The Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō
The Fifty-Three Stations of the Tōkaidō (東海道五十三次 Tōkaidō Gojūsan-tsugi ), in the Hōeidō edition (1833–1834), presented here, is a series of ukiyo-e woodcut prints created by Utagawa Hiroshige after his first travel along the Tōkaidō in 1832.
The Tōkaidō road, linking the shōgun's capital, Edo, to the imperial one, Kyōto, was the main travel and transport artery of old Japan. It is also the most important of the "Five Roads", the five major roads of Japan (Gokaidō), created or developed during the Edo era to further strengthen the control of the central shogunate administration over the whole country.
Even though the Hōeidō edition is by far the best known, The Fifty-Three Stations of the Tōkaidō was such a popular subject that it led Hiroshige to create some 30 different series of woodcut prints on it, all very different one from the other by their size (ōban or chuban), their designs or even their number (some series include just a few prints).
The Hōeidō edition of the Tōkaidō is Hiroshige's best known work, and the best sold ever ukiyo-e Japanese prints. Coming just after Hokusai's Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji series, it established this new major theme of ukiyo-e, the landscape print, or fūkei-ga, with a special focus on "famous views" (meisho). These landscape prints took full advantage of the new possibilities offered by the Western representation of perspective, that Japanese artists had by now fully assimilated. Hiroshige's series met with full success, not only in Japan, but later in Western countries.
The Tōkaidō 
The Tōkaidō was one of the Five Routes constructed under Tokugawa Ieyasu, a series of roads linking the historical capital of Edo with the rest of Japan. The Tōkaidō connected Edo with the then-capital of Kyoto. The most important and well-traveled of these, the Tōkaidō travelled along the eastern coast of Honshū, thus giving rise to its name, which means "Eastern Sea Road". Along this road, there were 53 different post stations, which provided stables, food, and lodging for travelers.
Hiroshige and the Tōkaidō 
In 1832, Hiroshige traveled the length of the Tōkaidō from Edo to Kyoto, as part of an official delegation transporting horses that were to be presented to the Imperial court. The horses were a symbolic gift from the Shogun, presented annually in recognition of the Emperor's divine status.
The landscapes of the journey made a profound impression on the artist, and he created numerous sketches during the course of the trip, as well as his return to Edo via the same route. After his arrival at home, he immediately began work on the first prints from The Fifty-Three Stations of the Tōkaidō. Eventually, he would produce 55 prints in the whole series: one for each station, plus one apiece for the starting and ending points.
The first of the prints in the series was published jointly by the publishing houses of Hōeidō and Senkakudō, with the former handling all subsequent releases on its own. Woodcuts of this style commonly sold as new for between 12 and 16 copper coins apiece, approximately the same price as a pair of straw sandals or a bowl of soup. The runaway success of The Fifty-Three Stations of the Tōkaidō established Hiroshige as the most prominent and successful printmaker of the Tokugawa era.
Hiroshige followed up on this series with The Sixty-nine Stations of the Kiso Kaidō in cooperation with Keisai Eisen, documenting each of the post stations of the Nakasendō (which was alternatively referred to as the Kiso Kaidō).
The Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō (Hōeidō edition) 
Beyond the fifty-three stations of the Tōkaidō proper, the series includes one print for the departure, Nihonbashi (the bridge of Japan), and a final one, the 55th print, Keishi, Kyoto, the imperial capital.
|№||Woodcut print||Station No and English name||Japanese||Transliteration|
|1||Leaving Edo : Nihonbashi, "the bridge of Japan"||日本橋||Nihonbashi|
|2||1st station : Shinagawa.[N 2]||品川||Shinagawa|
|3||2nd station : Kawasaki||川崎||Kawasaki|
|4||3rd station : Kanagawa||神奈川||Kanagawa|
|5||4th station : Hodogaya||程ヶ谷, 保土ヶ谷||Hodogaya|
|6||5th station : Totsuka||戸塚||Totsuka|
|7||6th station : Fujisawa||藤沢||Fujisawa|
|8||7th station : Hiratsuka||平塚||Hiratsuka|
|9||8th station : Oiso||大磯||Oiso|
|10||9th station : Odawara (Crossing the Sakawa river at a ford.)||小田原||Odawara|
|11||10th station : Hakone||箱根||Hakone|
|12||11th station : Mishima[N 3]||三島||Mishima|
|13||12th station : Numazu||沼津||Numazu|
|14||13th station : Hara||原||Hara|
|15||14th station : Yoshiwara||吉原||Yoshiwara|
|16||15th station : Kambara||蒲原||Kanbara|
|17||16th station : Yui||由井, 由比||Yui|
|18||17th station : Okitsu||興津||Okitsu|
|19||18th station : Ejiri||江尻||Ejiri|
|20||19th station : Fuchū||府中, 駿府||Fuchū|
|21||20th station : Mariko||鞠子, 丸子||Mariko|
|22||21st station : Okabe||岡部||Okabe|
|23||22nd station : Fujieda||藤枝||Fujieda|
|24||23rd station : Shimada||島田||Shimada|
|25||24th station : Kanaya||金屋, 金谷||Kanaya|
|26||25th station : Nissaka||日坂||Nissaka|
|27||26th station : Kakegawa||掛川||Kakegawa|
|28||27th station : Fukuroi||袋井||Fukuroi|
|29||28th station : Mitsuke||見附||Mitsuke|
|30||29th station : Hamamatsu||浜松||Hamamatsu|
|31||30th station : Maisaka||舞阪||Maisaka|
|32||31st station : Arai||荒井, 新居||Arai|
|33||32nd station : Shirasuka||白須賀||Shirasuka|
|34||33rd station : Futagawa||二川||Futagawa|
|35||34th station : Yoshida||吉田||Yoshida|
|36||35th station : Goyu||御油||Goyu|
|37||36th station : Akasaka||赤坂||Akasaka|
|38||37th station : Fujikawa||藤川||Fujikawa|
|39||38th station : Okazaki||岡崎||Okazaki|
|40||39th station : Chiryu||地鯉鮒, 知立||Chiryu|
|41||40th station : Narumi||鳴海||Narumi|
|42||41st station : Miya||宮||Miya|
|43||42nd station : Kuwana||桑名||Kuwana|
|44||43rd station : Yokkaichi||四日市||Yokkaichi|
|45||44th station : Ishiyakushi||石薬師||Ishiyakushi|
|46||45th station : Shōno[N 4]||庄野||Shōno|
|47||46th station : Kameyama||亀山||Kameyama|
|48||47th station : Seki "the barrier")||関||Seki|
|49||48th station : Sakanoshita||坂ノ下||Sakanoshita|
|50||49th station : Tsuchiyama||土山||Tsuchiyama|
|51||50th station : Minakuchi||水口||Minakuchi|
|52||51st station : Ishibe||石部||Ishibe|
|53||52nd station : Kusatsu||草津||Kusatsu|
|54||53rd station : Otsu||大津||Otsu|
|55||The end of the Tōkaidō: arriving at Kyoto.||京師||Sanjō Ōhashi at Keishi ("the capital")|
Historical impact 
During his time in Paris, Vincent Van Gogh was an avid collector of ukiyo-e, amassing with his brother a collection of several hundred prints purchased in the gallery of S. Bing. This collection included works from The Fifty-Three Stations of the Tōkaidō, and Van Gogh incorporated stylistic elements from his collection into his own work, such as bright colors, natural details, and unconventional perspectives. In his personal correspondence, he stated, "...all of my work is founded on Japanese art...", and described the Impressionists as "the Japanese of France".
Architect Frank Lloyd Wright was an enthusiastic collector of Hiroshige's prints, including those of The Fifty-Three Stations of the Tōkaidō. In 1906, he staged the first ever retrospective of Hiroshige's work at the Art Institute of Chicago, describing them in the exhibition catalog as some of "the most valuable contributions ever made to the art of the world". Two years later, he contributed elements of his collection to another exhibition of ukiyo-e at the Art Institute. Wright also designed the gallery space of the exhibit, which at that time was the largest display of its kind in history. Appreciating the prints on a professional level as well as an aesthetic one, Wright mined his prints for insights into the nature of designing structures, modifying damaged prints by adding lines and shadow in an effort to understand their operating principles.
See also 
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- Indeed, Hiroshige had his head shaved, so as to become a novice Buddhist monk under the name of Tokubei.
- Shinagawa overlooked the Shinagawa bay, south of Edo ; the seashore was strewn with brothels, where courtesans received their clients. Balconies were overlooking the beautiful seascapes of the bay, depicted by Kiyonage in his famous series of diptychs, Minami no Juniko (the twelve months of the South)
- Mishima compte à juste titre parmi les estampes les plus connues de la série. Elle est très représentative de l'intérêt porté par Hiroshige aux ambiances particulières, brumes, neige, ou encore paysage nocturnes.
- Shōno is one of the most famous prints of the whole series.
- Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Tōkaidō Gojūsan tsugi" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 973.
- Oka, Isaburō. Hiroshige: Japan's Great Landscape Artist, p. 75. Kodansha International, 1992. ISBN 4-7700-2121-6
- Hagen, Rose-Marie, and Rainer Hagen. Masterpieces in Detail: What Great Paintings Say, Vol. 2, p. 357. Taschen, 2000. ISBN 3-8228-1372-9
- Hagen & Hagen, Masterpieces in Detail, p. 352.
- Goldberg, Steve. "Hiroshige" in Lives & Legacies: An Encyclopedia of People Who Changed the World - Writers and Musicians, Ed. Michel-André Bossy, Thomas Brothers & John C. McEnroe, p.86. Greenwood Press, 2001. ISBN 1-57356-154-1
- Edwards, Cliff. Van Gogh and God: A Creative Spiritual Quest", p. 90. Loyola Press, 1989. ISBN 0-8294-0621-2
- Edwards. Van Gogh and God, p. 94.
- Edwards. Van Gogh and God, p. 93.
- Fowler, Penny. Frank Lloyd Wright: Graphic Artist, p. 30. Pomegranate, 2002. ISBN 0-7649-2017-0
- Fowler, Frank Lloyd Wright, p. 31.