Thursday 5 April 2012

Fuji 1707

This wooden take-apart puzzle resembling a volcanic mountain (hence the name Fuji 1707) comes from Mr Puzzle Australia. Designed and made by Brian Young as an exchange puzzle for IPP30 in Hakone, Japan, the Fuji 1707 is made from Papua New Guinean Rosewood with the snow-capped peak made of Queensland Silver Ash. 1707 was the year the last time Mt Fuji erupted over 300 years ago and experts have warned that the next eruption is overdue.

The puzzle measures a handy size of about 8.7cm across and 4.3cm tall from the base to the top of the peak.  The Fuji 1707 comes from Mr Puzzle Australia's Craftsman range of superior wooden puzzles and as to be expected, quality fit and finish is excellent with various parts manufactured to tight tolerances. Externally the puzzle looks like a circular pyramid with holes drilled into the sides and one at the peak.

The object of the puzzle is to remove the snow-capped peak from the mountain and find the Buddha Of All-Illuminating Wisdom, the Dainichi Nyorai, hidden inside the mountain. The Fuji 1707 is a sequential discovery type of puzzle, similar to Houdini's Torture Cell reviewed in this blog. To solve it, one needs to execute a series of steps in a particular order from beginning to end. In the case of the Fuji 1707, there are 4 steps to solving the puzzle.

I took a pretty long while before I managed to remove the snow-capped peak; however, when I checked my solution against the one that accompanied the puzzle, I realised that my method of solving was totally wrong and way off the (official ) charts! The official solution for the Fuji 1707 is actually pretty simple (with hindsight of course!). The mechanism for removal of the snow-capped peak is not only rather clever, but the solution (particularly step #2) is in my opinion the most unusual I have across so far! Totally unexpected! Mr Puzzle Australia rates it at Level 8 difficulty, the same as Houdini's Torture Cell, but I am well inclined to give it a 9 rating because the solution is unique and not easily discoverable, and it is really much harder. In terms of steps taken, less steps but more difficult than the Houdini puzzle.

The Dainichi Nyorai sitting atop of Mt Fuji
No photo of the puzzle in the solved state as this would reveal too much
Jeff Chiou wrote about the Fuji 1707 in his puzzle blog a while back and mentioned some issues concerning the mechanism in the puzzle; I believed this has since been rectified by Brian Young to make solving and assembly much more reliable. Certainly I didn't encounter any problems with my copy. By no means an inexpensive puzzle but for the quality and uniqueness of the solution (which is rather fun and you can solve it repeatedly quite easily), the Fuji 1707 is well worth the money and acquiring.


  1. I have the original exchange version of this puzzle, and there is an easy unintended solution which I found in the first minute. Having a look at the insides, it was then a puzzle to figure out the way you were really supposed to open it. I believe Brian then changed the design to remove the unintended solution. But this is not a puzzle to share too freely, is it? :-)

  2. Nope. I wouldn't pass this puzzle at all to anyone to try