Artist: Hiroshige Ando (1797-1858)
TItle: 19. Ejiri. Tago Bay and Miho no Matsubara.
Series: The Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido Road
Publisher: Tsutaya Kichizo
Dimensions: 24.7 x 36.3 cm
‘O sky-coursing breezes, close with your breath
the passageways through the clouds!
Let the angel maiden linger a while
here by the pinewood, to show us spring
touching Miho Cape’
Famed for its white sandy beaches and dramatic coastal pine trees, the eighteenth post station of Ejiri along the road connecting Kyoto to Edo was the site of a famous legend. According to the tale, a fisherman named Hakuryo chanced upon the sight of an angel on the shore of Miho no Matsubara. Entranced by the beauties of the cape, the angel was compelled to bath in its blue waters, removed her hagoromo (feather mantle) and placed it on a pine tree. Hakuryo seized the unattended robe for himself but was stopped by the pleas of the angel: without the feather mantle she could not return to heavens again. The fisherman used the mantle as a ransom in exchange for a dance. Her performance left the fisherman enraptured. He returned the mantle and the angel flew ‘over the mountain of Ashitaka, the high peak of Fuji… mingling with the mists of heaven; now lost to sight’.