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A beautiful view on a rural road near Sanmaibashi (三枚橋) in Yumoto (湯本), Hakone. The photographer (Nobukuni Enami) has caught the attention of a group of children, women, farmers and travelers standing on the road. They are clearly very curious. Located in Kanagawa Prefecture, not too far from Yokohama, Hakone was—and still is—a popular spa resort. Sanmaibashi was a wooden bridge that crossed the river Hayagawa (早川). It was an important stage on the Tokaido, connecting Odawara with Hakone.
This image is one of a series of about 40 photographs that Nobukuni Enami shot in the Hakone area. According to Terry Bennett’s Old Japanese Photographs: Collectors’ Data Guide there is another photograph by Enami titled Sanmaibashi with the number 21.
This detail of the above image shows the diversity of people on this rural road.
The Google Map shows the location of the current Sanmaibashi bridge. I have not yet been able to locate the actual spot where this photograph was taken. Reliable suggestions are extremely welcome.
Dec 9, 2010: After I wrote this article, Rob Oechsle contacted me. He happened to have number 21:
Rob also had some additional information:
Enami’s HAKONE & MIYANOSHITA view series from the 1890s was numbered from 1 through 40, plus 302, 303, 304, 305a and 305b (Ashi-no-Ko lake panorama), and 308. For a total of 46 views.
1 For more information about Nobukuni Enami, visit T-Enami.org, an excellent site by Rob Oechsle, himself an accomplished photographer.