Though it has been paved many times over, much of the Tokaido still exists, in no small part because there were so many temples and shrines located alongside it.  Since these were often preserved during Japans twentieth century construction boom, the road was preserved along with them.  What remains is half- forgotten, often meandering through small-town Japan and hardly representative of its past role.  But the road remains littered with the remains and remnants of that role, each one of which has a story to tell that sheds light on Japans past... As such, the Tokaido provides a perfect itinerary for a fascinating voyage, slicing through two very different Japans: one during the waning days of the Shogunate, still isolated from the rest of the world; the other one of the leading economic powers of the world.  But modern Japan can never be understood unless one travels the earlier road...