21  Okabe "Mount Utsuno"

Click to enlarge

The Utsunoya Pass between Mariko and Okabe post towns is one of the most perilous places on the Tokaido Highway. The mountain path, which is dark even in the daytime, has been featured since olden days in many literary works, including the "Tales of Ise." This picture shows the Utsunoya Pass in early autumn. The narrow path winding through steep mountains rising on both sides and a rapid stream running beside it under a lone maple tree create an atmosphere in which one can almost hear the sound of running water. Descending a steep mountain road is a solitary woodcutter, and from the opposite direction comes a peddler followed by a village woman carrying a bundle of firewood on her back. A feeling of solitariness pervades this mountain scene.