10th Station : 箱根 Hakone

11_Hakone

Art by Ando Hiroshige, “Hakone passage”, Kyoka Edition

Hakone-juku (箱根宿 Hakone-juku?) was the tenth of the fifty-three stations of the Tōkaidō. It is located in the present-day town of Hakone in Ashigarashimo District, Kanagawa Prefecture. At an elevation of 725m, it is the highest post station on the entire Tōkaidō and was even difficult for the bakufu to maintain. Hakone-juku was established in 1618, in a small area between Hakone Pass (on Mount Hakone) and the Hakone Checkpoint. The original Hakone-juku was on the Edo (modern-day Tokyo) side of the Hakone Checkpoint; however, the people living there at the time refused to build a honjin to create a new post station. As a result, the post town was developed on the side of the checkpoint heading towards Kyoto. The first settlers in the new post town originally lived in either Odawara-juku or Mishima-shuku, the neighboring post stations, but were forced to Hakone-juku.

Hiroshige-53-Stations-Hoeido-11-Hakone-MFA-01

Art by Ando Hiroshige, “kosui no zu, 湖水図, view of the lake”, Hoeido Edition

A high peak, round the base of which, through a gorge, a daimyo’s cortège is wending it’s way; on the left the Hakone Lake, with Fuji in the distance. The Hakone pass was the most arduous stretch of the entire Tokaido Highway. It was steep and difficult to climb, and harboured many roaming bandits. However, the pass abounded in scenic spots and hot spring resorts and continues to attact many visitors.

If you want to explore how is Hakone in present times the follow the link

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