Tokaido stories. Check out the following posts for interesting stories on past and contemporary Tokaido:
Hakone Hachiri has just been declared a Japan Heritage Area. Hachiri literally means 8 Li, a distance of approximately 30 kilometers. It refers to the stretch of the old Tokaido between Odawara (Tokaido Sation #9) and Mishima (Station #11), via Hakone (Station #10).
Four centuries ago exactly, the second Edo Period Shogun, Tokugawa Hidetada, ordered the planting of sugi (Japanese Cedar, Cryptomeria japonica) along both sides of Tokaido to shade travellers as they made their way around the shoreline of Lake Ashinoko towards Hakone Checkpoint. 420 of these magnificent specimens remain, towering straight, fat, and proud into the Hakone sky along Cedar Avenue.
Atami Baien (plum park) is a pretty stroll in early Spring.
Japan’s four distinct seasons provide a kaleidoscope of natural entertainment as the countryside undergoes brilliant transformations in color. Perhaps the most anticipated season change is moving from a freezing, pure white snow-clad winter to a warming spring. Blossoms are the icon of this season change, so Japan has developed the pastime of blossom viewing to a high art.
Kinomiya Shrine in Atami
Atami City acts as the gateway to Izu Peninsula, conveniently located at its north-eastern corner, and on the Tokaido bullet train line that connects Japan’s 3 largest cities – Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka. It takes just 40 minutes to reach Atami on the Kodama Tokaido bullet train from Tokyo or Shinagawa Stations.
Mystery of the Pole Man at Chojiya
One of the great mysteries of Hiroshige’s Tokaido 53 Station series is, what is the purpose of the pole being carried away by the traveller in the left hand side of the image? Too long for fishing apparently, and not a walking stick by the way it is being carried.
In the 1970s and 1980s James Clavell’s Shogun captured the Western World’s imagination. Japan was asserting itself as the engine room of global economic growth, and Western readers were eager to better understand this mysterious nation. Clavell provided the perfect tool to do that – a fast moving, historical romp that also explained Japanese Culture 101 to those that didn’t have the time or inclination to take the University paper.
Snow melt from Mt Fuji seeps down through porous volcanic rock to resurface here as crystal clear springwater, feeding the river. Except, during Japan’s rapid post-War industrialisation, this area became rich with factories and the water became poluted. Work from the 1990s has restored this beautiful stream to its original pristine condition.
Towards the close of the 19th century, Japan was adding Okinawa and small islands to the southwest to its territory, followed by the not-so-small island of Taiwan. Then, at the dawn of the 20th century, the unthinkable happened. Japan engaged the mighty European empire of Russia in war and won convincingly. The infallibility of the white man to the yellow man had been challenged.
Daily our headlines give us horror stories of more species sent to extinction by the destructive activities of humans. But did you know that one tree species at least, the Ginko, has enjoyed the reverse experience?
Americas Cup Heda (photo: expansive views over Suruga Bay from the roof top hot spring bath at Isaba Ryokan, Heda. Views of Fuji in the distance on a clear day) 1851. A precocious American schooner by the appropriate name of America thrashes the British fleet on their home seas.