OLD PHOTOS of JAPAN, a photo blog of Japan in the Meiji, Taisho and Showa periods

Old Photos of Japan
shows photos of Japan between the 1860s and 1930s. In 1854, Japan opened its doors to the outside world for the first time in more than 200 years. It set in motion a truly astounding transformation. As fate would have it, photography had just been invented. As the old country vanished and a new one was born, daring photographers took photos. Discover what life was like with their rare and precious photographs of old Japan.
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Hakone 1890s • Rural Road

Sanmaibashi on the Tokaido

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.

Detail of Sanmaibashi
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:

21 Sanmaibashi by Enami

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.

Photographer: Nobukuni Enami
Publisher: Nobukuni Enami
Medium: Albumen Print
Image Number 70319-0008

Quote this number when you contact us about licensing this image.
You can also licence this image online: 70319-0008 @ MeijiShowa.com.

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Posted by • 2008-07-30
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