Hiroshige was born in Edo (Tokyo), under the name, Ando Tokutaro. When he was only twelve, both of his parents died and two years later, he received a chance to join the famous Utagawa painting school. In 1812, Tokutaro was officially allowed to take the name Utagawa and, from then on, he called himself Utagawa Hiroshige. In ukiyo-e literature he is sometimes referenced as Hiroshige Ando.
In 1818 Hiroshige had a book illustration published and until 1830 he created prints in the traditional style. Among the popular subjects of the day were kabuki actors, beautiful women and a few warrior prints.
After 1830 Hiroshige began producing landscape prints and for the next twenty years, he concentrated his efforts on them. One of his best-known works is the series, “Tokaido gojusan-tsugi no uchi” (The Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido). It became the basis of his fame and commercial success. He continued to produce more series of the Tokaido and at the time of his death, Hiroshige had produced 16 to 19 editions of the Tokaido.