The Meiji Emperor (1852-1912) took the throne in 1867. Although a young man, he had significant presence and charisma and was an inspirational figurehead during the rapid and tumultuous changes of Meiji period . Unlike his successors, he intervened from time to time in political affairs although historical records do not tell us much about his interventions. He had an interest in Japanese history and traditional rituals. He made a trip along the Nakasendo to Kyoto stopping at nearly every interesting place on the way; each of these stops is commemorated with an inscription. When he died in 1912, there was a general feeling that a momentous period had ended and that much uncertainty lay ahead.