“Fugaku Sanjurokkei” is a series of landscape prints by the prominent Japanese ukiyo-e (pictures of the floating world) artist Hokusai. The term literally means “36 Views of Mount Fuji”, for which Hokusai depicts Mount Fuji from different locations in various weather conditions. Karuizawa has adopted the theme and introduced Fugaku Sanjurokkei Series, exhibiting one of the 36 striking prints in each release. These releases are drawn from casks of 1999 and 2000 vintages and bottled at cask strength.
Karuizawa distillery sat in the foothills of Mount Asama, where the chilly climate provided an excellent condition for whisky making. Though small, this distillery was known for producing whisky of the finest quality. The distillery was closed in 2011 and hence has made the Karuizawa whiskies extremely rare and valuable.
The 1999-2000 cask strength series comes from the final years of the distilleries production. This comes from the same batch of casks as the highly popular Karuizawa Asama series. The 5th edition presents the “The Fuji from Kanaya on the Tokaido”.
Representing “Trust" and "Dedication”, the picture shows the view from Kanaya heading towards Shimada, two stations on the Tokaido (“East Sea Road”) connecting Kyoto and Edo. Travelers cross the Oi River, one of the most difficult obstacles on the route. The river frequently flooded, and could become impassable for several days. In addition, there was no bridge across the river as in the Shogunate's decree to prevent enemies from crossing in times of war. Ordinary travelers are shown carried on porters’ backs, while wealthier travelers hire entire teams to carry their palanquins and luggage.