The year is 1842 and the artist known as Hokusai is in his 80s.

He has already lived nearly twice the average life span of his peers, but his advanced age hasn't stopped him from embarking on a 250-kilometer journey from Edo to Obuse, a small, scenic town sitting in a mountain-ringed basin in present-day Nagano Prefecture where his patron and one-time student, a wealthy merchant-farmer by the name of Takai Kozan, awaits.

No one knows what went on in the octogenarian's mind as he made the week-long trek starting with the inland Nakasendo route, followed by the Hokkoku Kaido, a secondary road developed for pilgrims making their way to the famed Zenkoji Temple in Nagano.