Trying to read an Ukiyo-e inscription

I’ve got a challenge for anyone who would enjoy it! Here is an image from an Ukiyo-e woodblock painting. Can anyone decipher this for me? Japanese word art can be a little difficult.


As for myself, I can see 13 near the top right, and 15 at the bottom. One of the symbols looks like “next.” Another looks like the Samurai radical.

Funnily enough, I’ve previously tried figuring out a label from the same series, so I can spot it’s 15 from:

Which may help significantly. It looks like the bit on the left is “吉原 不二の沼浮島が原” (apparently). And the name of the series 五十三次名所図会 (with some older kanji in place of some of those in the title label I imagine) by 歌川広重.

Maybe less exciting than figuring it out by eye! But I was excited by the coincidence…


So that top right Kanji is actually 5 making it 53. That makes sense.


What’s annoying is the way they sometimes use different forms of the same kanji in the same inscription. For example, the two 五s are written quite differently here, though I’ve seen more drastic differences in the past too.