Ema, wooden tablets with people's wishes written on them, at Tachiaigawa Shrine

New Year photowalk along the Old Tokaido Road, Tokyo

It’s been an annual tradition for a few years now, for me to do a photowalk along a section of the Old Tokaido Road, from Shinagawa to Suzugamori. This year’s walk happens on Sunday 6th January. See below for details.

I was hoping to announce this walk earlier but a large client was dithering about when they wanted me to start working on a big shoot for them. Now they’ve finally got back to me, I can post details of the walk. I hope it’s not too late for people to put it in their schedules.

What’s the walk about?

The Old Tokaido Road has 53 stations or stages, stretching from Tokyo all the ay down to Kyoto. A large part of the First Station, from Shinagawa, runs through the area where myself and my family live. I’ve posted a whole load of content below, from various walk and shoots I’ve done in the area over the years.

On Sunday we’ll be aiming to create a set of photos for the forthcoming, completely re-designed edition of Stekki magazine. Photos from this event will join pictures from two other recent walks in this re-launch edition of my online magazine.

So, as well as it being a chance to get your photos into the magazine, it’s an opportunity to learn some skills about shooting narrative photos. ‘Narrative’ meaning photos that together create a visual story.

Where and when do we meet?

We’ll be meeting at the Central ticket gates of JR Shinagawa Station, by the clock that is on the concourse there. You can’t miss it. But, this is what the clock looks like:

New Year photowalk along the Old Tokaido Road, Tokyo

We’ll be aiming to move off at 10.30am so lease get there a few minutes before.

How much does it cost to participate?

The cost for the day is 5000¥.

What do I need to bring with me?

You’ll need a camera. Any camera will do. Wear some warm clothes, gloves etc. It’s cold this time of year. We’ll be visiting some of the shrines on the route of the local Shichifukujin (7 Gods of Good Fortune), so bring a few 5¥ coins with you. It’s good luck to throw these into the collection boxes at New year.

How long will we be out?

We’ll aim to finish the walk and photography by sunset. then retreat to a local izakaya for some warmth, something to eat and drink and it’ll give us a chance to share pictures.

How will I give my photos to you for the magazine?

I’ll bring my laptop and a card-reader. You’ll need to shoot RAW and JPEG on the day. I’ll then take the JPEGs from you at the end of the walk. When I’ve made my selections for the magazine, I’ll get in touch and we can share RAW files via my Dropbox.

How do I sign up?

Please use the contact form below to book yourself a place.

Please select a valid form

Here’s more information about the area & some photos I’ve shot there over the years….

The Old Tokaido Road is the ancient route between Tokyo and Kyoto, which comprised of 53 stations [stages]. Stage 2 runs from Shinagawa to Suzugamori, where I live with my family. It’s an area I have explored a lot over the past 16 years and makes a wonderful photo walk.

There’s  a link at the bottom of this page, to a Google Map that I made, with the whole road and several of the key shrines marked,

The photos in the galleries below run from about 2002 all the way through to some I took a couple of days ago. The Tokaido Road from our house in Suzugamori is a superb route to walk, taking you through a lovely network of shrines, past small family-owned shops, a canal, over two rivers and into the glassy skyscraper district of Shinagawa Inter-City. It’s a route of visual diversity and contrast; peace and quiet and city bustle.

A mixed collection of photos from the Old Tokaido Road, from 2002 onwards:

Up until fairly recently, in the early 1960s when land reclamation to the east took off apace, the road was right next to the sea. You can still find remnants of that seaside culture: a piece of the old sea wall, carvings on a shrine that mark where once there was a fishmarket. Before Tsukiji Market, the main vendors of fish on Tokyo Bay worked around the Tokaido Road area. It was where the emperor came to fish. Place names like Samezu and Omori-kaigan hark back to a coastal culture. Some of the best seaweed was farmed in the area, all the way up the late 1950s.

A few photos of the glass, steel and modern textures of Shinagawa Inter-City and the area around the Konan exit of Shinagawa Station:

I love the walk and do it often. Along the way to Shinagawa are several of my favourite local spots to relax and chill-out: the Keihin Canal near Tachiaigawa and farther down the road, Ebara Shrine which sits on the Meguro River.

At New Year, my family and I walk the shrines of The Seven Gods of Good Fortune. Our new year’s eve is often spent, around the turn of midnight, at one or other of two special shrines which are both on the Tokaido Road.

A collection of fashion pictures made on the Keihin Canal & inside Shinagawa Inter-City:

Fishmongers, vegetable shops, bicycle repairers and shops selling rice-crackers rub shoulders with a few new cafes, traditional guest-houses, dog-grooming salons and a host of characterful restaurants.

It’s a ‘down at home’ sort of place, quiet and peaceful but never more than two streets away from the main road to Yokohama: the Dai-Ichi Keihin.

A collection of photos I took a few days ago, whilst doing a photo tour with someone:

Here’s the Google Map I made, which shows the route of the road all the way from Shinagawa to Suzugamori. Click the pic below to reach the map on Google.

Photo tours of Tokyo: The Old Tokaido Road

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