The Tokugawa stimulated the development and maintenance of land routes within the country as a way to facilitate duty and business travel.

As restrictions on movement eased, the same routes also became popular among recreational travellers. A system of five major highways (Gokaidō) connected Edo with the north-eastern, central, and south-western areas of the Honshū island. Tokugawa was apparent through an array of road infrastructure. Ichirizuka (distance markers) in the form of stones were positioned every ri (a distance of roughly 4 km). Bridges and other river-crossings were built wherever governmental security policies, weather, and topographical conditions allowed it. 248 shukuba (post-stations) were positioned at regular intervals along the highways. Functioning as rest stops, transport centres, information and communications centres, and recreation areas they offered eating and drinking establishments, and shops selling speciality products. 

Some navigable rivers also offered alternative routes.

Coastal sea routes were used for rapid shipments for oversized product and to connect the main islands of the Japanese archipelago with smaller ones. Along the Tōkaidō eastern sea road, ferry services were put in place at some coastal post-stations, allowing travellers to cross sea straits and shorten their journeys.

Map of the nineteen provinces of the Kantō region, in Japanese, by Nagayama Choen.

This map represents the 19 provinces of the Kantō region, with a focus on land routes within the area. Intended as traveller's guide, it reports distances on major highways and marks all the roads connecting provinces, districts, cities, villages, and attractions such as temples, shrines and old castle sites.

Notably, it includes a pictorial representation of Mount Fuji, one of the main attractions of the region, in its most common iconography: shown laterally, with three summits.

Ref. Japanese 100

Wood-block printed, commercial map of the seven islands of Izu province, in Japanese.

This commercial map represents the seven main islands off the coast of the Izu province peninsula, and also shows 80 uninhabited smaller islands and the coast of the provinces of Sagami, Musashi, Awa, and Shimousa. Although partially pictorial, the focus are sea routes connecting different localities on the coast, combined with text explanations about the localities’ main attractions.

Ref. Japanese 111

Chart depicting Japan's coastal sea routes, in Japanese.

This chart was meant to be pocketed and taken on the road and was purely practical in purpose. It lists all the major travelling distances (risūki) on the Tōkaidō highway. The Tōkaidō connected Edo (Tokyo), Kyoto and Osaka and was the most commonly travelled road in Tokugawa Japan. Used both by business/duty travellers and by recreational travellers, it was well-loved and featured in many maps, pieces of art, guidebooks and narratives.

Ref. Japanese 126

A chart of travelling distances (risūki) on the Tōkaidō highway.

This chart was meant to be pocketed and taken on the road and was purely practical in purpose. It lists all the major travelling distances (risūki) on the Tōkaidō highway. The Tōkaidō connected Edo (Tokyo), Kyoto and Osaka and was the most commonly travelled road in Tokugawa Japan. Used both by business/duty travellers and by recreational travellers, it was well-loved and featured in many maps, pieces of art, guidebooks and narratives. 

Ref. Japanese 124

Scene from Volume 4 of the 5-volume map of the Tōkaidō highway.

This accordion folded book is the fourth volume of a five volume map of the Tōkaidō highway. This type of chart was known as dōchūzu or ‘on-the-road-map’. Across roughly 36m, the map reproduces, in scale, the 486km and 53 post-stations of the road.

It was one of the most popular representations of the Tōkaidō of its time. Based on an official administrative map, the map was intended as a tool for virtual travel rather than for practical purposes. Heavily pictorial, with some elements of a guidebook, it richly depicts life on the road and reproduces a number of famous landscapes.

Ref. Japanese 211