Follow the Sumida River southwest from Asakusa and you'll soon reach Kuramae, an old working-class neighborhood filled with small factories, wholesale shops and temples. The area is changing, though, with single origin coffee roasters and stores selling imported pottery sprouting up next to mom-and-pop stores selling tofu and sake.

Head away from the river, down a side street and you'll come across Chohouin Temple. On first glance, it doesn't stand out much from the other temples in the area. However, Chohouin is different. The head priest there is 58-year-old Akiyoshi Taniguchi, a monk who also runs a small gallery on the premises called Kurenboh.

A photography enthusiast, Taniguchi combines his love of the art with his role as head priest at Chohouin, his family's Pure Land Buddhist (jōdoshū) temple where he was "born into and grew up in." Together with his wife, Mayumi, the couple care for the many members of their temple through prayer and rituals of course, but also through more mundane and worldly ways like phone calls and one-to-one chats. According to Mayumi, "Someone must remain at the temple at all times during the day, in case one of our members need us."