Utagawa Hiroshige was born in samurai family in 1797 in what became modern Tokyo.
Around 14 years old, he began painting and was introduced to Toyohiro of the Utagawa school. By 1812 Hiroshige was permitted to sign his works, which he did under the art name Hiroshige.
Hiroshige lived in the barracks until the age of 43 as a firefighter and eventually turned his firefighter position over to his brother in 1823.
It was not until 1829–1830 that Hiroshige began to produce the landscapes he has come to be known for. He also created an increasing number of bird and flower prints about this time. About 1831, his Ten Famous Places in the Eastern Capital was printed. In 1832 he produced the series The Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō, which contains some of his best-known prints.
In his declining years, Hiroshige produced thousands of prints to meet the demand for his works, but few were as good as those of his early and middle periods. He never lived in financial comfort, even in old age.
In 1856, Hiroshige "retired from the world," becoming a Buddhist monk; this was the year he began his One Hundred Famous Views of Edo. He died aged 62 during the great Edo cholera epidemic of 1858 and was buried in a Zen Buddhist temple in Asakusa.
Hiroshige influenced French Impressionist Monet and Cézanne. Vincent van Gogh copied two of the One Hundred Famous Views of Edo. Hiroshige's style also influenced the "Мир Искусства" (World of Art), a 20th-century Russian art movement.