Imaginatorium Shop, version 2

Welcome to the new Imaginatorium site at imaginatorium.com. There is no "total reorganisation", so you should be able to find things easily, and eventually any bookmarks to the old shop will be redirected to the right page. The new checkout is working, which means that in simple cases you will be able to complete a purchase in the normal way.

Covid-19: Shop status

There are still many problems in the postal system, varying hugely from one country to another. More details on the front page, and at the checkout there will be more specific information about the destination country (sorry: not implemented for all countries yet!).

Jigsaw puzzles from Japan

Mountain roads

Feature page for April 2007

Travel in the 1690s

The picture on the right is part of a drawing made by Engelbert Kaempfer, explorer and physician, of the Dutch delegation of which he was a member on its way to meet the Shogun in Edo (modern Tokyo). This journey, of around 1000 km, was made partly by ship across the Inland Sea, but the remainder overland - and with not a wheel in sight. The coastline of Japan is almost unremittingly hostile, and therefore the main communications network consisted of often tortuous routes through the mountains, leaving legs as the only plausible means of locomotion. For many this meant walking, but Kaempfer himself rode a horse, and the most privileged simply sat in a palanquin and were carried.

Of course this network has long fallen into disuse, replaced first by winding roads, now by almost straight tunnels, but all shifting away from the original to more accessible lines. Thus many traces remain, and some of the routes have become ways of pilgrimage, providing a well-preserved taste of times gone by.

Yoshino mountain way
© Epoch
Position map

2016: Yoshino mountain way

The way along the Yoshino mountain range near Nara: though probably best known as a site for viewing cherry blossom, this also provides spectacular autumn views.

* This puzzle has smaller pieces than the standard size.

In stock
An Epoch puzzle: 2016 pieces; 750 x 500 mm (30" x 20")
Code: E23607 (23-607 on package)
Retail price ¥2500 (approx. US$20.83 €19.08 £16.03)

All about ordering (please read first)

Laputa Road
© JTB Photo
Position map

1000: Laputa Road

Famous as a scenic spot reminiscent of the Miyazaki animation Castle in the Sky (1986), this road winds precariously around the ridge, affording spectacular views of the "sea of clouds". It was seriously damaged by storms in 2012 and 2014, and sadly is now closed, with no immediate plans for reopening.

This autumn view adds vivid colours of red and yellow foliage.

In stock
An Appleone puzzle: 1000 pieces; 750 x 500 mm (30" x 20")
Code: A10826 (1000-826 on package)
Retail price ¥2600 (approx. US$21.67 €19.85 £16.67)

All about ordering (please read first)

More mountain roads?

Position map

Well, no, this is the beautifully preserved Kintai bridge in western Japan, dating from the same era as Kaempfer's travels. But the gracefully looping roadway was plainly designed for the non-wheeled caravans making their way over the mountain routes.

 
Kintai bridge
© Epoch

2016: Kintai bridge

This bridge is a landmark of western Japan, with both red maples and cherry trees planted alongside, for gorgeous pictures in all seasons. We are told that the name Kintaikyô - or "Brocade sash bridge" - is derived from a resemblance to a kimono sash. This is pretty unconvincing, until you realise that the river under the bridge is Nishikigawa: this Nishiki is the Japanese reading for "brocade", written with the same Chinese character as the Kin in Kintai.

The bridge consists of five wooden arches: at the time it was originally built (1673), wheeled transport was almost unknown in Japan, so presumably it was not worthwhile going to the extra effort of providing a level roadway. It seems unlikely that this design would have been used in Europe at that time.

* This puzzle has smaller pieces than the standard size.

In stock
An Epoch puzzle: 2016 pieces; 750 x 500 mm (30" x 20")
Code: E23535 (23-535 on package)
Retail price ¥2500 (approx. US$20.83 €19.08 £16.03)

All about ordering (please read first)

Kintai bridge
© Epoch

300: Kintai bridge

This bridge is a landmark of western Japan, with both red maples and cherry trees planted alongside, for gorgeous pictures in all seasons. We are told that the name Kintaikyô - or "Brocade sash bridge" - is derived from a resemblance to a kimono sash. This is pretty unconvincing, until you realise that the river under the bridge is Nishikigawa: this Nishiki is the Japanese reading for "brocade", written with the same Chinese character as the Kin in Kintai.

The bridge consists of five wooden arches: at the time it was originally built (1673), wheeled transport was almost unknown in Japan, so presumably it was not worthwhile going to the extra effort of providing a level roadway. It seems unlikely that this design would have been used in Europe at that time.

In stock
An Epoch puzzle: 300 pieces; 380 x 260 mm (15" x 10")
Code: E25128 (25-128 on package)
Retail price ¥1200 (approx. US$10.00 €9.16 £7.69)

All about ordering (please read first)