Sugimoto Dera's "Nio" Statues

Enjoy a rare, unobstructed view of fierce temple guards

 By Larry Knipfing   Mar 17, 2013

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.

Photography by Larry Knipfing
Japan Travel Partner

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