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Lovers of Japanese art and history will be familiar with the world-famous set of ukiyo-e woodblock prints known as “The Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido.” Created in the 1800s by famed artist Utagawa Hiroshige, the collection is a series of landscape paintings from each of the post stations on the ancient coastal walking route from Edo (Tokyo) to Kyoto and is frequently praised for the way it captures the spirit and essence of old Japan.

While the masterful works have garnered fans around the world, when it comes to sharing the images online, things haven’t been so easy. Now, limitations have been lifted and the beautiful series is free to share without copyright restrictions. What better way to celebrate the good news than to share some of the best with you, our dear readers?

The following five selections are listed as the top sellers from Tokkaido Gojusanji.com, one of the premier online print shops specialising in Hiroshige prints.

Starting Point – Nihonbashi

The first print in the series is of Nihonbashi in Tokyo. The people and movement in this scene captures the hustle and bustle of ancient Edo, making this a favourite amongst many.

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Highway Stop #10 – Hakone

Another popular print is the below depiction of Hakone in present-day Kanagawa Prefecture. Featuring dangerously steep mountains, this point of the journey was known as one of the toughest on the long road to Kyoto.

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Highway Stop #15 – Kanbara-juku

Moving along the highway, we have this famous scene, beloved by many for its romantic, snowy landscape. This is Kanbara-juku, located in Shizuoka Prefecture.

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Highway Stop #16 – Yui

One of the few to feature a view of Mount Fuji is Yui, an area still famous for mandarin oranges and tiny pink-coloured shrimp known as sakura-ebi.

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Highway Stop #45 – Shōno-juku

Rounding off the list of five firm favourites is this rain-filled scene in Shōno-juku, located in modern-day Mie Prefecture.

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Filled with atmosphere, these prints are a beautiful and important insight into an intriguing period of Japanese history. Be sure to check out the entire collection here and share your favourites online with your friends and followers!

Sources: http://www.21j.jp/fu53/  Tokkaido Gojusanji.comImages: http://www.21j.jp/fu53/