Sugimoto Dera's "Nio" Statues

Enjoy a rare, unobstructed view of fierce temple guards

By Larry Knipfing   Mar 17, 2013 - 1 min read

I love to visit Kamakura's Sugimoto Dera, mainly for the great unobstructed view at its main gate of the pair of "Nio" guardian statues. Almost any other temple you visit will have these fierce protectors of the temple enclosed in wire (as a protection against pigeons), but here, you can walk right up and enjoy viewing them very, very close. They are scary and beautiful at the same time, as well they should be. You will notice that one has its mouth open, and the other its mouth closed. This is called "Ah-Un" and represents the alpha to omega of our cosmic existence.

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Larry Knipfing

Larry Knipfing @Larry Knipfing

Born on Long Island, New York in 1958, I have spent the last 30+ years of my life living in Japan, and enjoying every minute of it! I especially love photography, and Japan is definitely one of the most beautiful places in the world to photograph! (Visit my online gallery) My other love is fiction writing and I have published quite a few books that take place in Japan. Fun stuff! You can find them at my Amazon Author's Page. In addition to my writing, I have mainly been working in the field of corporate training, and at the same time have done a lot of photography. *Kamakura, and now Yokohama (both in Kanagawa Prefecture) have been my home for almost twenty years and are perfect places for me: Hilly, situated on the water, and with amazing histories. The rest of Kanagawa is equally amazing and includes the great Hakone onsen and spa area.  *Tochigi Prefecture, with World Heritage site Nikko, is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and not far from Tokyo.  *Fukui Prefecture, located in central Japan on the coast of the Japan Sea, is brimming with classic Japanese culture and great natural beauty everywhere you look. I really look forward to sharing ALL of Japan's beauty and magic with all of you. Website: Contact me: