Kusatsu

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Station #52:  Someone is in a hurry - notice how the rider in the kago grips the handle - and he has four porters, not two!  Could he have been delayed by the delights of the highway?  A normal journey would take two to three weeks along the Tokaido from Edo to Kyoto.  Often travelers took longer, enjoying the freedom from the restrictions imposed by the government in their home town or village.  The rice-cake shop in this print is taken directly from the 1797 guide to the Tokaido.  Plagiarizing was, at best, a nebulous concept in the Edo Period.  It was not unusual for artists to use ideas from literary and artistic publications of earlier years.  But Hiroshige added his sympathetic depictions of the common man and that endeared him to the public.\n\nImage Copyright: Minneapolis Institute of Art Most kago were baskets carried on a pole by two porters.  Steve demonstrates his abilities as a porter while Helen hangs on for dear life.  After considering how cramped passengers were, with sides open to rain, heat and cold, airplane seats don't seem so bad. Kayo Yoshisa was our "Kyoto Boss," researching our hotels and travel plans in and around Kyoto.  She was fantastic!  It's not her fault that it rained all day - yes, all day - and it was not safe to bring our cameras out to take pictures of present day Kustatsu.  But we did enjoy ourselves at the local museum - it was dry!