New Year Photo Workshop: Sumida River's Shrines to the Seven Gods of Good Fo…

New Year Photo Workshop: Sumida River's Shrines to the Seven Gods of Good Fortune

Another year is drawing to a close soon and I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of you for following my work and Japanorama these past twelve months. A big thanks too to those of you who have joined in on the events I've organised this year. There haven't been quite as many as in previous years, for one reason or another but mainly because there were lots of weekend jobs for me this year.

I'll be doing a year-end roundup on my site shortly so this is far more of a 'Happy Christmas' to everyone than a Happy New Year. But I am off, on the 26th Dec., to do a four-day shoot in Kyushu for KLM's inflight magazine and I'm not back until the night of the 30th. So I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you about the first photo event of 2013…..which includes some news about something that I have been planning for a while and that this year is going to happen.

But before that, let me wish you all a very Happy Christmas and all the best for the New Year. Thanks again for your support and for your wonderful photography this year. 2013 is set to be a very exciting year for me and I hope to make it the same for you….


This Year's New Year Photowalk

It's customary for me to do a photowalk very soon into the new year, based around the 'Seven Gods of Good Fortune' routes that exist all over Tokyo. 

For the past three years I have done this in my own neighbourhood, along the shichifukujin route that runs along and around the Old Tokkaido Road in Shinagawa-ku.

Visiting the seven gods shrines is a new year tradition amongst Japanese, paying respects for the year gone-by and asking for good luck for the new year. Each shrine typically has a flavour of luck attached to it: good luck for work, for study, for family, for marriage, for kids.

It's a fine time in the festive calendar to see the locals out in a mode of restrained celebration and homage.

This years route?

This January I decided to choose the shichifukujin route around the Sumida-gawa, which starts around Asakusa and then heads over the river and ends by Horikiri station.

Route resources and descriptions [Japanese only]

Here is a description of the route:

Here is a local website for the route:

..and here is a detailed map of the route:

What's the photographic plan for the day?

This year the magazine idea I had a while back will take flight and become a reality. The first edition is planned and started, with maybe 15-pages already designed and laid-out. It will be an electronic edition, firstly, but I am in discussion with some people now about how to make a paper version from the fourth issue onwards. There are various plans of how to do that. All very possible. It's exciting.

The photographs from this walk will form a 'travel feature' in this first issue of the magazine. There will be a chance for you to get your photos published. Each person on the walk will get at least one shot in the magazine. One person's shots will form a separate, complete feature of its own. Who that will be is basically up to whose shots are the best on the day. 

What's the theme, the brief?

I am about to visit Kyushu for a four-day shoot: Fukuoka, Hakata and Beppu. The photos will be for the lead travel feature in the Jan-March 2013 KLM inflight magazine. It's a wide selection of photography I will be doing, from scenes to portraits, a factory visit to food shooting, hot-springs to nightclubbing. The over-arching concept is to give people a flavour of the three locations I will be in through the food, night-life, people and scenery associated with each.

Our theme for this photowalk will be similar, the soaking-up of a slice of the local culture to give a flavour of the area at this special time of year. 

Here are the details:

You will be required to shoot a selection of pictures along the route, including:

photos of the shrines
photos of the paraphenalia associated with new year
images that show 2013 as the year of the snake
at least one posed portrait of someone you meet along the route
an essence of the neighbourhoods we walk through, to give the feature a sense of place

After the walk, here's what happens:

You will make small, low-rez JPEGs of a selection of your best shots – no more than 30. I will open a dropbox for you to upload these into
I will decide from each of your sets who gets the lead, solo feature and make a layout for their shots. Each of the rest of you will get at least one shot in the other, joint feature. I will make the layouts and they will be included in the inaugural issue of 'Japanorama', which will be out by the first week of February in electronic form via the website and my own websites.

The gear you may need to bring?

Your own style of shooting may dictate what gear you think you will need to accomplish the brief. If you are not sure what gear you might need, here are some suggestions:

For the scenery: maybe a zoom of 18-55 or 24-70 would be good.

For the details: maybe a macro or a 50mm would be useful

For the portrait: 50mm, 85mm, 135 or 200mm are all good for portraits. A zoom or a prime lens inside of this range would be good to have with you.

These are just suggestions. Bring what you feel comfortable carrying. I will have various bits of Nikon gear with me on the day.

Where do we meet, how long is the walk and how much is it to join?

We'll be meeting at Asakusa, near the bridge that crosses the river towards the Asahi Beer building. There is a Google map here with details:

What day and time? 

The walk takes place on Thursday 3rd January, as this day is still inside the new year holiday period and the shrines will be busy with people. This is important for getting the pictures you need. We'll be meeting at 10am and the walk will be finished by 5pm at the latest. We'll be ending up at Horikiri Station, which is on the Tobu Line.

How much is it to join this workshop?

The fee for the day is 5000Yen. This covers my time on the day and the time for me to go through all your photo and make the magazine layouts with your photos. When the magazine eventually goes to print, you will each get a copy of it for free.

How many places are there on this workshop?

The walk is for a maximum of eight people.

How do I sign up?

Drop me an email to alfiejapanorama[atmark]

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About Japanorama

Japanorama is run by British professional photographer, Alfie Goodrich, and provides practical photography teaching in Tokyo. Weekly workshops, group and one-to-one lessons bring together photographers of all ages and abilities.

We also welcome submissions of photos and articles for this site, so please get in touch via our contact page. Thanks. © 2015 All Rights Reserved

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