THE FIFTY-THREE STAGES OF THE TOKAIDO

Prologue Hoeido Edition of the Fifty-three Stages of the Tokaido Published by Hoeido (Takeuchi Magohachi), some jointly published with Senkakudo, horizontal oban nishiki-e, 55 prints Needless to say, this is Hiroshige's most representative series, and the epitome of excellence in landscape prints. The series depicts the 53 stages of the Tokaido starting at Nihonbashi and ending at Kyoto, 55 prints in all. Its unique flavor lies in the travel scenery and the warm depictions of nature and seasons that invoke in viewers a feeling of intimate engagement with the scene. Acclaimed for their compositional and seasonal depictions, each print in the series is skillfully arranged against a backdrop of wind, rain, snow, fog, or other natural phenomena, along with the many different atmospheric effects of the sky. The morning-after snow scene at Kameyama, evening at Kambara, rain shower at Shono, and spring rain at Tsuchiyama all reveal Hiroshige's splendid attention to detail. His landscapes do not necessarily correspond to the actual topography of a site, but they are presented in such a way that, even with the addition of fictitious elements, they impart a sense of reality. When viewers empathize with the travelers in these prints, it is as if they can experience the journey, the natural environment, and seasons of the land. Hiroshige also emphasized his encounters with the local people in each region and often included them in his prints.

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