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.