Hakone: Lake Scene
Utagawa Hiroshige ( Japanese, 1797 - 1858 )
The mountain pass at Hakone, indicated in this print by a daimyō _ (feudal lord) procession at right, was the most difficult stretch of the Tōkaidō. Overlooking Lake Ashi (_Ashinoko) and Mt. Fuji, Hakone also offered some of the most spectacular scenery on the route. Hakone was additionally famous as the site of sekisho, or government barrier station, where all travelers were searched and their documents examined. The Tokugawa shogunate was especially watchful for incoming contraband weapons and outgoing women from daimyō families, who were required to stay in Edo (now Tōkyō).
Anna McFarland, Ichiryusai Hiroshige: The Fifty-Three Stages of the Tokaido, Label text, 1986.