Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849)
The Sazai Hall of the Temple of the Five
Hundred Arhats (Gohyaku Rakanji Sazaidō), from
the series Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji (Fugaku sanjūrokkei), ca. 1830-31
Color woodblock print
9 3/4 x 14 13/16 inches (24.8 x 37.6 cm)
Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Samuel S. White 3rd and Vera White Collection, 1967
The Sazai Hall or “Turbo Hall,” so named because its spiral stairway reminded people of the twisting-shape of a shell, of Rakanji Temple was a popular tourist spot in the city of Edo. The unusual three-story building offered unparalleled views from its top. In Hokusai’s print, visitors dressed in summer kimono gaze at the distant Mount Fuji while enjoying the cool breezes such height affords, a rare respite from the oppressive summer heat of the city.