Hozo Mon (Niou Mon)
The Hozo Mon was a gift from Mr. Yonetaro Otani and was built in 1964 as a replacement to the old Niou Mon, which was originally erected in 942 by Kimasa Taira, the Protector of Musashi. It was called the Niou Mon because the gate was guarded on both left and right sides by the Kongourikishi or Niou statues, but since the most recent rebuilding, it has been called the Hozo Mon. True to its name, the upper part of the gate is a storage for cultural artifacts, and items such as a national treasure “Hokekyo” and designated important cultural properties “Genbandaizoukyo” and “Genbanissaikyo” are stored there. Of the two Kongorikishi statues, the one west of the gate is called “Agyo” and was made by buddist statue artist Shinkan Nishikido, and the one on the east side is called “Ungyo” and was made by a wood carver Kyusaku Muraoka. It is said that the “”Agyo” and the “Ungyo” statues were modeled after sumo wrestlers Kitanoumi and Myoubudani, respectively. Two massive straw sandals hang on the back of the gate to ward off evil spirits. They were gifts from a support group from Murayama City, Yamagata Prefecture, Kyusaku Muraoka's hometown. Straw sandals are made from 2,500kg of straw. The center lantern says “Kobuna-cho,” indicating that it was a gift from the people of Kobuna-cho, Nihonbashi, as were the lantern-shaped metal accessories decorating both sides of the gate.
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