The most important road in Japan during the Edo period (1603–1868), the Tokaido connected the ancient capital of Kyoto, where the emperor resided, with the new one of Edo (present-day Tokyo), where the country’s shogun (military ruler) had his castle. Ando Hiroshige’s celebrated color woodblock print cycle Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido Road depicts 53 relay stations along this highway, while two additional prints feature the beginning of the highway in each capital city. In this series Hiroshige excelled at expressing both the poetic sensibility and fine details, not only in the topography, climate, and seasons of Japan but also in the humanity of varied classes of society who lived and worked in the country’s major cities, small towns, and rural districts connected by the Tokaido. Atmospheric effects of rain, snow, fog, moonlight, and different times of the day distinguish the best of Hiroshige’s landscape prints. In this one, among the best-known images in the Tokaido series, a sudden downpour of rain in the mountains darkens the sky and obscures the view as farmers and porters with a palanquin run for shelter. The name of the publisher and the title of the series (“Fifty-three Stations”) are inscribed on the umbrella at the right. This print was enormously popular, prompting endless reissues during the artist’s lifetime, until the wooden blocks were completely worn out in the later editions.