It's not often that I happen upon vintage Japanese postcards here in Italy so I my eyes were quickly drawn to this uncirculated 1950s postcard when I saw it the other day on a market stall. There are no indications as to the postcard publisher or the date of issue, but from the style of the bus winding its way up the Iroha Slope to Nikko I'm guessing it's a mid 1950s to early 1960s card at the latest.
As luck would have it I have an email friend - Gaye Rowley - who lives in Japan and is an expert on all things Japanese. She explained a little more about the name of the road - I-ro-ha are the first three letters of the Japanese syllabary, so the name of the highway would be like the "A-B-C Slope" in English. It is so called because there are as many twists and turns in the road as there are letters in the syllabary!
Gaye was also able to translate the text in the bottom right hand side of the postcard:
Nikko, Iroha Slope
From Umakaeshi (meaning "the place on a mountainside where the horse can no longer carry you and you have to dismount") up to Chuzenji (a famous temple), there is a modern sealed road called "Iroha Slope" because of its twists and turns. During the maple-viewing season, it provides the best views in Nikko.
Find more vintage postcards at Marie's Cpaphil Vintage Postcard Blog and join other collectors on Postcard Friendship Friday.