This may be the earliest extant impression of Hiroshige's masterpiece. It may be a proof impression as there are several differences from impressions which heretofore have been considered first editions and which are described in Suzuki Juzo, Hiroshige (Tokyo: Nihon Keizai Shimbun, 1970) as having red bokashi (gradation) across the top and dark bokashi with mica on the tree trunk.
This impression is distinguished by the lack of any wear or shrinkage of the blocks; prominent woodgrain in the sky and the trunk of the tree; an extra twig opposite the second blossom from the bottom on the foreground branch; precise matching of the pink block and other blocks, especially at the upper left corner; more pink and green bokashi above the fences; purple bokashi with mica across the top, replaced by deep-red in other impressions and replaced again in later editions; different color in the clothing of the figures; the lack of a yellow block on the flower above the title cartouche and lack of blue bokashi around the base of the trees and lack of brown color in the sash of the fourth figure from the right, the thatched roof, and the tree trunk and far right, all of which were added in other impressions and omitted again in later impressions.
For comparative images see Takahashi Seiichiro, ed., Hiroshige, vol. 11 of Ukiyo-e taikei (Tokyo: Shueisha, 1974), pl. 50; Takahashi Seiichiro, ed., Meisho Edo hyakkei (1) (One Hundred views of famous places of Edo) (1), vol. 16 of Ukiyo-e taikei (Tokyo: Shueisha, 1975), pl. 30; Henry Smith II and Amy G. Poster, Hiroshige: One hundred Famous Views of Edo (New York: George Braziller and The Brooklyn Museum, 1986), pl. 30; and Matthi Forrer, Hiroshige: Prints and Drawings (London: The Royal Academy of Arts, 1997), pl. 93.