Restoration of the Kongōrikishi [Deva King] statue belonging to Rakuhōji temple

Main Staff

Suzuki Atsushi

Masuda Yoshiki

Kojima Hisanori


Amabiki-san Rakuho-ji Temple is a historical temple located at the foot of Mt.Tsukuba. It is said that the name of the mountain, "Amabiki," was given by Emperor Saga for his success in begging for rain when the sunshine continued to fall and people were suffering. The statue of Kongo Rikishi (Niou statue) is enshrined at the Niou gate of Rakuhoji Temple and is designated as a cultural asset by Sakuragawa City in Ibaraki Prefecture.


1 "Positioning of  Statues, and Deliverables


2, "About structural techniques.


3, "About the restoration.


Precincts of Rakuhoji Temple


Nio gate

Our laboratory has been repairing the statue of Nio since 2018 and is now close to completion. This year we will report mainly on the Agyo.

The Agyo statue has less worm-eaten surface than the Ungyo statue, so I was relieved. However, as we proceeded with the work, we found that the damage was in a way that took longer to repair than expected. The repair nameplate found inside the statue records that it was repaired by Okura and Munenobu in the 1510s. We are working on the repairs with a keen sense that the two of you must have gone through a lot of hard work.


Carrying out

Removal of the repaired coating

The legs were repaired in the Muromachi period


Filling in the gaps in parts.

In this restoration, we replaced parts that had been replaced in the Muromachi period with new parts, just like a generational change. Perhaps because of this, Niou Statue is able to stand on his own without support. Of course, we will not leave it as it is, but when it is completed, we will complete the rock base, which is the pedestal of Niou Statue, and it will stand on it for a long time. We plan to unveil the Agyo and Ungyo at the time of completion. Please take a look at it when you do.


Photo before the restoration


The current state of the Agyo statue

We found many other deliveries from inside the statue, besides the wooden tag. According to this, many people were involved in the restoration of the statue of Nio, and the central figure was a man named Tokugen from Omi Province (present-day Shiga Prefecture). In addition, wooden tags, prints of Buddhist statues, and 66 copies of the Lotus Sutra were also found, as well as wooden tags indicating that people from the thirty-three sites in Bantou (Gifu Prefecture) and Joushu (Gunma Prefecture) had visited on pilgrimages. Currently, these deliveries are being restored by specialists in Ibaraki Prefecture.

The scene when the deliverables were found

Repair nameplate (face)

Repair nameplate (back)

pilgrim's note

Buddhist painting (print)

Buddhist scriptures


Carefully untying the five colored threads

(The "five colors" are the symbolic colors of Buddhism.)

It was marked with the name and year of the person.


Rejoining paper and paper joints


A tightly wound scroll

Open slowly so as not to tear the paper

Working with the light shining from the back side


The Ungyo statue, which was unveiled last year, is being restorations in balance with the Agyo statue. At present, we are working on the construction of rock seats and stile to firmly support the statue.

A Statue of "Ungyo" (as of spring of 2017)

Amabikisan Rakuhoji Temple