This print, which was executed almost entirely in shades of black, with white patches left for the snow, is doubtless the best single print in the Tokaido series and one of the best woodblock prints ever made in Japan. Unlike most of Hiroshige's landscapes, however, it is almost entirely imaginary. People have searched the undistinguished scenery of Kambara time and again for the location pictured here, but no such place appears to exist. Furthermore,
it rarely snows in this area at all, and it could not have snowed when Hiroshige saw it, since he passed through in early summer.
This picture, then, emphasizes the important fact that Hiroshige, though
inspired by nature, was no slave to it. Even though salient features of the landscape are recognizable in most of the Tokaido prints, it is clear that the artist sought variety to the extent of selecting times and seasons and climates that he could hardly have witnessed. The snow scene shown here could well have been placed at almost any other point on the Tokaido, and the topography was doubtless determined by the composition Hiroshige desired. It is significant that the other out-and out masterpiece in the series, "Shono," is equally imaginary.