52  Kusatsu "Famous Tateba (Rest House)"

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Kusatsu, where the Tokaido Highway and the Nakasendo Road meet, was once a post town in the Oiwake area, bustling with the heavy traffic of travelers. Tateba in the title of this print refers to a roadside resting place for travelers. Hiroshige shows us "Uba-ga Mochi-ya," a shop serving travelers with a tasty rice-cake called uba-ga mochi, for which the locality was famous. The print focuses on the care-free atmosphere prevailing inside the shop ? palanquin-bearers wipe perspiration from their faces, laborers leisurely enjoy a smoke and travelers relax as they savor the rice cakes. This makes a good contrast with the express palanquin-bearers and porters carrying official goods who hurry along the near side of the highway.