Shimada: Suruga Bank of the Oi River
Utagawa Hiroshige ( Japanese, 1797 - 1858 )
River crossings were a major source of business for such towns as Shimada, where heavy rains could delay travelers for several days while the river subsided; many inns and large communities of porters were necessary to handle the traffic. The crowd in this scene, the entourage of just one daimyō_ (feudal lord), gives some indication of the scale of this business. A more important _daimyō might have traveled with several thousand attendants.
Anna McFarland, Ichiryusai Hiroshige: The Fifty-Three Stages of the Tokaido, Label text, 1986.