Shimada, which was five miles southwest of Fujieda, was a particularly important station because of its location on the bank of the Oi River.
Like most Japanese rivers, the Oi often shrinks to the proportions of a shallow stream in dry weather, but can become a raging flood when there are heavy rains. It was often necessary for travelers to stop several days in Shimada, or in Kanaya on the opposite shore, to wait for the river to subside. As a result, both towns had to maintain more inns than the ordinary station.
In places where rivers had to be forded, there were regular communities of coolies who carried people back and forth. The price depended not only on the manner in which the customer was carried, but on the level of the water in the river. There were fixed rates, but it appears that customers were often browbeaten into paying exorbitant amounts.
Hiroshige's picture shows the crossing of a daimyo's procession. When a retinue of this size was held up in Shimada for a number of days, the inns, gradually filled, and it was often necessary for late comers to travel back a station or two to find lodgings.