Marking the Way on the Tokaido

This waterfall runs down a mountain and crosses the original path of the old Tokaido near Hakone.

Tokaido Marker

During the Edo period (1603-1868) the Tokaidō was one of five major travel roads, and one of the two most important linking the former capital city of Kyoto with the then-new capital, Edo (now called Tokyo).

The Tokaidō, or “East Sea Road” roughly paralleled the southeastern coast of Honshū (Japan’s largest island). Its 53 stations, or post towns, were (and remain, to an extent) famous subjects of Japanese art and literature.

I hiked a section of the old Tokaidō near Hakone last autumn, and visited again in the summer of 2017, as research for an upcoming Hiro Hattori mystery novel. Although the Tokaidō, as such, did not become famous until shortly after the time when my novels are set, portions of the road did exist, and were used by travelers journeying between Kyoto and Edo (as well as between other towns along the route).

The road remains a difficult walk, but a beautiful one, with sights like this waterfall every few minutes along the way.