A Niomon
A Niomon is a gate at the entrance to a Japanese temple area and traditionally houses two temple guardians named ‘Agyou’ and ‘UNgyo’.
This project is about a specific Niomon:
the Niomon at the Iwaya-ji temple in Okuizumo, Shimane, Japan. It once was house to two magnificant temple guardians that are currently residing in the Rijksmuseum om Amsterdam.

Japanese Temple Guardians
Japanese temple guardians (NIO-ZO) usually stand in a gate at the entrance of a temple area.
The guardians have fierce looks. One has its mouth open and is shouting ‘AAaa!’ and the other has its mouth fermly shut and is making the sound UN!
These sounds are the first syllabes of the Siddham script and together they represent all sounds (beginning and end and everything in between) and therefor all knowlegde, wisdom and compassion. Any one walking in between the temple guardains gains acces to this knowledge, wisdom and compassion. A Niomon and its guardians therefor are a PORTAL TO WISDOM, KNOWLEDGE AND COMPASSION.
The temple guardians in this project are from Yokota, Okuizumo, Shimane, Japan. And are currently residing in the Rijksmuseum of Amsterdam.

Issho-ni/ Tomo-ni, (re-creating Pure Wisdom, together!) Hundreds of participants in both the Netherlands joined the return of the Nio to their home town: Yokota, Okuizumo, Japan.(read more)



A wonderful story in the Asahi Shinbun by Yui Kiyomi about the temple guardians from Yokota.

23 November 2023, Okuizumo, Yokota, Shimane-ken, Japan
For the first time in many many many years the Iwaya-ji temple opened it’s doors to welcome everyone inside!