“The word Tokaido signifies ‘Eastern Sea Road’. The name was given to this road at an early date on account of its running along the sea-shore in an easterly direction from Kyoto, which, being the old historic capital, was naturally regarded as the starting-point. From the 17th century onwards, the Tokaido was traversed twice yearly by Daimyo [provincial lords] coming with gorgeous retinues to pay their respects to the Shogun at Yedo.
“The railway was begun in 1872 and finished as a single line in 1889. The process of doubling it is still incomplete [in 1901]. The journey from Tokyo to Kyoto, which formerly was an affair of 12 or 13 days on foot, is now reduced to 14-1/2 hrs.
“… The first hour of the journey between Tokyo and Yokohama occupies 50 min. The line skirts the shores of Tokyo Bay, with the old Tokaido highway recognisable at intervals on the right by its avenue of pines.”
– A Handbook for Travellers in Japan, by Basil Hall Chamberlain & W.B Mason, 1901