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Monzen-Nakacho, a bustling area in Tokyo’s Koto Ward, is, as its name suggests, near mon, or important gates. The gates referred to have in fact been in place for nearly four centuries, marking the entrance streets to Buddhist temple Eitaiji (founded 1624) and Tomioka Hachimangu shrine (established 1627). Both shared what was, at the time, little more than a shoal of reclaimed soil, and visitors often came by boat to dock at the gates.

Today, land reclamation has put nearly a kilometer between Mon-Naka (as it’s called for short) and the sea, but the incessant rains of July have brought a new world of wet. Dodging puddles, I walk through a mist of infinitesimal rain drops to explore the Tomioka section of Mon-Naka, focusing on the street that leads to Eitaiji temple and dead ends on esoteric Buddhist temple Naritasan Fukagawa Fudodo (established 1703).

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