The Tōkaidō (東海道?, literally, "eastern sea circuit" or "eastern sea region") is a Japanese geographical term. It means both an ancient division of the country and the main road running through it. It is part of the Gokishichidō system.
The term also refers to a series of roads that connected the capitals (国府 kokufu) of each of the provinces that made up the region. The fifteen ancient provinces of the region include the following:
- Iga Province
- Ise Province
- Shima Province
- Owari Province
- Mikawa Province
- Tōtōmi Province
- Suruga Province
- Kai Province
- Izu Province
- Sagami Province
- Musashi Province
- Awa Province
- Kazusa Province
- Shimōsa Province
- Hitachi Province
In the Edo period, the Tōkaidō road (東海道 Eastern Ocean Road?) was demonstrably the most important in Japan; and this marked prominence continued after the fall of the Tokugawa shogunate. In the early Meiji period, this region's eastern route was the one chosen for stringing the telegraph lines which connected the old capital city of Kyoto with the new "eastern capital" at Tokyo.
- Deal, William E. (2005). Handbook to Life in Medieval and Early Modern Japan, p. 83.
- Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Tōkaidō," Japan Encyclopedia, p. 973.
- Nussbaum, "Goki-shichidō" at p. 255.
- Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du japon, p. 57., p. 57, at Google Books
- Smith, Mary C. (1897). "On the Tōkaidō," in Life in Asia, pp. 204-210.
- Sorensen, André. (2002). The Making of Urban Japan: cities and Planning from Edo to the Twenty-first Century, p. 171., p. 171, at Google Books
- Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric and Käthe Roth. (2005). Japan encyclopedia. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 10-ISBN 0-674-01753-6; 13-ISBN 978-0-674-01753-5; OCLC 58053128
- Smith, Mary C. (1897). "On the Tokaido," in Life in Asia. The World and Its People (Dunton Larkin, ed.), Vol. VI. Boston: Silver, Burdett & Company. OCLC 6747545
- Sorensen, André. (2002). The Making of Urban Japan: cities and Planning from Edo to the Twenty-first Century. London: Routledge. 10-ISBN 0415226511/13-ISBN 9780415226516; OCLC 48517502
- Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du Japon (Nihon Odai Ichiran). Paris: Royal Asiatic Society, Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland. OCLC 5850691