Tokaido is the historical name of the area around the "Tokaido road
" in Japan
: present-day Ibaragi
, and Mie prefecture
s. The characters in its name literally mean "east sea road," and indeed, the region runs along the east coast of Japan. Historically, the major cities in the Tokaido region were Edo
, and Nagoya
: now we can add Yokohama
, and Tokyo
to that list.
The Tokaido road's original path is now used by the Tokaido Shinkansen, the JR Tokaido Line, and the Meishin Expressway and Tomei Expressway, all of which connect Kyoto and Tokyo. At certain points, the three routes run in very close proximity to each other: south of Kyoto, they all run within a kilometer-wide corridor. The Tokaido is by far the busiest transportation route in Japan, and alleviating its traffic was the prinicipal reason the Shinkansen was built in the 1960's.
The states of the Tokaido region were Hitachi, Shimousa, Kazusa, Awa, Musashi, Sagami, Kai, Izu, Suruga, Totomi, Mikawa, Owari, Ise, Iga, and Shima.