The mountain village of Kanbara appears dark and chilly as night falls. Footprints dot the ankle-deep snow, only to be filled with fresh flakes. Hunched and heads bowed, travelers battle the wind. All is muffled in the final moments of dusk. Most scholars agree that Utagawa Hiroshige passed through Kanbara during the summer. What’s more, as part of modern Shimizu, this region is very temperate and even the smallest amount of snowfall is rare. In Hiroshige’s five renditions of this station he presents not the Kanbara of his travels, but that of his imagination. The Hoeido depiction of this station is considered one of the masterpieces of the series Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido. In Hiroshige’s own words, “Though there are many things that I have abbreviated, the composition is exactly like a true reflection of the scenery, so those who cannot travel can find some pleasure in them.” In 1996, the band Weezer based their Pinkerton album cover on this design.
Other impressions of this woodblock print can be found in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, British Museum, Library of Congress, Harvard Art Museum, Edo Tokyo Museum and Honolulu Museum of Art.