Mr Yamamoto is the thirteenth generation manager of Amasake Chaya. Together with his wife, their quaint little establishment serves thirsty Tokaido travellers with the sweet, warm, amasake their family has been serving for four centuries.
Tokaido had checkpoints at various intervals to ensure that travellers were bonefide and to protect the Shogun in the capital, Edo. Hakone was the closest checkpoint to Edo, so was one of the most severely policed. Perched between the waters of Lake Ashinoko and the steep mountainous terrain of Hakone, Tokaido travellers had no alternative but to submit to inspection.
Smack bang in the middle of the Tokaido, is literally how Fukuroi locals describe their town in Japanese.