Tokaido Road Old and New

For Centuries travelers followed the ancient Tokaido Road that runs from Kyoto to Tokyo – today visitors can still walk in the footsteps of history and discover one of the best ways of exploring Shizuoka

Touring Routes have become a popular device in global tourism to help visitors navigate points of interest at their destination.

In Japan, travelling routes have been in vogue for centuries to facilitate the flow of people, goods, and information between major centres.

By far the most important of these is Tokaido, meaning literally “Eastern Sea Route”, which links Tokyo with former capital cities Kyoto and Osaka.

Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu established Edo (now called Tokyo) as Japan’s new capital in the late 16th century. The Emperor remained in Kyoto however, so the Tokaido road became an important way to connect these two main centres of political and economic power.

Fast-forward 350 years to Japan’s post-World War 2 rapid economic development period – leading into the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games at which time Japan’s first “Shinkansen” (bullet train) service was inaugurated.

It was named the Tokaido Shinkansen as it very closely follows the route of the ancient highway – the train carries over 400,000 travelers everyday on this historic route between Tokyo and Kyoto.

A large part of both the ancient, and the modern, Tokaido passes along Shizuoka Prefecture’s long, snaky Pacific coastline.

19th century ukiyoe artist Hiroshige painted a scene of each of the 53 nightly inn stops (Juku) along the ancient Tokaido. 22 of these, almost half, are in Shizuoka.

Modern Tokaido adds the seaside hot-spring town of Atami to the route. Atami also acts as gateway town to the Izu Peninsula (UNESCO Geopark), a popular getaway for Tokyo residents and international visitors alike.

Whilst Tokaido links Shizuoka culturally along its east/west axis with Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka, Shizuoka also displays a unique south/north progression of natural wonder.

Suruga Bay is the deepest harbor in Japan, and heading northwards one climbs the slopes of Mt Fuji to the country’s highest peak.

A huge diversity of natural habitats associated with rapidly changing altitude can be enjoyed in a short south/north distance.

Izu Peninsula, flanking the Suruga Bay eastern shore, is a geological wonderland rich in natural hot springs and volcanoes.

Horse travel in ancient Japan was a luxury limited to the gentry, so most travellers along Tokaido were on foot, with 22 nightly inn stops (Juku) along their journey through Shizuoka.

Modern-day travellers can still visit these areas and enjoy local activities, nature, and cultural experiences at inn towns that Japanese have enjoyed for centuries.

Hakone Hachiri

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE AREA

Heritage Area, Cedar Lined cobblestones, ‘Amazake’ (warm / sweet non alcoholic sake), step back in time

Hachiri literally means 8 Ri, a distance of approximately 32 kilometres. It refers to the stretch of the ancient Tokaido Highway between Odawara (Tokaido Juku #9) and Mishima (Juku #11), via Hakone (Juku #10).

During the Edo Period this stretch was a two day walk over some very mountainous terrain, but rewarded by spectacular views of Mt Fuji, Lake Ashinoko, and the Pacific Ocean.

Some parts of this stretch of Tokaido have been preserved and are enjoyed by many visitors today.

Please wear comfortable walking shoes for the day (about 8 km walking total) and bring a jacket in case of rain.

SUGGESTED ITINERARY

0830 Meet Odawara Station
– Train Odawara / Hakone Yumoto / Hakone Tozan Bus to Amazake Chaya
– Walk from Amazake Chaya down ancient Tokaido (about 2km) to MotoHakone
– Walk along Cedar Avenue to Hakone Checkpoint (1km)
– Lunch at Hakone Machi

AFTERNOON

– Bus from Hakone Machi to Settai Chaya cobblestones
– Walk Ancient Tokaido(Settai Chaya cobblestones / Yamanaka Shinda cobblestones) to Yamanaka Castle Ruins
– Bus to Mishima Skywalk
– Bus to Mishima Taisha
– Walk to Mishima Station
Stay in Mishima

Kanbara Juku

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE AREA

MT F

 

HOW TO GET THERE AND AROUND

 

Yui Juku & Sata Pass

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE AREA

STUN

 

HOW TO GET THERE AND AROUND 

 

Fuchu Juku

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE AREA

MT FUJI – HISTORY – SHIRAITO FALLS – MT. FUJI WORLD HERITAGE CENTRE – BEER BREWERY

 

HOW TO GET THERE AND AROUND

 

Chojiya, Mariko Juku

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE AREA

LAKE HAMANAKA – RIDING UP THE TENRYU RIVER INTO THE ALPS – KANZANJI ONSEN – GYOZA

 

HOW TO GET THERE AND AROUND    

 

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