige's print.
Mariko has been a post town since the first Shogun, Yoritomo, granted the area to local warriors in 1189. Chijoya was established as a teahouse there in 1596. In 1601, Tokugawa, who established Edo as Japan's new capital, introduced the post horse system whereby elite and urgent travellers could exchange tired horses for fresh horses at frequent intervals along Tokaido. This encouraged Mariko's rapid development as a post town, busy with couriers, feudal lords, and travellers.
Kodama Tokaido Shinkansen slides smoothly into Kakegawa station. Out the window, the white walls of the castle atop a hill-top grab attention. Kakegawa Castle is important in Japanese history, being part of the story of the growing power-base of Tokugawa Ieyasu, Japan's most famous Shogun who started the Edo Period and set up a new capital in what is now modern-day Tokyo. Also in the castle you can see the 3 leaf ensign of Yamauchi, the local lord assigned to Kakegawa Castle by Tokugawa. The ensign looks vaguely familiar for a reason - it is the base for Mitsubishi's three-diamond brand.
Smack bang in the middle of the Tokaido, is literally how Fukuroi locals describe their town in Japanese.